From artist Marie White's painting "The Branding Table". "The brighter the light, the more the bugs." --Keith Raniere.

Legally using girl’s sexually explicit photos: Should ‘due process’ trump desire to convict Raniere?

There was an FBI raid of Keith Raniere’s “study” or, as some call it, his “sex lair” at 8 Hale Dr. in Clifton Park New York on March 27, 2018.

In order to be able to raid the house, the FBI had to obtain a search warrant signed by United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart of the Northern District of New York.

In order to obtain that warrant from Judge Stewart, the FBI had to specify what they were searching for – what kinds of evidence for what suspected crimes.

In America, you don’t just get a “fishing license” to search for everything in someone’s residence. You have to narrow it down to tangible things in advance of raiding a house in America.

Keith Raniere argues that nude photos of a 15-year-old Mexican girl, [Jane Doe 2], which is illegal to possess, is child porn – found on his hard drive seized during the raid at 8 Hale Dr. – should not be used as  evidence against him because the search warrant did not include permission to search for such a crime.

He argues that not everything found at 8 Hale is covered by the search warrant. The search warrant is limited, he argues, to “evidence, fruits and instrumentalities of certain listed crimes occurring (on) or after January 1, 2015”.

He argues that when the FBI searched the hard-drive that happened to contain alleged child porn, they should have been looking for items created on or after January 1, 2015. The photographs of Jane Doe 2 were allegedly taken in 2005.

If his argument is correct, the nude photos of a 15-year-old girl that were taken in 2005 may not be covered under the search warrant.

The government, evidently, is arguing that, since Raniere did not own the property and lived elsewhere, that he had no expectation of privacy at 8 Hale and that if evidence of a crime turned up – even if not covered by the search warrant – the feds had every right to find and use it as evidence.

The search warrant was for the property and against its owner, Executive Housing & Properties, Inc.

Raniere argues that, because he lived there sometimes and used the place as his study and sex lair – his bachelor pad – that he had possession of 8 Hale – and therefore the expectation of privacy and that the feds would be held to the narrow strictures of their search warrant.

If he had no expectation of privacy – suppose it was a hotel room [or a restaurant or any place not private] and he left the hard drive behind – and the feds found it  – it would be different. If the Feds had a search warrant for a hotel and Raniere fled to Mexico and left his hard drive behind in a room, the feds, if they seized the hard drive and found any kind of evidence of a crime, could use it against him. He has no expectation of privacy in a hotel room.

But the expectation of privacy is, in one sense, the hallmark of our liberty – the right to be secure in our homes from unreasonable searches by government.

If Raniere had a right to privacy at 8 Hale – if he did – then the government might have to be held to the terms of their search warrant.

It was not a hotel room – Raniere says – even if he used it in that sort of way.

If it was anybody but Raniere, I think many of us would agree that we do want the police, the government, to be limited in their right to search our homes. We want limits on search warrants.

Before they go busting down your door, wouldn’t you want the police to tell a judge first what crime you might have committed and with some specificity?

Or would you prefer the police, just because they think you are guilty – that you are a bad guy – they may not know or be able to say what crime you committed – to just be able to bust in your door and raid your house – and search for everything and anything in your house – to find crimes?

Shouldn’t they first tell the judge what crime they are looking for and then get the warrant that gives them the right to search for that evidence and that evidence alone?

Or should police be able to just say to a judge – we smell a criminal – you perhaps – and we want to be able to raid your house – or your office or sex lair – or wherever – – anyplace that is your private abode – and raid and rifle through everything and see if they can find some evidence of a crime, any crime?

The latter is the earmark of a police state. ‘Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.’

Forget this is Keith Raniere, the scoundrel. Forget even that the police, the feds, and you and I know he’s a criminal.  Forget the heinous nature of this asshole taking pictures of a girl he groomed for sex since she was a child.  He planned to fuck her and brought her along no doubt when she was younger than 15 – getting her primed to fuck or rape rather  – when she was just 15, maybe younger.  And he posed her nude in his favorite positions [this girl whose parents entrusted her to his care and mentorship] and set her up for his filthy, wicked, self-satiating plans  – and that he still today has a hold on her – as she continues to support him in Mexico under the control of Raniere’s minion, Jack Levy [more on that deviant later].

