Joe O'Hara

Joe O’Hara: Thoughts From The Courtroom

By Joe O’Hara

I hadn’t seen Keith Raniere since December 2004.

But I had definitely thought about him… a lot.

Keith Raniere

That’s pretty understandable considering just how much impact he’s had on my life.

But, as I entered Courtroom 4-D South last Wednesday morning, I didn’t have any particular feelings about seeing him again.

I hadn’t planned to attend any portion of his trial. Last minute circumstances led to me being there last Wednesday.

Unlike the various people who have decided they absolutely need to be there to hear every detail of the testimony – and/or to tell their story to the media during the breaks – I was content to wait for what I think is the inevitable “Guilty” verdict.

But, then again, I don’t have a book or a movie or a podcast to sell.

*****

I happened to arrive just after a technical glitch in the court’s internal document display system had forced a brief break in the proceedings.

Unlike the old days when hard copies of documents were handed to witnesses, now the attorney who is asking questions simply places a document on a machine that projects it to various screens throughout the courtroom.

The witness views the document on a screen as does the judge and each of the jurors. There are also several screens set up for those who are attending the trial. Much, much better than the old days!

Shortly after I arrived and settled into a seat in the visitor’s row, court was called back into order.

The next thing I observed was Raniere being brought into the courtroom by two U.S. Marshals.

At first, I thought that both of the U.S. Marshals were really large men.

Then, I realized it was just that Keith was so small.

He no longer looks like a Vanguard.

More like a Vanguette.

He really is a little man in so many ways.

The handsome Vanguard on a rare walk alone in Clifton Park. He used to bounce with the “joy” that he had taken from others.

Yet, he also totally altered my life – and not in positive ways.

All in all, I really would have preferred to be run over by a Dwayne Johnson type.

*****

At first, I found myself paying more attention to Raniere than to the testimony of the witness, Daniela.

And as the Frank Report has already noted, he was in almost non-stop motion. Kind of like a squirrel eating birdseed from a feeder. Always looking around. Always in motion.

I always thought Raniere was very nerdy looking.  But that look has become a lot more pronounced since the last time I saw him.

*****

All in all, Dani’s testimony was pretty boring while I was there (I’ve been told that the last hour or so on Wednesday was much more riveting).  That’s because she was basically being asked to read a series of emails between her and Raniere.  Not exactly exciting stuff.

But despite the boring nature of the testimony, Raniere was busily scribbling away notes with his little #2 lead pencil – and passing them along to Marc Agnifilo who could not have seemed less interested in them.

MK10ART’s portrait of Marc Agnifilo

And when he wasn’t writing notes to Agnifilo, Raniere was squinting at Dani on the witness stand (There must be something wrong with his glasses because he’s clearly having trouble with them).

*****

I thought that Dani was an incredibly composed witness.  Despite the boring nature of her testimony, she was very clear and direct in her responses to the questions from Assistant US Attorney Moira Kim Penza.

I definitely got the impression that Dani was 100% clean of the Raniere Kool-Aid.  Which makes her the first and only person who knew and followed Raniere that I can say that about.  It was incredibly encouraging to see that someone can get clean of Raniere. Hopefully, more will do so in the future.

*****

I also attended part of the trial on Thursday.

And while Dani was not as composed and strong during the initial part of her cross-examination by Agnifilo, I heard she was much stronger on Friday.  Based on my observations, Agnifilo does not seem to have his heart in this case.

Which, given Raniere’s predilections and actions, is entirely understandable.

My guess is that Hannibal Lecter’s attorney was also not truly committed to getting his client acquitted.

I also think that, upon his conviction, Raniere will claim that Agnifilo provided “ineffective assistance of counsel”. In my experience, Raniere always blames someone else for his failings.

*****

One funny thing that struck me over the course of the two days I was in attendance at the trial is just how frustrating this whole thing has got to be for Raniere.  Virtually every woman who’s involved in this trial is his “type”: i.e., thin with long hair.

Moira Kim Penza? Check!

Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Penza

*****

Tanya Hajjar? Check!

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Hajjar

*****

Teny Geragos? Check!

