A pool of some 500 potential jurors were narrowed down to 12 jurors and six alternates in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. The following post is by one of the 500 who was rejected as a juror and is therefore free to speak about her experience. The photo is a line of potential jurors arriving in April for jury selection in the Raniere case. [Photo Dianne Lipson]

Rejected Juror in Raniere Case Speaks Out

[This excellent report came to me by email and is well worth reading. The writer, who identified herself, has asked to remain anonymous.]

By A Rejected Juror 

I came across your blog as I was almost selected to serve on the jury in the trial of Keith Raniere and am incredibly curious about the whole thing. Now I wish I was on the jury to send this asshole right to the pits of max for the rest of his life.

I’m currently a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology focusing on neural changes within PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] and how this ultimately impacts reasoning, judgment, and memory. I’ve been in trauma research labs since I was 18 and only stopped when I was a teacher.

JURY SELECTION

During jury selection, when the charges were read out, there was an audible gasp as well as people saying “He’s guilty” (He looked like a dirty hippie arrogant piece of shit the day we saw him).

It was so bizarre because I had never seen such a large group of people react that way.

I cannot imagine the group of people who were chosen to be impartial. I certainly would not have been. The judge was very stern and repeated many times that this was very high profile and none of us were to look at media coverage of any sort until we were excused.

Obviously, he said no discussing the case with each other since we were all on the hook for four weeks after the initial date, but, as soon as everyone left, they were all talking about how disgusting the case is. So, it doesn’t sound like it’ll go great.

I’m kind of bummed. I was excused because, as a woman who meets all of Raniere’s preferred criteria (mostly), I would have loved to make sure he was given a life sentence. I can only imagine how he would have felt seeing someone he could imagine “recruiting” dictating his future.

My impression of Raniere and his crew [then-co-defendants, Kathy Russell and Clare Bronfman]:

I actually had trouble figuring out who were the defendants and who were the attorneys until they were introduced, along with their titles. Like I said before, Ranere looked like a dirty hippie with a man-bun, but he definitely blended enough with the attorneys that I didn’t know who he was at first.

When he turned around, he had this stupid, smug look on his face and waved to the room full of potential jurors. I can definitely see how women would be attracted to him despite him being an average looking guy at best – the air of confidence was there.

I’m sure once Kathy Russell and Clare Bronfman pleaded out, that changed, but those two women looked exhausted. I was uncomfortable with Raniere’s glare though, when he turned around. I was directly in front of him.

I think before charges were read out people were confused because none of them looked like they could be guilty (I guess the power of money does that). But, after the charges were read, the room was full of hushed whispers.

I’m lucky that I have a high-powered hearing aid and was able to overhear a lot of people saying things like “he’s definitely guilty,” “what the fuck, who molests a child,” “disgusting,” and my personal favorite “this fucker is guilty I don’t want to be on this jury.”

It seems most people had the same disgusted reaction I had. I can only imagine what they wrote on their juror questionnaires about being impartial to child molestation/rape charges because I wrote that “anyone who says they can be impartial is lying.”

DANI, A TRAUMA VICTIM

I intended to go to the trial to see Dani’s testimony after reading your blog, but I didn’t have the opportunity. She’s unbelievable and sounds so well composed. It’s very rare for trauma victims to be as composed as she sounded on your blog, especially when they are directly in front of the person who perpetrated the trauma. Her resilience is amazing and I’m in awe of her.

Earlier, I almost emailed you to say that the testimony from Lauren Salzman showed a woman who, although she committed heinous crimes, shows symptoms consistent with trauma, ESPECIALLY the disassociation and impaired judgment.

Dani’s testimony for sure showed a trauma victim but her resilience is amazing.  From what I’ve read, Dani has been under Raniere’s thumb since age 16.

It is expected that, under those circumstances, and the grooming that happened, that she was conditioned to listen to him. She can’t explain why she continued to listen, but I would think she was conditioned like Pavlov’s dog almost.  It seems almost reflexive to listen to him for most of these women.