The point is that we don’t want police to just pick out a person, bad as he is – and raid his house for the sake of finding crimes – any crime.

I think most of us want police to be required to articulate probable cause for a specific crime or crimes and then get the green light to raid a house – and be limited to evidence they find of those specific crimes they articulated in advance.

This is Raniere’s argument: That police did not have the right to go through everything at 8 Hale and hunt for new crimes not mentioned in their search warrant; that the child porn – the sexually explicit deviant Raniere nude photos of this then 15-year-old girl – taken allegedly in 2005 [which is what dates her as age 15- she is 29 now] were not something the feds said they were looking for to the judge when they got him to sign the search warrant in the first place.

They were looking for something else and stumbled on this. This bombshell piece of evidence that is so important that it might be the single most damning piece of evidence in the entire case.

And now the feds may not be able to use it.

Again, as Raniere argues, he had an expectation of privacy at 8 Hale and the feds can only use as evidence from the raid evidence of crimes the judge specifically approved prior to issuing a search warrant.

Unless it can be shown that Raniere had no expectation of privacy – that this was not his home or abode or a place he had the right to be secure in, his papers and personal effects, it may turn out that Raniere might have the feds on this one.

He may have them now, or he may – if the judge does not agree with his attorney, Marc Agnifilo’s motion and lets the evidence in at trial – Raniere may have grounds for appeal.

The whole case may [I emphasize “may] be overturned on appeal over this one piece of evidence.

The judge might be required – by law – to toss out all evidence of the 15-year-old girl’s nude photographs. That decision may hinge on the privacy expectation argument alone.

If the 15-year-old girl’s nude pictures [child porn] are thrown out, they likely cannot be used in the Northern District as well.  This may be a game changer for Raniere.

Still, as bad as that sounds – preserving due process rights for all of us might be more important than getting Raniere in a place he deserves – in a cage for a long time.

This is how we lose our liberties, by wanting government to do for us certain things because it is expedient – and empowering them to run roughshod over the rights of someone like Raniere, little realizing we have empowered the government to run roughshod over ourselves in the future when the time and circumstances are applicable.

The innocent may be trampled just like the guilty – and because of the latter, we have due process. It is why Blackstone and Franklin and Adams and 100 others said – it is better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent suffer. [only Franklin made it 100 and Adams if I recall may have said 500.]

If the feds did not legally obtain the damning send-Raniere-to-prison evidence – nude photographs of a little girl – a 15-year-old child  – then, as bad as this may sound, in the interest of justice – for all of us – they should not be able to use it.

It’s not my decision. I am not the judge or the appeals court.  But if what Agnifilo says is true – that the FBI had no authority granted from the search warrant – to search for everything and anything – but were limited to narrower strictures – that did not include 2005 images from a hard drive – and if Raniere had a legal expectation of privacy – then the judge may have to side with Raniere.

Will he still be convicted then? There were two indictments against him without this evidence – the original indictment and the superseding indictment  – and  the feds thought then that they had a strong case. [It has only gotten stronger with Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman set to testify against the varmint].

It was not until the second superseding indictment that evidence of Jane Doe 2 was included – first as charges of possession of child porn and sexual exploitation of a minor. Later those charges were dropped and referred to the Northern District of NY DOJ – but the evidence of child porn and sexual exploitation was to remain – to be presented in the present trial – as part of predicate acts to prove the RICO enterprise of NXIVM – that he and his coconspirators worked to procure women and little girls for him.

