Courtroom Observer: Raniere Is Like a Gerbil – He Never Stops Moving at the Defense Table

Keith Raniere

By A Courtroom Observer.

I was in court today and got to see Keith Raniere from a distance of about I would say 20 feet.

He has little baby shoulders. He is small. He doesn’t look like a judo master. He looks about 20 pounds lighter than what I would have guessed him to be judging from his pictures.

As the trial is ongoing he is literally like a gerbil. He never stops. Like a gerbil on a treadmill.

Rarely does he stop moving. He’s writing almost incessantly. He is left handed. All he has to write with is a lead pencil, like right out of grammar school.  And he was taking notes all the time, writing post-it notes and passing the notes to both attorneys- as Dani testified.

Keith wore a blue sweater outfit and a white shirt. When he stood, I judged him to be about 5’4”. He looks very geeky.

He was having trouble with his glasses. They keep running down his nose. He kept pushing them up with his middle finger.  I could imagine one might think he was giving someone the finger slyly by the way he used his middle finger to push up his glasses, but I honestly don’t think that was intentional.

When Keith wasn’t in motion, which was rare, he struck kind of a ‘Thinker’ pose with the right hand under the chin. He seemed very attentive when Dani was testifying. I would describe him based on his behavior in court as an obsessive compulsive type.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis doesn’t always wear his judge’s robes.

As for Judge Nicholas Garaufis, he does not wear a robe. [ed. note: When the trial began, Judge Garaufis told the jury he doesn’t like robes – and that they were not to make anything of this, especially not that he did not take the case seriously just because he does not wear a robe.]

As for Moira Penza, she has a lot attitude. A New York City woman.  She literally struts in the courtroom, and seems to love to fluff her hair down to one side. She would be just the type Raniere would have tried to prey on. But the tables have turned. She is tearing him to shreds – daily.

Moira Penza [r] leaves the courthouse. Photo Tom Gargiulo.
But honestly, today, I was bored with Moira. The reading of emails throughout the morning and well into the afternoon was tedious to a fault. Of course it livened up at the end of the day when Dani gave her most compelling testimony. [Dianne Lipson will report this in our next post].

Moira had Dani read one email after another after another . One email went on for over a page. Then Moira put up a second copy of it, where Keith put in his comments and brackets underneath her paragraphs. Moira made Dani read the whole damn thing again, first hers and then Keith’s remarks and finally after about 15 minutes, Moira said, “Oh, why don’t you just read Keith’s?”

Then Moira elicited testimony about Dani going on “the Master Cleanse” and how she lost 20 pounds in 36 days.  Dani was forced weigh in several times a day and report her weight. Penza had Dani read her weight every single day for all 36 days.

Marc Agnifilo outside the Brooklyn courthouse. [Photo -Dianne Lipson]
Marc Agnifilo, sitting next to Keith at the defense table, spent most of his time going through and highlighting documents that were being introduced into evidence.  Keith and Marc were positioned shoulder to shoulder. Keith constantly gave Marc post-it notes and Marc literally read Keith’s post-it notes and the next look you see on his face is just disdain. Just like, ‘Okay, great. That was wonderful. Thank you very much.”

The entire front row is reserved for the media. There were eight people in the media row today by my count.

On the left side of the courtroom, in the spectator section, behind the front row, there were people for the prosecution. FBI agents, Homeland Security, all federal guys. Whether any of these are from the US Attorney’s Office from the Northern District of New York is unknown.

On the right side, there may have been some Raniere supporters there. [Several Raniere supporters have been seen on previous days.]

Joseph O’Hara was in court today to observe the proceedings,  This is believed to be the first time he has appeared at the trial.
Toni Natalie has been in court all day, every day of the trial.

There were some famous Raniere adversaries there: Toni Natalie and Joe O’Hara were both in court today.  I also observed that Chet Hardin, who wrote numerous damning stories on Keith Raniere for the now-defunct Albany Metroland was there. It might have seemed like Old Home Week: Natalie and O’Hara did so much to fight for so long the battle against Raniere.

They were the pioneers.  Without them, chances are none of us would have been here in court today to witness the trial of Keith Alan Raniere.




About the author

Frank Parlato


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    • Just kidding…

      I think it was possibly Flowers who wrote this article, making a short trip southward from her home in American’s hat.

    • Hatdly.
      Why do you think he turned around and scanned the spectators in the courtroom when Dani was sobbing?