At 23, the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed in anyone, so decision making and things that really require higher order thinking aren’t as formed.  But that’s only a partial explanation of why she was still listening to these people that she was disgusted by.

What I think is that the traumatization process left her feeling like there weren’t alternatives available for her. Yes, she might have her free will, but I think she had succumbed to her circumstances in other ways.

Each person responds differently to their traumas and it seems, for her, her family was important, and she knew she could only get to them by listening to these other people. Prolonged responses to trauma (even in people who don’t recognize themselves as experiencing reoccurring traumatic experiences) are generally depression, repression of emotion, attempts to “fix” the situation, anxiety, and the belief that their own efforts can act as a protection.

To me, this explains why she didn’t leave. Dani assumed she could restore her life through her own actions by complying with what Raniere/everyone else said to fix her “ethical breach.” The book reports she was told to do seem to be done mostly to get her family back and restore some semblance of normalcy even if she doesn’t recognize it herself.

She’s not exactly a textbook case and has defied most expectations of what a trauma survivor looks like.

EXPERT WITNESSES

I also saw your post Judge Rules Expert Witnesses Can Testify on Solitary Confinement [Dani] and Sexual Abuse about the expert witness testimony and I was thinking a few days before you published it how the prosecution 100% needs a trauma expert to testify.

I’m excited to see the psychologist/psychiatrist [Dr. Grassian and Dr. Dawn Hughes] testify because their testimony is sure to cement in the jury’s mind that Raniere is guilty as hell.

I hope to attend the trial to see the clinical psychologist, Dr. Hughes, as my research almost directly aligns with hers. I want to see how Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, tries to sway these professionals and if he will take more post-it questions from Raniere.

Psychiatrist Dr. Stuart Grassian – an expert on solitary confinement.

 

Psychologist Dawn Hughes – an expert on sex victims and the effects of their trauma.

What I would expect is Agnifilo will try to discredit their research, but the jokes on him since peer review is excruciating enough that all holes are likely poked out already.  That’s generally the only way to make research look faulty.

The work by Dr. Hughes will likely make the jury perk up – the part about false recollection is so integral in trauma research and has been shown so many times and it’s due to changes in neural wiring. If she makes that point, it’s game over.

I would prefer to remain anonymous only because I’m working on my Ph.D. and will be applying for “residency” soon. I also don’t trust the remaining Raniere clan to not interrupt my life as I establish a psychology career. But you are free to check my social media and whatnot to verify I am who I am/my degrees/whatever lol.

Thank you for all your hard work and reporting!

 


About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most acclaimed investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.

Frank’s work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Rolling Stone, and more.

He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.

38 Comments

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  • Very interesting. It does worry me that people can pre-judge, I would go into any case open minded and only decide based on the evidence.

    • Jane,

      It’s impossible for anyone to be truly impartial. We all pre judge. Many studies have been done on the topic and everyone prejudges.

  • So the reaction of these potential jury members was to judge the accused guilty before hearing any evidence. That’s shocking. People are willing to send a suspect to prison based on his looks. And based on the nature of the accusations.

    I want Raniere found guilty and sentenced to prison on the basis of the facts of the case. Not based on his “smug, stupid look” or the length of his hair. I mean seriously, how can an educated person, a PhD candidate, think it’s possible to know someone’s a criminal just by looking at him? Doesn’t she see it’s wrong to assume guilt simply because someone is accused of a heinous crime?

    Wow. Just… wow. Whatever happened to the Presumption of Innocence? To the verdict coming at the end of the trial, not before? It amazes me that back in the 18th century, educated men like the Founding Fathers were committed to these liberal principles and yet now in the 21st I’m seeing calls for summary justice. Based on a person’s looks. Or simply on the nature of the charges against him.

    • Wow that some slanty reading, the bare bones of what is coming out has been known to readers of the FR, thanks to the FR. This isn’t about the instantaneous judgement we can all unwittingly make that gets altered with information, this is about KAR, not you or me or anyone else on this board, of course we wouldn’t be judged in the same way – we are not him !we have not committed those crimes that see him on trial. Wether or not someone might wrongly judge you on your appearance or charges laid against you, is by the by, we know who she is talking about and we know, creepy looking and sounding and acting freak that he is, that he KAR – is guilty!

