Defense’s Proposed Jury Instructions Suggest Raniere Will Testify

Keith Raniere

Proposed jury instructions have been filed by both the prosecution and the defense.

The prosecution’s proposed instructions runs 115 pages and that does not count standard jury instructions given in almost every case. The defense’s proposed jury instructions run 89 pages.

It is interesting – for those who love to see how concepts are parsed and slant is built in, and sometimes buried in writings – the subtle differences between the defense’s and the prosecution’s jury instructions.

The judge, of course, makes the final call on what to instruct the jury, before they retire to deliberate.

The proposed jury instructions are, for the most part, somewhat tedious and hair-splitting.

There is one obvious interesting difference between the governments’ proposed instructions and that of Raniere’s defense team.

It comes in the request of standard jury instructions that both sides list by topic which each side is asking the judge to instruct the jury about.

The government asks on its list of standard jury instruction that the “Defendant’s Right Not To Testify (If Applicable)” be included.

The defense makes no mention of that in their list of standard jury instructions.

This is significant for, obviously, if Keith Raniere is not going to testify, the defense would want the judge to make the standard jury instruction on his right not to testify.

Here is a typical standard jury instruction on a defendant’s right not to testify:

Choice not to Testify or Present Evidence
(Name of the defendant) (A defendant) did not testify (did not present evidence) in this case. A defendant has an absolute constitutional right not to testify (or to present any evidence). The burden of proof remains with the prosecution throughout the entire trial and never shifts to the defendant.

The defendant is never required to prove that he is innocent. You must not attach any significance to the fact that (name of defendant) did not testify. You must not draw any adverse inference against (him)(her) because (he)(she) did not take the witness stand.

Do not consider, for any reason at all, the fact that (name of defendant)(a defendant) did not testify. Do not discuss that fact during your deliberations or let it influence your decision in any way.


Does this omission by the defense mean Raniere will testify?

Not necessarily. Marc Agnifilo may be being strategic. He knows the judge will include this jury instruction – because he has to – that a defendant need not testify – if Raniere does not testify.

If Agnifilo put in the request for a standard jury instruction on a defendant not needing to testify, it might signal to the prosecution that Raniere is not going to testify.  He might rather have them guessing  – as a defense strategy.

On the other hand, Raniere may be planning to testify or considering whether he should. He does not need to make that decision until after the prosecution rests its case.


In addition to this lack of a request for the standard jury instruction on a defendant’s right not to testify, Agnifilo filed a supplemental letter regarding jury instructions that is perhaps at the heart of Raniere’s defense.

It is a request for a modification of the standard jury instruction of “good faith” as a defense.

Since the whole case may hinge on this one concept, I reprint Agnifilo’s letter in full below:


Defendant Keith Raniere respectfully submits this letter to supplement his June 7, 2019 letter requesting a good faith charge, among others. (Dkt. 692.) In the June 9th letter, we requested the good faith defense charge from Sand, Modern Federal Jury Instructions.

We supplement this to request the following Good Faith charge:

Good faith is a complete defense to the charges in this case. If the defendant believed in good faith that he was acting properly, even if he was wrong or was mistaken in that belief, and even if others were injured by his conduct, there would be no crime.

Therefore, if Mr. Raniere genuinely believed that he was acting properly or that he believed in the truth of representations he made, it does not matter that his conduct was improper or that his representations were untrue.

The burden to establish lack of good faith and criminal intent rests on the Government.

The defendant is under no burden to prove his good faith. Rather, the Government is under an obligation to prove bad faith beyond a reasonable doubt. (Adapted from United States v. Shkreli,
No. 15-cr-637 (KAM), Dkt. 295 at 83 (E.D.N.Y. July 28, 2017); United States v. Mangano, et al.,
No. 16-cr-540 (JMA) (E.D.N.Y.).)

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted,
Marc A. Agnifilo, Esq., Of Counsel
Teny R. Geragos, Esq.

cc: Counsel for the government (via ECF)


There is no absolute slam dunk verdict perhaps in any case. It is at least possible that Raniere may be acquitted of some or all charges. There may also be a hung jury.