Teny Geragos represents Keith Raniere.

*****

Danielle R. Smith? Check!

Danielle Smith represents Keith Raniere

*****

In my opinion, there is no chance that Raniere will be acquitted. And there is little chance that he’ll be able to convince even one juror to hold out and vote to acquit him, thus hanging the jury and likely forcing a retrial.

The simple reality is that Raniere is guilty of many more crimes than he’s been charged with in this trial.

The most likely outcome is that he’ll be convicted on all counts – and die in prison.

I’m not sure if that will be via old age, homicide, or suicide, but I do know that Raniere is not the kind of guy who will do well in prison.  He’s charged with crimes that are not well accepted among most prisoners.  And he’s an asshole who has no ability to connect with other guys.  That’s a bad combination in prison.

*****

Several people have suggested that Raniere made a tactical error in going to trial. But I actually think it was the logical thing to do.  The best plea deal Raniere was going to get would likely have required him to serve a 20-year sentence.

And the one thing that Raniere knows after spending the last 15 months at the Metropolitan Detention Center is that he will likely not survive five years in prison, let alone 20 years.  So, his decision to go to trial makes perfect sense to me.

*****

My goal now in life is to live long enough to piss on Raniere’s grave.

Not that I have any bad feelings towards him…


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.

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  • Are you the only obsessed Sultan stalker, or are there lots of cub reporters posting under aliases?

    • Nobody cares about you stalker. You get identified as the freak you are, no matter how many aliases and anonymous comments you post. We can always tell its you.

  • Of course it was Krook. We know she was the “honey pot” sex recruter of Nx and would sleep with any man or woman who had a whip and bondage ropes.

  • Thinking of stopping by to listen one day this week. I’m assuming this is the courthouse on Cadman Plaza? What floor is the trial taking place on?

    • Arrive extra early for the good seats. 😉

      The first 20 visitors in line to court get a Krclaviger KRC keychain….

      … And an authentic Vanguard Blue-light flashlight perfect for those messy post orgasm moments…

      Or when you want add some authentic NXIVM Blue Light Spirituality™

  • Being a woman, I’m going to have to bring a bottle of piss to his grave site.

    Don’t want to risk getting arrested squatting on the smelly one gravesite.

  • Joe O’Hara’s comment is an interesting observation:

    “I definitely got the impression that Dani was 100% clean of the Raniere Kool-Aid. Which makes her the first and only person who knew and followed Raniere that I can say that about”.

    I wonder if Frank Parlato and Krclaviger feel the same as Joe?

    *******
    Clearly Barbara Bouchey still feels that the “program” was a groundbreaking piece of “tech” and had a positive impact on people.

    Meanwhile the tech was based on water downed Scientology mixed with Ayn Rand, Amway, and reincarnation.

    • Good point.

      I’d guess that there are more people out there, who have been away from NXIVM long enough, and thought about it critically enough, to be pretty much free. I think groups like NXIVM also attract a fair number of people inherently prone to culty thinking, who are never going to entirely break away.

      NLP, with its suggestive and manipulative techniques based in Ericksonian hypnosis, was an important part of the mix as well. I’d say it vies with Scientology – whose founder was also a very adept hypnotist – as a primary influence, while reincarnation and the way it was used as a tool of manipulation may come from Hubbard’s past life concepts.

      • AnoyMaker,

        I forgot the NLP thanks. I found it interesting that Raniere would tell people they were famous Nazis or leaders such as Mussolini.

        I guess he used those particular people as to put forth the notion of them all being back together to redeem themselves. Your right great manipulation tool.

        • It’s such a mish-mash of sources, that it’s hard to keep track – but that’s sort of my specialty 🙂

          I haven’t seen a lot about exactly how reincarnation fit into NXIVM, but in Scientology, the past lives ideology definitely has a key role in helping convince people to sacrifice their interests in this life to serve the goals of the organization, under the belief that they will then just come back again and again anyway. From what I have seen so far, Raniere used it more as one of his tools for sort of imposing falsely-based guilt on people, which was then used to manipulate them, though there is also an important element of guilt that is sometimes exploited in Scientology’s version.