      • They took one look at him and decided he’s guilty. Without hearing any evidence or testimony. That isn’t troubling?

        So why do we trouble with trials at all? Why don’t the police just round up people who look guilty, or who someone has accused of a terrible crime, and lock them up? Better yet, execute them on the spot. I mean, the police wouldn’t arrest you or me, would they?

        • This is hysteria. Some very bad people seem on first impression, particularly if they are incarcerated before trial, every bit as bad as they are. Some like T. Bundy, look, what? handsome? – I’ve heard people say. First impressions are what they are – we often make that call but have sufficient intelligence to wait for more information. If he were innocent, their first impression would be wrong. He isn’t. In this case, their first impression is likely to be surpassed and enhanced by evidence.

    • The author was disqualified because she wrote, “anyone who says they can be impartial is lying.”. She was both accurate and honest in her assessment. We like to believe we can be totally impartial, but the reality is we are inherently biased towards initial impression, deference towards authority, and any subsequent impressions which act to confirm. An alteration to those perceptions requires dramatic evidence, or a reference to something the juror can relate to and understand; an appeal to experience or emotion.

      The more visceral the reaction to the charges, the more difficult to alter initial perceptions.

      Her statement was accurate and demonstrates an understanding of the mechanics behind the human psyche. This wasn’t a call to act from base assessment, but an acknowledgment of that which has been necessary for survival throughout millennia.

    • Lol Actaeon,

      It’s called honesty. She is actually being honest and not acting like a certain sanctimonious ass we all know…..

    • “Doesn’t she see it’s wrong to assume guilt simply because someone is accused of a heinous crime?”

      Says the same person who tries to put the guilt on someone else without proof but just based on her reading…

      Who are you to judge this “rejected juror”…

      You seem to be extremely misogynistic…overly critical when a lady is saying something…maybe you should try to work on your own problems instead of pointing others.

  • Thank you. What you wrote about Dani was what I was trying to get at in my knuckle dragging attempts. A post that some took as a criticism of her. You articulated this so much better than my attempt

  • Rejected Juror said: “I can definitely see how women would be attracted to him despite him being an average looking guy at best – the air of confidence was there.”

    The defense lost a Not Guilty vote here……

  • Why aren’t there any charges against Dani’s parents for holding her captive? Since they were the ones living there it seems they are at least as responsible as Lauren is. Of course there are a lot of other people that have been mentioned that haven’t been charged, I wish we knew which of those have a deal and which there wasn’t enough evidence on… ie Monica, Nicki etc.

    I think I found the video that Keith & Nancy watched before designing all of the aspects of the NXIVM program! It is actually is amazing how much of what is in here is EXACTLY what was happening at NXIVM. Everyone should really watch this video!

    “What Is A Cult and How Does It Work? (Margaret Singer)”

    • It gets really reliant and interesting around 10 minutes in. Explains influence programs and other aspects really well.

    • Excellent film. This could be used as a starting point for Nexivm devotees to deprogram

      It explains clearly how a person would be impervious to the lure of Keith. As one who took an Intensive, I was cult proof having been a student of Philosophy, logic and critical thinking! It has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with being trained how to think critically to question to seek….

  • Great article Frank. Glad this individual wrote to you. Do you think this person can give us some more insight on female trauma? I consider myself a survivor not a victim to many years of sexual abuse.

  • Excellent report. I laughed at some parts: “This fucker is guilty!” I e personally been afraid that somehow one or more jury members won’t think so. I’m actually very worried that somehow, some way, one or more jury members has been tainted. Somehow. There are powerful people at play here and I would not be surprised if somehow Keith and/or Clare has threatened, paid, or somehow messed with the jury. Some people may say, no way. It’s highly controlled. But, stranger things have happened. And it is possible. And it’s so blatantly obvious that this scum bag deserves life in prison that if there’s a hung jury or if he is acquitted on any or all charges, that someone or all of the jury had been tainted.

