By Dianne Lipson
Dani testified throughout the afternoon of May 28, and she still did not come to the point in her story where she was confined to a room for nearly two years – on orders of Keith Alan Raniere.
But there were glorious moments of testimony on the Vanguard, showing him to be the ultimate coward and a-hole.
By the way, Keith stood up today and I got a good look at him. He has a little bit of a paunch. Perhaps if you’ve watched Star Trek, the original series, his paunch is similar to Captain Kirk’s.
Also I got a chance to look at Dani. If she was heavy once, she is thin now. She was wearing slacks and you could see her thinness in her legs. She is nevertheless a nice nice looking woman.
The afternoon testimony of Dani took up where the morning session left off – with a lot of emails in evidence and Dani’s testimony about her efforts at hacking into the computers of Raniere’s enemies at his behest.
In a rather pathetic exchange, evidence was submitted, which Dani verified as accurate, of some of the stolen screenshots of her sister Mariana. Dani hacked Mariana’s computer to spy on her sister for Keith when Keith thought Mariana might be cheating on him. Daniela testified that she was loyal to Keith over her own sister.
Some of the phrases Mariana wrote included [referencing presumably Keith]:
“You’re storming anger and your pulsing love.”
“I apologize for all the pain I case [cause] you on a daily basis.”
“What about when you [Keith] asked about starting a relationship with Camilla and I said, No.”
“I’m leaving the door open to the possibility I might like life again. All I see is darkness. I’m struggling with myself.”
Keith and Daniela used codes for their key logging. They didn’t say Edgar Bronfman or Mariana they had codes. Mariana was referred to as ‘good friend,’ and Edgar was referred to as ‘not so close friend.”
At one point Dani could no longer get access to Bronfman’s emails.
Switching to sex and abortions, AUSA Moira Penza asked Dani if she used contraception. Dani said no.
She said Keith would ask her where she was in her menstrual cycle, if they had sex. But Keith knew she was very irregular. Still Dani got pregnant in 2006. She took a pregnancy test which confirmed it.
Dani was terrified. She did not want to have a baby. She was 20 or 21 years old. She also did not want to have a baby with Keith. There were too many other women, including her sister.
Dani didn’t tell her parents but she told Keith. Keith was calm. He claimed to Dani that they had already talked about what she would do if she got pregnant – which was to have an abortion. Dani testified that, in fact, they had never talked about it.
But Daniela didn’t push back on Keith, even though she knew he was lying because she didn’t want the baby.
Dani also testified that Mariana had an abortion. Pam Cafrtiz helped to take care of the details. And Pam also helped Dani with her abortion. Pam was sent in to help craft a good story for the gynecologist since Dani was illegally in the US. Pam advised Dani on what to say, regarding her status and to say she was in the country temporarily.
Dani had something called a chemical abortion. She was given a series of pills to take. The instructions said there would be pain and bleeding. And Daniela would need to have someone with her.
Pam was present when Daniella was given these instructions. However, Dani was alone when she took the pills. She was in a lot of pain. She was also in an incredibly emotional state. She was scared. She was troubled about what she was doing because in her culture, this wasn’t accepted.
“I was completely alone,” Dani said. Neither Pam nor Keith were there.
After the abortion, Dani had a conversation with Keith who told her that this abortion provided her with a great opportunity to lose weight and get fit. Keith explained that pregnancy changes the metabolism of a woman and that Olympic athletes purposely get pregnant and have abortions in order to become better athletes.
At one point Mariana became pregnant again. This was puzzling to Daniela because Mariana was on the pill. Pam said maybe Mariana threw out the pills.
The youngest of the three sisters, Camilla, who was just over 18 at the time, also got pregnant with Keith and like her other two sisters had an abortion.
It was the same process. Pam went with Cami to craft a story, but Dani also went along to protect her sister from the pain and aloneness. Pam crafted a careful cover story because Camilla was only a teen.
Daniela feels that Cami’s decision to have an abortion was not easy for her. She said she struggled emotionally and physically.
Penza asked Dani what was Pam’s role and Dani said Pam was like a handler. Looking back, Dani thought she was taking care of the sisters but now she feels that Pam was only there to make sure there would be no liabilities for Keith, since all three sisters were illegal and one of them Keith had been having sex with when she was underage.
Now we get to Dani’s fight with Keith. It concerned Ben Myers. Myers worked in the IT department, and Dani and he were friends.
A number of Nxians got together weekly to watch Star Trek. And one time, when they were watching Star Trek, Daniella and Ben were alone in the room. And something happened. They became closer. They were sitting very close together. They were just talking. They didn’t kiss but there was a close, intense feeling. It felt wonderful to Daniella.
She didn’t want to hide this from her friend Keith. Daniela was discovering something new about herself, new feelings. At one point in the past Daniela wondered if she was asexual but now she was discovering new feelings within herself.
Keith’s reaction was not good. He felt Daniela had done something bad. This was in contrast to Dani’s own feelings of happiness over this wondrous new feeling.
Dani was confused by Keith’s reaction because Dani felt this attraction to Ben was the most amazing feeling she had ever felt.
The next week she went to view Star Trek. Dani wore a white top and a long skirt. And Daniella and Ben talked again, once they were alone. This time, Ben kissed Daniela. It felt wonderful for Daniela. It felt real. It felt true.
Daniela went to Keith to tell him about what happened.