          • I did not fully explain:

            Raniere seemed to use the reincarnation angle with a group of Nazis, a group of people that had all been together to explain why all of the current upper leadership members of Nxivm were together now.

            He played the reincarnation angle well.

  • Hey Joe, do you think SultanOfSix was at the trial? Didn’t you say he slept with some high ranking NXIVM member back in 2009 or 2010?

      • ORLY? John Tighe met him. That’s interesting. I did not know that.

        Regardless, you said you knew who he was. You also said he slept with a high ranking NXIVM member. So who is he? Is he white? Is he brown? Who did he sleep with? Was it Kristin Keeffe? Was it Kristin Kreuk?

        • I do know who he is but I got that information on a confidential basis from John Tighe (John’s the one who had dinner with him). Thus, I will leave it up to John to reveal – or not reveal – his identity.

      • “Sultan”, AKA Spanky, is creepy. Frank said he went to New York to rescue Kristin Kreuk from her NXIVM cult and that he met with John Tighe. Why on Earth Tighe met with the creeper is mind-boggling.

        I want to know which NXIVM member opened her legs for the spanker. Was it an attempt to bring him into NXIVM? Presumably, John Tighe met the woman for Frank to have this information. Who is she? Spanky said he would never wash his spank hand again after shaking hands with a woman who has shaken hands with his dream spank.

        The Spank Goblin would certainly have handed over nude photographs of himself as collateral to Keith Raniere and would have been branded above his little brown pecker if there was the remote chance Kristin Crook would sit on his face.

        It’s just not halal man.

          • You haven’t been gone turban boy. You scan the comments for all things Kristin Crook every day and still post under aliases. You fool no one. 👳🏾‍♂️

        • Sorry, I’m not asking you. I’m asking people who supposedly know because they said they did, and who don’t have what appears to be a large hatred against this person. Either Joe or Frank.

    • The Sultan of Six story is such an odd nonsequstor ‘subplot’, to the whole NXIVM story….

      ……There is an evil cult with a leader named Vanguard and two women actresses that played comic book characters on a TV show…..

      ……And a real life stalker comes to rescue or possibly kidnap one of the actresses….

      ….Who incidentally actually was in some danger…….WTF

      The truth really is stranger than fiction.

      Imagine if someone walked up to Joe O’Hara or Frank Parlato a year before they met Vanguard and explained to them the crazy turn that their lives were about to take in a year……

      I am sure Frank and Joe both would have said, ” that is nice now please step away from me.”

  • “Unlike the various people who have decided they absolutely need to be there to hear every detail of the testimony – and/or to tell their story to the media during the breaks – I was content to wait for what I think is the inevitable “Guilty” verdict.

    But, then again, I don’t have a book or a movie or a podcast to sell.”

    Are you talking about anyone in particular Joe?

  • Joe,

    I enjoyed your take on the trial. Thanks for sharing.

    I don’t know much but I know you will definitely out live Raniere….

    • Not legit.. that guy claimed he met Frank at the event but it was before Frank tangled with NXIVM so that was impossible. Frank says he doesn’t recall meeting the guy either.

    • Listening to his voice quality one notices his hesitation and a desire to please his audience and give himself special status. He does not sound credible.

  • Good article, Joe.

    I agree that pissing on Raniere’s grave one day is a worthy event worth living long enough to participate in. Just drink a whole case of beer an hour beforehand, then fire away on both his gravestone and soil.

    As for the boring nature of Dani’s testimony (while reading back emails), that wasn’t meant to perk up the jury’s ears just yet. It was meant to give the government more ammo during closing summations, when they’ll neatly tie up this case with a red colored bow.

  • For any other molesters out there, does anyone remember the “LA Law” episode where a BDSM addict was cross examined by Susan Days character and had a meltdown on the stand? I imagine the same should Vantard ever take the stand.

  • Joe- I am pretty sure the words from Hell in A Bucket by the Grateful Dead will come true for you as it pertains to KAR – “There may come a day when I’ll dance on your grave Unable to dance I’ll still crawl across it Unable to dance I’ll still crawl…” And a good old piss and middle finger.