If the evidence of Jane Doe 2’s photographs is thrown out, it will likely make it harder for the prosecution.  The defense, without the stink of those execrable pictures of an abused and victimized child, will be far better able to argue that all the kooky, kinky, weird, warped, moronic, deviant, perverted Raniere sex [which Agnifilo will gladly admit it was and then some] was all consensual – all adult – that there was no sex trafficking, no coercion, that the government has overreached and created a brand new concept of sex trafficking where none ever existed. The DOS women may have been nuts – but they were not victims of sex trafficking or forced labor – Agnifilo will argue that Raniere never threatened them, never released any collateral.  He was just having a damn good time – and most of the women who were not too stupid or crazy to realize it – were having a damn good time too.

That argument plays a whole lot better without a 15-year-old child abuse victim’s pictures being shown to the jury.

Soon, we are going to find out the judge’s decision to allow or not allow pictures of a then 15-year-old girl stored on a computer for 13 years – and found after the rascal fled to Mexico – left behind at his sex lair – in evidence at trial

One bright note perhaps is that even if it is not used in evidence, the pictures may have spared four or five women several years each in prison.

I am convinced that the fact of the pictures of Jane Doe 2 had a sobering effect on Raniere’s co-defendants Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman, Clare Bronfman and possibly Nancy Salzman – and helped prompt them to plead.

I think it made them wake up and get out of a trial where the jury was expected to see that evidence, with them sitting side by side at the defendant’s table with Raniere, the old perv who took the pictures.

Those photos have done their part pretty well so far. Allison and Lauren at least will be telling the jury of crimes they know Raniere committed.

As of today, we do not know if the photos will be used to help convict Raniere.

On one hand, I kind of wish for that, but, on the other, I have misgivings.  I want Raniere convicted through due process and due process only.

 


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Frank Parlato

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  • Question: since possession of child pornography is a crime, why does it matter when the pictures were taken? The incriminating pictures were on Raniere’s hard drive after Jan. 2015, so they fall within the term of the search warrant. They were in his possession after that date therefore they should be admissible.

  • I may be one of the more liberal posters on Frankreport……..But today I think you are all a bunch of Libtards;)!!!!!

  • The evidence should be admissible. If the Feds have a warrant to search for a bloody t-shirt, then they can look in the dresser, laundry bag, and washing machine.

    If they open up the washing machine and find a kilo of meth, then that is evidence of a crime and not subject to spoilation.

    Now, if the feds have the same warrant and look in the refrigerator and find a severed finger. Welp, that finger is inadmissible because the t-shirt would not normally be found in the fridge.

    Applied to VanChildMolestor, if the Feds have a warrant to search a computer or electronic media… then BOOM. Whatever they find is admissible.

  • Frank

    This is one of the best posts you’ve written.

    Democracy and protection of the rights of all our citizens is paramount even when we don’t like the citizen and what he’ done.

    The judge should uphold the law as police have no right to randomly search a man’s home. Sanctioning a police state is not worth convicting Raniere on this count.

  • It seems simple to me. Where was his principle residence? If it was not 8 Hale, the pics are in, he personally had no expevtation of privacy; likewise if the place housed a number of people for short durations, similar to a hostel.

    If his residence was 8 Hale, it could go two ways: kick the pics out because they were taken before 2015 and/or he had right of privacy because the warrant did not include them, or allow them because regardless of the date taken they are still pics of an underage victim of sexual abuse. In other words, regardless of residency, the pics are in, because the legal system can’t turn a blind eye to current possession of child porn just because someone shot the photos long ago. I haven’t reviewed the warrant, but if they were looking for anything related to crimes of a sexual nature the pics should be in.

    What would be best is if the woman testified to an act or acts of underage sex.

  • I have to say I really respect your willingness to advocate based on your principles, it’s not just about locking Keith Raniere up but doing it in a way that doesn’t disregard civil liberties. While I may disagree with your conclusions it’s refreshing to see that you are willing to stand for what you believe in. I do think that this is another situation where Raniere’s attempt to avoid the consequences of his own past crimes has backfired spectacularly on him. Raniere’s renunciate act was arguably a way for him to avoid paying restitution for the crimes he committed in connection with Consumer Buyline and to avoid paying taxes. Raniere’s attempt to get out of repaying his victims has put him in the position of committing fraud upon fraud, in putting his property in the name of fake shell companies and committing fraud in a dead woman’s name. If Raniere is found to have forfeited his right to privacy in his “home” due to the decisions described above, before he became a fugitive and fled the country in the belief he could escape justice then I really feel no sympathy for him or the predicament that he’s placed himself in. I don’t think it is comparable to police overreach in a domestic situation that doesn’t involve such fraud and deception. Raniere has to rely on his own fraud and criminal acts in order to try to toss out evidence that he is a pedophile which frankly makes a mockery of the court and the justice system.