Of course it will be fascinating if Raniere does testify.

He may testify if he thinks he can persuade the jury that he truly did all he has done in “good faith.”

There is also a chance that his testifying [and the cross examination] might work against him and persuade any doubtful jurors that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jurors might not like him and the more he talks, the worse it might get – [see his testimony in the AT&T case]. This is especially true if Keith does here what he does best everywhere else:  lies.

And then gets caught by the prosecution.

I can only imagine the cross examination – with questions about his phony IQ test, his fake judo claims, his Consumer Buyline scam, his perverted photographing of 15-year-old Cami, his dirty tricks to get women branded with his initials, the lies about collateral, maybe his erectile dysfunction [if admissible] and literally 1,000 other lies and tricks and manipulations – which all hurt others.

For a man with such good faith – it might be asked – how come so many women were hurt?

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Frank Parlato


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  • I am dumbfounded by the “Good Faith” argument. When does that ever trump the actual law? It’s not an argument at all!! What is Agnifilo thinking?! Not only is it clear that Raniere was acting out of good faith in anything except for his limp dick, it’s not an excuse for committing crimes!

    I don’t understand why Agnifilo isn’t using personal responsibility argument or has he actually committed any crimes argument… The Good Faith thing is so weird and lame… and makes no sense. Is he deaf to all of the testimony that has gone on so far?! The good faith went out the window on day 1! Can’t he think of anything else?!

  • Food for thought – part of me thinks KAR is enjoying this. Everyone in the world gets to hear how much power he had over these women. Huge ego boost despite the limp dick Intel. I think we all feel good he’ll be convicted but he also has a solid chance that he’ll win an appeal due to that Lauren testimony business. Do you think he’ll risk the stand just so he can take advantage of a huge platform to spew his bullshit word salad since this trial is gonna have to be a do-over anyways? That’s kind of the narcissistic playbook.

  • While many defense lawyers advise defendants against testifying, in some ways I believe that defendants should testify.
    For five or six weeks, the prosecutors beat up on the defendant with little opportunity to respond except through cross-examination.
    Many jurors want to hear the defendant answer the charges against him or her.
    Many jurors want to hear the defendant’s version of the truth.

  • I really want him to take the stand. And have Penza rip him a new ass hole. If the jury buys what he’s selling, then our whole justice system is fucked. Common sense will be a thing of the past. With that mentality, our nation is doomed.

    • The NY jury won’t buy it. He’s white and male. Unanimous…. And he is absolutely guilty and deserving of full punishment. So there.

  • Of course, he’ll testify. He’s a Big I Am with a superiority complex. Although he’s insecure about his ability to achieve an erection, he would probably blame hidden sexual partners for disrupting his energy or something.

  • I’d guess that Raniere’s attorneys have to account for the possibility that he would want to testify. I’m not sure that what we’ve seen so far, indicates with certainty that he will testify.

    I had expected that his nature would make him want to take the stand and have his say – and an attempt at swaying the jury – even though that is generally considered to be a bad strategy. But his recent humiliations in court, might make him more hesitant about being exposed to cross-examination.

  • The Underground Bunker leaves a big white elephant in the room FP regarging Nicole and her collaterol after she contacted you. It appears you need to explain yourself somewhat?

    • Nicole and others’ collateral was leaked to me. I immediately turned it over to law enforcement.

      I told Nicole truthfully that I had her collateral and that I turned it over to law enforcement. I also encouraged her go tell the FBI about what happened to her because after talking to her I realized she was a crime victim. She did go to the FBI and told me she did afterwards. She never discussed what she told the FBI. We never spoke since she went to the FBI. The reason she called me originally was to ask me to remove her name from Frank Report and I did so. Removing her name was not contingent on her going to law enforcement and occurred well before she did go to the FBI to tell her story.

  • This is why I’m thinking Allison may not be called by the prosecution- she likely still has some semblance of belief that Keith’s intent was to build the inner strength in the DOS members. She only plead at the very last chance – to try and avoid 20 years in jail. Hate to say it, but I also believe her (as well as India’s) biggest regret is just that they got caught. India is still friends Allison and Lauren on Facebook, but she is not friends with Sarah or other defectors. She let her latest Facebook post defending Keith stand -with no additional comment after the fact. She didn’t ‘leave’ until well after Allison was arrested and no longer around for her to serve.