    One of our KW neighbors has posted in comments that “It just gets worse” (hearing what KAR was/is actually capable of). It sure did. A bunch of neighbors were talking yesterday and we all feel horrible that Dani was in some cases doors away and we were unaware what was going on.

    Although none of us have seen Nicky Clyne and these alleged NXIVM devotees she is allegedly palling around with in Halfmoon/Clifton Park., there are reports of a vehicle in and out of #3 Flintlock intermittently. KW Bunker and Ally Mack’s old neighbor have both seen it.

    Friday’s PM testimony has been scant but this was interesting out of the Albany Times Union 6/1/2019 and shows just how vile and disgusting Pam Cafritz was:

    https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Raniere-lawyer-tries-to-undercut-witness-13911013.php

    Just a reminder that court will not be in session until Wednesday in observance of Ramadan (also from the above article)

    • One of my favorite groups – and, of course, I know that song. Here’s the full stanza you’re quoting from:

      You analyze me, tend to despise me
      You laugh when I stumble and fall
      There may come a say when I’ll dance on your grave
      Unable to dance I’ll still crawl across it
      Unable to dance I’ll still crawl
      Unable to dance I’ll still crawl
      Unable to dance I’ll crawl.

      • random reddit threading about jerry garcia as limited hangout…..

        [–]CockDieselBrickhouse 19 points 5 months ago
        The Grateful Dead was a CIA mind control experiment. The concerts were basically laboratories for the government to study the effects of LSD on large groups of people. Jerry was directed to do certain things in certain shows by the CIA e.g. focus his attention in different ways. Plants in the crowd and Jerry himself then gave the agency detailed reports on what they observed. This went on for decades. Why do you think the main distribution network for a drug researched heavily by the intelligence community became the concerts of one fucking band after illegalization? I thought this was common knowledge I’m full of shit

        permalinkembedsavereportgive awardreply

        ……….

        [–][deleted] 3 points 5 months ago*
        what you’re looking for is known as the Laurel Canyon Conspiracy….you should start off by researching the family military connections of most of the stars of this era: Zappa, Jim Morrison, Stephen Stills, Bob Weir’s birth father etc and those directly IN the military and given honorary discharges well before they were supposed to get out: Jimi Hendrix and …..Jerry Garcia

        The theory is that the government allowed the hippy/drug movement to flourish as a diversionary tactic…a distraction from what was really going on at the time. Those seen as (potential) subversives were ‘controlled with success’ … the gov’t knew that if Jerry and others spoke out against vietnam etc there could be a major issue…since the dead were essentially apolitical many theorize that they were left alone by TPTB (The Powers That Be).

        My personal theory is that The dead were basically the circus / alternative to protest or leftist culture. What’s more fun: protesting in the streets or dropping acid at a dead show?

        The CIA allowed the dead to proliferate because what they were doing was helpful to the CIA / TPTB’s mission.

        Fun fact— John Mayer owns a home in Laurel Canyon in LA; I’ve seen him there as I worked on his neighbors house. It’s a 6 house private complex off Lookout Mtn Rd.

        permalinkembedsaveparentreportreply

        [–]growlerpower[S] 2 points 5 months ago
        Oh yeah that’s the stuff. I can actually sorta maybe believe it too.

        permalinkembedsaveparentreportgive awardreply

        [–][deleted] 5 points 5 months ago
        Keep digging .. people like to believe that things happen organically but the reality is that if the government or the CIA wanted to shut down the dead they could’ve done it easily at any point in time for drugs.

        Also to me Owsley’s involvement is telling. He basically paid for everything in the beginning and made the LSD.

        Doesn’t take away from how much I love the music .. I just want to know the truth.

        Fun fact: Jim Morrison’s father was the head officer on the ship used in the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident (which was used to get the US into Vietnam)

          • yup you have no idea how deeply depressing it was to come to terms with this fact given all the pure joy derived from air guitar played jumping around to L A WOMAN at 16 all born of such a sinister premise….{dont mention hendrix and completely bust my bubble}

          • RE: Bust bubbles, agree, dismaying to find an entire ‘counter-culture’ – poets musicians, intellectuals, all playing ‘hidden hands’ with our hearts and minds

    • My lawsuit was abandoned by the Trustee in my bankruptcy case (Because it was treated as an asset, I lost control of it). If any investigation is ever undertaken with respect to that matter – a very unlikely event – I suspect it will uncover some interesting connections between him and NXIVM’s attorneys.