    The discovery of Raniere’s pedophilic images was an act of sheer luck on the part of investigators and stupidity on his part. The reality is that a forensic investigation of the hard drives required all of the stored information be catalogued and reviewed and while investigators were mainly focused on a specific time period it would be wrong for them to turn a blind eye to evidence of child abuse on the technicality that after finding the evidence and doing that analysis it happened to fall outside of the dates they anticipated being relevant for their current investigation. Keith Raniere’s experience of grooming teenage girls was the training ground in which he developed his skills that he would later use to maintain control over his later criminal sex trafficking ring. This isn’t even a situation where he is accused of having browser cached images from his browsing history or of downloading pornography which could, depending on the circumstances, be a more ambiguous situation. Keith orchestrated and created this child porn and then retained it as part of his pattern of sexually abusing this young girl. Keith will likely never face true justice for his pedophilia, due to the police refusing to act when victims reached out at the time and the statute of limitations, but there is no reason why testimony and evidence of that conduct should not be admitted when it comes to his trial for his current crimes since it is completely relevant.

  • Clearly, due process is sacred and should not and need not be violated to “Trump” Raniere. For fuck’s sake how much havoc can one pervert — albeit inexplicably in control of billions — reek, wreak on the US Justice system?!!!!!!!!!!?

    NDNY, Northern District of New York, and Albany County and/or Saratoga County and New York State need to freaking step up here and protect the due process rights built into the American justice system — as well as step up to protect the denizens and citizens of their districts from the corrupt scourge that has obviously infiltrated their backyard.

  • Different Districts have ruled different ways. Keep in mind the Feds had a warrant to inspect the computer, so it wasn’t a random, unauthorized seizure. Some courts have decided a computer is a single closed container, so once in, they can look at anything. Other courts have determined each file is its own closed container: http://www.cybertelecom.org/security/expectation.htm However, how do the Feds know what is in a folder until they open it? It may not be too late to update the warrant to include earlier dates, even if the judge ruled against them. After all, had the Feds found a dead body when entering Raniere’s sex lair, they would have been allowed to look into that issue. What administrative hoops they would have to jump through is another question. Ask 10 lawyers, you’ll probably get 11 answers, as one of them would give two potential answers to hedge thier bet. In any event, they have plenty of other charges against Raniere.

    I recall at least one of the women (Mack?), as part of their guilty pleas, stated the “collateral” was used to threaten the DOS women. That’s called blackmail, so it doesn’t matter whether it was actually released, because the threat was the crime.

  • Well, when they confiscated John Tighe’s computer for hacking or computer trespassing did that warrant also state they were looking for child porn? If memory serves me they “found” the porn almost 5 to 6 months later. And guess what, he was convicted of possessing child porn.

    So Keith, here is a big middle finger to you and may you rot in jail for a long time. #timesup

  • I’m reminded of Toni Natalie’s death chart. What was it Keith said would take her straight down for daring to leave him no matter what he put her through: PRIDE. Rhymes with “fried.” As in: “He refused to admit his guilt to any crimes and FRIED in an electric chair.”

  • Question:

    Legally using girl’s sexually explicit photos: Should ‘due process’ trump desire to convict Raniere?

    Answer:

    Jury Nullification!!!!!!!

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many, many others in all five continents.

His work helping take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg; “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson; “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La secta que sedujo al poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been featured prominently on HBO’s documentary “The Vow” and acted as lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.”

Parlato will be featured in an upcoming episode of American Greed.

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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