Dani said, “My universe exploded.” Keith was angry. Dani had never seen him angry. He was irrational. There was no reasoning with him. They had a huge fight.
Keith said Dani had just destroyed everything. She was not mature anymore.
But Keith was never affectionate with her. She did not understand his anger. But it was anger.
Dani thought there was no reasoning with him. He was saying things like, “I’ve done everything for you and now you’re hurting me.”
Dani said it didn’t make sense to her. But he said it was a mystical thing which was that if his sex partner did something wrong, it was bad for him. It would physically hurt him; he would become ill.
Dani still cared about and idolized Keith. But she didn’t have a sexual attraction toward him. She was trying to be honest. But, she said, “There was no getting anywhere with him.”
Keith said Daniela was prideful and destructive and that Daniela would lose her soul.
During this discussion, it moved from Flintlock to Hale Dr. and it escalated more and more. Daniela told Keith that she didn’t want Keith to do to her what he did to other women.
Penza asked Dani, “Why didn’t you just back down?”
Dani said because of what she felt she wanted, and that she thought it was something that could be worked out.
Keith told her that she should stop wanting what she wanted, and that her feeling was not really something she was feeling.
Dani said there was no resolution to it. They went back to Flintlock. Finally Keith wanted to stop talking about it. Daniela was not willing to stop. Daniela did not want to let it go.
Keith, Karen and Pam were there and Keith locked himself in the bathroom because he didn’t want to talk about it anymore with Dani.
Dani thought his locking himself in the bathroom was rather childish. Keith stayed in the bathroom for a time and then he ran upstairs.
Dani ran up to after him. They were in Pam’s room and when she would not stop, Keith threw Dani onto a mattress on the floor then he walked out.
That’s how the fight ended.
Penza asked, “When is the next time you spoke to Keith?”
Daniela said, “Never.”
They emailed each other after that but never spoke in person again. That was the fall of 2006.
Keith had had a large role in Dani’s life before that, she testified. She thought he was a great man. She was very dependent on Keith. Keith was her only friend.
After the fight Dani didn’t tell her mom or Mariana. Mariana was not her best friend anymore.
Keith’s accusation was that Dani had pride. It was a catch phrase that Keith would use. If you want ice cream, that’s your pride. Everything was your pride. Everything that you did wrong – was your pride.
After the fight, Dani felt different about Keith. She had never seen him have a strong emotion like that.
Basically, now Daniela thought of Keith as a regular human and not divine.
Pam advised Dani not to throw it all away. But Daniela said no, she said Keith was not the man she thought he was. She had lost some illusions about Keith.
At this time Keith was in his 40s and Danny was 21. I think Penza asked about their relative ages to show how immature Keith was acting.
But the Nxivm women worked on Dani. Dani had a problem and she needed to fix it. She was thinking about going back to Mexico. Women were sent to discourage her from going.
After the fight, her only contact with Keith was through emails and the emails were all about Ben.
Keith told her that Ben was a mediocre person. He said disparaging things about Ben. He hadn’t talked badly about others to her before. So this was surprising to her.
After the fight, Dani’s life changed overnight. She became isolated. She was not allowed to go anywhere Keith was. She couldn’t go to volleyball She couldn’t go to events. She couldn’t be in Keith’s presence. She was still expected to do her jobs, including book reports.
Although she could not see Keith, Daniela was encouraged to write to Keith.
Penza asked, “How many emails do you think that you sent to Keith?”
Daniella said, “thousands.”
The main topic discussed in these emails was that Keith wanted to know, in excruciating detail, everything about her desires and fantasies and of Ben.
Dani told him she and Ben never had sex. It never went farther than making out.
However, Keith wanted to know every detail of when it happened, every touch and how she felt – over and over again. Keith needed to know everything to help Daniela fix this issue.
Keith wrote to her, “Tell me your fantasies” and Keith would say things like, “Why haven’t you told me everything? What haven’t you told me?”
Dani said this was constant.
Through it all Dani had a roller coaster of feelings. Everyone – all the Nxivm women – were working on her. Sometimes she thought she was wrong not to submit to lifelong monogamy with the polygamous Raniere – as the harem women advised her. Dani wanted allies and friends and not to be isolated.
Meantime Keith was beating her up in the emails.
In addition to his queries about her desires, and his criticisms, Keith told her to watch her weight and constantly asked her about her weight.
According to Keith, everything Daniela did was indulgent and an act of pride, even to get coffee or to help her siblings. Everything she did was characterized as an act of pride, and that she should spend all of her time fixing her mistake.
Daniela now had no way to make money. She was illegal. She was living with her family in Clifton Park. But her family now got involved in this – on Keith’s side – to help her fix what was wrong, fixing her mistake.
To assist in her fixing her mistake, they took Dani’s iPod, her computer, her phone and all her books. She was obliged to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. And every 15 minutes she had to write what she was doing. She lost almost every freedom.
Dani was going crazy. At one point, she was very hungry. She was at her parents’ house [At 12 Wilton Court in Knox Woods, a short walk from Keith’s home at Flintlock]. Dani went to the fridge to take some food and the fridge was locked. At one point, for a few days, Dani was locked out of the house.
Basically, Dani’s family had been recruited to work on her. But they weren’t told what had really happened. They were just told that Dani had a serious issue that needed to be resolved. They trusted Keith above their own daughter or sibling. Dani too never revealed what the fight was about.
And that’s pretty much where it ended this day. She has not testified about her being confined in a room yet. Dani resumes in the morning.