By Dianne Lipson
Keith Raniere, to some the Vanguard, and spiritual mentor, their Grand Master or Supreme Master, a man with some 20 women or more in his harem, came off as an insane, jealous, freaky obsessive, a manipulative nutcase – a true psychopath – during Dani’s testimony today.
Before we get to that, Dani was composed. She is on her third day and is expected to continue throughout the day and should start cross examination tomorrow.
She was wearing a white button down shirt with a large black star on it and black slacks. She’s very thin. It’s hard to believe she was ever overweight.
She testified through the morning. Be forewarned that there will be some creep factor when you read more about the Vanguard.
On the night of the big falling out with Keith [he found out that Ben kissed Dani and he wound up locking himself in the bathroom], Dani felt she was in the right, but, as the years went by, as she stayed in Nxivm, but was essentially shunned, she was no longer clear on who was right.
Everyone around her [The Nxivm wing women of Raniere’s harem] told her she was bad and that she needed to fix her problem.
[Ironically these women did not know – they were not told by Raniere – what Dani had done wrong. A source in Raniere’s harem told Frank Report that Raniere had told people that Dani’s issue was stealing money. Which was a lie, she came to learn. Meantime Dani did not tell anyone about what the real issue was – she had feelings for another man – Ben Myers.]
Daniela considered leaving many times. But she was discouraged by the wing women of Nxivm.
Dani didn’t have money and she was in the US illegally. She was told she couldn’t leave the US without having a serious legal problem. Plus Daniela sincerely wanted to do the right thing.
She knew she had a major legal problem because she was in the US illegally – because Keith and Kathy Russell provided her with fake ID and she crossed into the US via Canada. This was her legal issue not theirs.
Dani had literally no money. Zero. Sometimes she had to ask for money for food. Or get food at her father’s house. She couldn’t make money in any way and Nxivm was providing no income for her.
Dani could not speak directly with Keith and Keith told no one [nor did Dani] that the entire fight – which began in the fall of 2006 – was over the fact that she developed romantic feelings for someone other than Keith – who meantime had a harem.
This cruel punishment went on from the fall of 2006 and well into 2008.
A big part of the morning testimony was dedicated to going over some of the thousand plus emails her and Keith exchanged.
In one email [or perhaps several] Daniela said she loved Keith and she also said some sexual stuff to him – as if she desired him sexually. Dani admitted on the witness stand that she said things to Keith that she thought she was expected to say.
Throughout the time from her falling out – to the present, she had only one interaction with Keith [if you can call it that]. She was at 8 Hale Dr. [Raniere’s sex lair, which he called his library] She was doing her usual organizing and cataloging in the library while he was gone.
She heard Keith coming in. Daniella pretended to be asleep on the couch. Keith thinking her to be asleep walked over to her and took out his penis and put it on her face. He touched her face with his penis while Dani pretended to be asleep. Finally Keith put it away and left. There was no sex. Neither did they speak. She pretended the entire time to be sleeping.
Even though she had communicated sexual interest toward Keith in her emails to him – because she thought that was expected of her – when she was alone with him in the sex lair, she did not want sex with him so she feigned being asleep.
The emails continued. Keith told her that even though she had withdrawn from him, he was still going to help her. Among the prescribed tasks Dani was to do – under Keith’s direction – for her own good was that she had to provide “reality checks” where she was to write down what she was doing every 15 minutes.
During the lengthy email exchanges, the jury learned that Keith continued to focus on her weight constantly. Dani wrote down her weight every day and at one point she lost some 20 pounds in 30 days
Meantime Keith continued to ‘guide” her. He told her that everything she does is wrong; everything she tries to express to him, is wrong.
He keeps telling her, “You don’t know all the damage you do to me.” [This damage was, of course, caused by her romantic feelings for Ben Myers.]
The emails also addressed how Dani had done wrong. One of these was that she destroyed Ben Myers’ internal representation of Keith. [How Ben picture and idolized Keith].
Dani would write to Keith saying, “you try to help me but I’ve pushed you away. I fucked up royally.”
Keith kept telling her, “Do you understand what you’ve destroyed?”
Dani keeps coming up with plans to fix things. Keith keeps shooting them down.
This goes on for more than a year. Maybe two years. By now Dani is buying into the idea of how destructive she was. She’s been told that she’s “choosing” to have feelings for Ben. And what she felt for Ben was actually her “pride” and “indulgence.” Her feelings for Ben were not real.
She’s made an effort to deconstruct everything.
Keith goes beyond creepy and into the insane obsessive, worse than any jealous teen. Keith asks Dani ‘Did Ben put his fingers inside you? Did he? Does he think you were virgin? Did he touch you on your vagina inside your clothes or was it outside your clothes?”
Yes, he had. Daniela told Keith that Ben had touched her vagina inside her clothes.
Keith wrote “What? Did he touch you between your legs under your clothing?” She said yes and Keith said, “Why did you leave this out?”
Keith asked, “How many times did he touch you there?” “How long did it last?“ “Did you tell him to stop each time” and then he said he was curious about why she left this important detail out!.
It goes on and on. Dani is trying to fix things and becomes convinced it was her that was damaging everything and Keith is helping her to fix her many issues.
For months and months and months it went on. Dani thought that all Keith ever tried to do was help her. He was her teacher. She was ashamed of crossing a boundary in her relation with Ben – a man she had not seen in more than a year and had seen about a dozen times.
She became convinced she was no longer pure.
She was told by Keith that what she did with Ben [he kissed her and touched her vagina] effected others – Ben and even her brother Fluffy [Adrian] – who had done something inordinately disrespectful to Keith. It appears that Fluffy actually said that everybody was catering to Keith too much.
Dani never told Fluffy about Keith and his sexual relations with his sisters. But he seemed resentful.
Keith said, the loss of Ben will set us back. [Ben never left Nxivm. He wound up marrying Nancy Salzman’s daughter Michelle.] And that everything was being effected by Dani’s one egregious gigantically horrendous affair – it could even effect their legal issues if Ben were to leave [He was a Nxivm hacker] – and all of it was Daniela’s fault.
Dani was 23 years old. This had a great impact on her. She believed she destroyed everything.
Daniela said, “In that moment I even felt grateful he’s writing to me.” She’s still trusted Keith. He was well intended.
From the time she had the fight with Keith – late 2006 – until she went into the room in solitary confinement from 2010- 2012, Dani spent years being shunned by the Nxivm community. The email exchanges were at times so intense that – in lengthy threads – they started by day, went into the wee hours of the night and into the next morning.
The emails were about Ben and Daniela – for years – over their meetings, a kiss and a bit of touching [Ben touched her breasts as well and pulled her nipples].
Keith told her “it’s all her fault and it’s effecting other people. And she’s destroyed everything.”
My god what would have happened if they actually had sex. It would have been apocalyptic.