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.
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.
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, 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.]
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.