    One thing that hasn’t gotten enough attention is that Nicole’s demand for her collateral back was forwarded to Clare by Allison- yet Clare has never been named in court as a slave or master. Why was it forwarded to her unless she was 2nd in command next to Keith? Why didn’t Clare get charged with more crimes related to DOS?

    The other thing about the trafficking and imprisonment of Dani – a lot of people were involved besides Keith – Kathy, Hector, Kristen, Dani’s mother, etc. – yet none of them were charged. If Dani’s parents allowed it to happen in their home, I can see why the jury may not convict on that charge. Maybe there was some evidence that Keith was solely responsible – but I haven’t really seen that in any of the updates. I really wish the public had access to the transcripts!

    • Allison Mack is still in her Vanguard trance. Just like Nickvi.

      I think she went for the guilty plea only because she was ABSOLUTELY terrified of going to prison

      There are some things that even a true believer can’t do.

      • Allison is retarded and so are her parents. The first thing they should’ve done was seek a therapist for their daughter. But they all must still be drinking the kool-aid.

        Anyone who can’t see that KAR is an utter fraud is beyond hope.

  • Witnesses have testified that Raniere told them, after having sexual activity with him, not to tell anyone else. This is a repeated pattern of Raniere’s standard behavior, featured in the testimony of witness after witness.

    It is also classic behavior from a sexual abuser. The perpetrator doesn’t want any interference. There is awareness of wrongdoing and of the need to conceal it.

    There is no “acting in good faith” scheme capable of disguising Raniere’s wide range of criminal actions. He himself has consistently defeated any means of using “good faith” as an excuse. His own furtiveness has defeated him, both in the business world and inside the environment of his sexual conduct.

    He has been conscious all along of his need to keep his real behavior secretive, even going so far as to pretend to be a renunciant. So something within him enohas known enough to organize things in ways to try to hide who he really is and what he has really been doing.

  • Some readers think that if Keith testifies, he’ll really turn the jury against him. Possibly, with all of the witness/victim testimony that came before him, since they will know that he is a great manipulator and liar (and of course scum bag). But also, think about the hundreds/thousands of people he got to join NXIVM, to follow him absolutely for so many years. Readers continue to be amazed that Keith was able to manipulate and bed so many beautiful women, despite his nerdy and dumpy looks. There is a reason for this. He has the ability to engage, talk convincingly, and seem genuine and concerned. He may not be the ultimate genius he claims to be, but he isn’t stupid, that’s for sure. Keith is most certainly the ultimate manipulator. So while it will be fascinating to hear Keith testify, I do think there is risk – which could go both ways. Don’t discount Keith’s testimony that it will hurt more than help.

    • Narcissists know how to turn on the charm. They can make themselves seem very ‘special.’

      “Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

      Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
      Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
      Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
      Exaggerate achievements and talents
      Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
      Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
      Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
      Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
      Take advantage of others to get what they want
      Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
      Be envious of others and believe others envy them
      Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
      Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office.”

    • Nah. Keith was only convincing to a relative few of the thousands who allegedly took courses. There was only a certain type of people he was able to convince. Prior to being able to turn these overly trusting people, his minions created a false persona and engaged in cognitive and other types of manipulative techniques within an environment that was conducive to bringing them over. This will not exist in the courtroom.

      Keith will never testify. It’s not his element because he’s a coward. That’s why he’s always been secretive and hid behind his women and the reliability of others to do his dirty work.

      • I think, like you, that he has no interest in testifying, but perhaps he wants to be pilloried as a marthyr, but I doubt it very much.

    • Most people only took a course or two and never met Raniere, I wouldn’t call that “joining NXIVM.” I also take issue with the women being “beautiful.” They are pretty average looking to me, and that’s on their good days and when I’ve had a few drinks. Most of Raniere’s “charm” was the build-up the small group of women around him provided. In MLM, it’s called edification, he learned it when he was in Amway.