      • The lawsuit was abandoned because it was so speculative. It was mostly accusations with little to no evidence. It had little to no value. The statute of limitations has probably expired for most of, if not all, the alleged crimes.

  • He doesn’t realise it, but the vast majority of people who learn about his activities will respond with feelings of revulsion and disgust. None of his evil mind tricks can change that. He’s been dragged out into light of day and exposed for what he is. He is a psychopath not dissimilar to Charles Manson. I am convinced that if he had not been arrested, he would have eventually used his DOS zombies as a murder squad. He has stated on camera that he’s had people killed, and I believe him 100%. Manson didn’t brand his followers, but he did get them to carve swastikas into their foreheads. Raniere should never be released. His psychopathic nature makes him a danger to anyone who comes into his orbit. How can a criminal, who believes they’ve done nothing wrong be rehabilitated? This unrepentant child molester should get life with no chance of parole.

    • Good observations, Paul. I completely agree he would have escalated to murder had it suited him. He has no more concern for humans than he does a fly.

      The comparison I find most striking is with Jim Jones. He was charismatic and arguable handsome when compared with Raniere. He imprisoned the disobedient, controlled the diet, sleep and sexual behavior of his followers, humiliated members in front of the group, allowed corporal punishment, collected collateral (incriminating written confessions), commanded his followers’ income, and kept one of his illegitimate children from the mother – so that he perished in the massacre. -All this in the name of something GOOD – racial and economic equality. Jones also reached out to other governments (Russia, Guyana) to escape mounting scrutiny in the U.S.

      Just before the massacre, he ordered the murder of California Congressman Leo Ryan and members of the press, who had come down to check on the cult first hand.

      • No he’s not.

        Raniere said “I’ve had people killed for my beliefs”. “I” (Raniere) is the subject. The verb of the subject is “killed”. The object of the verb is “people”. The prepositional phrase is “for my beliefs”.

        There is no misunderstanding this phrase.

        Now you can argue that he actually meant to say something else and it came out wrong, e.g., “People have been killed for my beliefs” (which is more open-ended in meaning), but that is to know his actual intent prior to saying the sentence.

        Considering what has come to light of his behavior and that people have accused him in the past of having a hand in the death of people, e.g., Kristin Snyder, or that he allegedly plotted to get people killed, e.g., Toni Natalie, Susan Dones, etc. in a Mexican prison, I wouldn’t put it past him at all that he knew exactly what he was saying and intended it to be a subtle threat.

        But you’re welcome to give him the benefit of the doubt. He is after all, the “smartest” and “most ethical” man in the world. [rolleyes]

        • Agreed anon, also there’s the passive voice used here to sublimate the perp. also the present.perf. “have had” refers to the indeterminate period encompassing all the speaker’s experience. (have you ever?)

          Thats how Cinton avoided the truth in K Starr’s questioning:

          “HAVE YOU EVER HAD sexual relations with this woman?” – (here Starr is referring to ALL times in Clinton’s experience.)

          ” I DID NOT HAVE sexual relations with this woman” – (Clinton’s response switches to the past simple [DID] which refers to a distinct time, that may be true if, eg “I did not have sexual relations with this woman” [on the twelfth of never/in a bouncy castle etc..])

          A cogent [false]answer would have been ” I have never had sexual relations with this woman”

          He employed semantics to dodge a bullet. Just as we can expect the wattle-brained KAR to do.

      • Scott – Keith had said the “I’ve had people killed” statement – verbatim – dozens, if not hundreds, of times. He may have been lying, but he 100% wanted everyone to think that he has and he will have people killed if they get/got in the way of his “mission”.

        I heard him say it at least twice, and I had detailed discussions with people about whether we thought he was telling the truth or full of shit.

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.

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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