      Scott, you are a royal ass most of the time, especially with that ludicrous comment.

  • Thank you! And you goddamn go, Toni and Joe, the dynamic duo! Wish I were there in person to help you but you know how it is, I got kids, mine and the whole neighborhood to deal with, in a pool…and God love every one of them ‘em as I know SHE does and keep them safe…WTF, you think Salinas? You’re gonna fuck with me and my crew of homies and not get caught?!

  • Good to hear that Natalie is present to watch this trial. I hope she’s savoring the experience of seeing Raniere exposed as the perverted greedy liar he has always been.

    She was the original — the prototype woman worked on by Keith and Nancy relentlessly, informed that she might be The One, destined to have the baby with Keith who would save the world. Never mind that she couldn’t have children!

    And then they pursued her for years and years when she realized she had to get out.

    • I hope everyone keeps in mind just what a nasty, mean, perverted woman Nancy Salzman has been for decades and always will be.
      Leopards do not alter their spots.
      Also, Nancy raised Lauren and Michelle to be just like her.
      As my dead mother would say, the tears Lauren shed were crocodile tears and for herself alone because her sins, and her mothers, have seen the light of day.
      You see these women walking down the street….cross to the other side.

      • To g – I know you aren’t big on disclosure, but I’m curious how you know so much about Nancy, Lauren and Michelle? is it just from reading material here?

        • I gotta say more.
          You had me roaring with laughter, simpleton that you are.
          You really thought that ploy would work, huh?
          Tell you what. Gimme your name, address, telephone number and I might reach out.
          Keep tryin’ though. Someone might fall for it. Just not this someone.

          • Trying to decide between 2 responses – to sarcasm or not to sarcasm…
            1. You got me. You sure caught me in something big.
            2. You don’t know jack. Maybe sit back and learn instead of playing expert on things you know little about.

    • Why can’t Natalie have kids, didn’t she already have at least one? Wouldn’t not being able to have kids make her “perfect” for Raniere, because he could f*ck her without making a baby?

  • Raniere isn’t in court only for what he did in the olden days, he’s also in court for the cauterizing/blackmailing. In fact, one could make the argument he’s ONLY in court because of his more recent crimes, specifically the scar picture in the NYT.

    • Amazing but true. The scar photo, though not illegal, did more to get public attention than rape of teens!

  • Let’s hope that Joe O’Hara, Rick Ross and the numerous other victims of NXIVM use this investigation and trial as an opportunity to file civil RICO suits against the NXIVM defendants.
    Under the

    Federal RICO statute victims may file civil suits against the defendants who tortured and abused them.
    These civil suits have treble damages and the attorney fees are paid by the defendants.

    Civil Provisions
    The RICO statute contains a provision that allows for the commencement of a civil action by a private party to recover damages sustained as a result of the commission of a RICO predicate offense.[9][10]


    • I love the idea – but they may not be able to afford to do what NXIVM did originally, hiring lawyers to file suits against defendants with no assets, purely for the sake of revenge. I doubt that NXIVM has any worth to speak of, Raniere probably won’t have any money left by the time he’s done paying his lawyer’s fees and forfeitures, and even Clare Bronfman may be running down to the end of her accessible funds that aren’t tied up in trusts (her income might be judgment-proof as well).

      I’m sure someone is analyzing all the available information and waiting to see what comes out at the end of trial, to determine if there really are any deep pockets to go after. Raniere will probably be left with no assets as he long claimed, even though he did have some, and it will serve Bronfman right if she comes out of this down to just what trust fund officers will dole out to support her.

      • Just because the prosecution cut plea deals with the defendants does not preclude civil plaintiffs from using the RICO law to file lawsuits against them.
        Since Allison and Lauren pled guilty to criminal RICO charges it will be a little easier for them to be tried in civil RICO cases.
        Clare, Sara and Nancy did not plead guilty to racketeering but they might have a few spare dollars and pesos lying around.
        Maybe even some rubles.
        And if the NDNY would actually do its job and investigate NXIVM thoroughly they might be able to uncover evidence of RICO violations by Emiliano Salinas, Alex Betancourt and Rose Laura Junco, all three of whom come from wealthy families.

        Or is the NDNY so corrupt and politically compromised that the NXIVM case ends with the conviction of Keith Raniere?

About the Author

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 others in all five continents.

His work to expose and 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 prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083