    Again, thank you for your report/article. Very interesting to read about how things went down during the jury selection process. I believe Keith is so evil, that just being in the court room with him would dim my light, suck my spirit, and leave me feeling empty. I really believe hat Keith is one of the most evil men to have ever walked this earth. He is the vilest of vile.

  • Frank, did any of the other 500 or so potential jurors contact you?

    Also, I’m not sure I understand the part about, “The work by Dr. Hughes will likely make the jury perk up – the part about false recollection is so integral in trauma research and has been shown so many times and it’s due to changes in neural wiring.” as this infers Dani’s recollections are false and therefore not reliable.

    • There were many points in the cross-ex that she stated she didn’t remember – i.e. Agnifilo asked her about stores she had written down that she had stolen from but she said she didn’t remember; he asked her about times she left the room and what she told the FBI and she said she didn’t remember. I assume that this is what this is in reference to. Daniela was absolutely amazing as a witness and held up very well under cross – so hopefully such testimony could resolve any doubt about these minor details that the jury might have.

      • The problem is she remembered the answers to all of the questions the DOJ asked, but didn’t remember the answers to many of the questions the defense lawyer asked. Especially the ones where she wrote down various stores she stole from but couldn’t recall if she actually did it. THAT can be woven into reasonable doubt during the closing arguments.

  • Thank you.
    As a cult survivor myself you have hit on so many points that I have resesrched over time to better understand “why me”.

  • Thanks for your commentary about trauma. Your presence on this site could help many continue to understand trauma and it’s effect on emotional and cognitive function among the participants in this trial.

    Warning: some of the participants on this site may unknowingly be trauma victims acting out their trauma via their posts .

  • “A Rejected Juror “,

    Thank you so much for sharing your insight and experience as juror candidate.

    Thanks!

  • “Since I’m the editor of this newspaper, I can decide what gets published here. But not too long ago, I wouldn’t have let you see this column without first getting a lawyer’s advice. That’s because I’m writing here about Keith Raniere…..

    Journalists who truthfully portrayed what Raniere was doing as well as plenty of people who left his cultish band of followers were often attacked by lawsuits and threats of litigation….

    Now Raniere is on trial in a Brooklyn federal courtroom, charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor and conspiracy. I figure his lawyers are too busy these days to harass the Times Union.”

    https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Rex-Smith-Not-falling-for-Raniere-s-magic-act-13914959.php

  • Many thanks to our Rejected Juror.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Clare Bronfman spills more beans than anyone else. I have a feeling that she’ll just unzip, and tell everything. Allison Smack will also probably throw a few fainting fits, and blubber her way through DOS from A-Z. Neither of these ladies of high repute want to go anywhere near a jail cell. Because Bronfman has lots of money she might not, but Smack is definitely heading for prison. As for little Keith, I think he’s looking at 20 – 30 years.

    • get help weirdo…At least Shadow as a few (freaky) friends now but you are getting ridiculous with your obsession over Allison.
      Allison has already given a lot for this case (the plea deal accusing raniere, the USB device given to the prosecution…and potentially her testimony), Clare won’t testify anything.

  • What she says is so true. I was once almost selected as a juror on a murder case of a prominent pediatrician that I had no knowledge of whatsoever. All the other potential jurors were well acquainted with the case and surprisingly the murder had occurred less than a mile from my home.

    During breaks they all discussed in detail the fact of the case and many had admitted being less than truthful on the questionnaire. Many literally wanted to be on the jury to convict because they had used the murdered pediatrician’s services or had known the family.

    I ended up on another jury and again after the first day or two the jurors were discussing the case and offering opinions of guilt or innocence. Thankfully it was a civil malpractice case and the parties settled and we never deliberated.

    I would suspect Keith has already been deemed guilty to the max by this group of jurors. Keith is toast!

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Parlato was the lead investigator and coordinating producer of Investigation Discovery's 2 hour blockbuster special 'The Lost Women of NXIVM.'

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

Read more about Frank Report's mission.

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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