  • I want to see his “good faith” response to a question about his “All mine” text in response to Allison Mack’s close up photos of her slaves’ genitals.

    I want to see him explain in what good faith sense he considered these images to represent something that belonged to him alone, given that these women had been persuaded to enter this group as a way to foster personal strength and independence.

  • Bad intend is more than proven in the case of Cami, who was raped at the age of 15. He waited for Dani to be 18, but in the case of Cami, he didn’t wait. The scar from and operation proves her age.

    • I don’t think good or bad intent is an element in a statutory rape crime. As my college roommate used to be amused when discussing the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Conduct, the law for military personnel), “Penetration, however slight, constitutes an infraction.”

  • It would be very good if Vanguard testifies, because it would be an opportunity teach the jury how to be more ethical.

  • To this point, Marc Agnifilo has pre-empted the prosecution. He has brought forward all claims of Raniere as ego-maniacal, self-centered and manipulative and given clear instances of them. He has avoided none of the ill claims against Raniere in an effort to confront them head on and to “normalize them” as the behavior of Raniere that was well known and agreed upon by all participants.

    He will do so with all future claims. He will call Raniere and he will bring up the judo championship, I.Q test and 100 yard dash and all other claims in effort to get this out in the open to present Raniere as someone who thought he was doing the right thing at every step to help humanity. Raniere exaggerated so that he could gain confidence and help his followers.

    He only needs to convince one juror that Raniere was misguided, had no intent to hurt anyone and was acting in the interest of everyone’s growth.

    • I think Agnifilo’s attempt to narrow this to just intent is a red herring, though I don’t know exactly how it is supposed to be considered in our legal system – but crimes are still crimes, unless they’re complete accidents, and even then there are still crimes of negligence or accident. Even ignorance of the law is no excuse, as the old saying goes.

      This is related to the sort of issues raised in Bangkok’s devil’s arguments – and their faults. If just pure intent were at issue, no heartless psychopath or delusionally insane person would ever be put behind bars, and the Nuremberg Trials would never have been held.

      I think one of the reasons the prosecution has been presenting the case they have, is to make it virtually impossible that even one juror could see Raniere as having had good intentions, or at least of not having caused – and observed – harm.

    • The DOJ will probably retry the case in the event of a hung jury, and I doubt the judge will let Raniere out of jail while preparing for a second trial. So it’s all good.

    • “misguided”? How is locking someone in a cage and having people uphold double standards show that he had no intent to hurt anyone… keeping someone in a room for two years and then running away when they get out? That right there proves he knows he was wrong! He ran away! Keith didn’t stand there and embrace her and say I’m so glad you’re out, what did you learn? He ran away on his stocky ham hocks! The way Agnifilo is questioning the victims is making him look like an asshole. He’s taken the wrong tactic. He’s acting like Raniere. He’s playing out the distorted abusive ways of Raniere and it’s not normalizing it. It’s making it look even more awful and disturbing.

      I don’t understand why he’s not gently and kindly getting them to admit their initial consent. Playing the asshole is not effective.

      I guess he has a tough job trying to defend a scumbag. But he’s coming off as one in the process.

      • With VanDumbass handing out sticky notes to Agnifilo, it appears Agnifilo is just acting as a lawyer by proxy. In other words, he’s playing out the abusive ways of VanDumbass because VanDumbass is actually the one defending himself.

  • The defense’s argument is based on this this “Good faith“ bulshit. To defend a guy who openly says he is trying to brake people, who is raping chidren and tourturing teenagers.

  • Good Faith is not a defense. If a suspect robs a bank in Good Faith (say because he needs the money to pay for his daughter’s chemotherapy) – that does not negate the elements of the crime

    • That’s not how Agnifilo is trying to use good faith. He is trying to claim that Raniere was breaking (or braking according to other commenters) down people so he could build them back up, just like the Marines do. The problem is he knew how to break (brake) people down, but never got around to building them back up, he was too busy eating pizza, taking walks, playing volleyball, and semi-erectly f*cking anything that moved.

  • Raniere is too arrogant to testify unless he’s forced to.

    He needs to be arrested for murder involving some of the women previously connected to him.

  • With his ‘good faith’ submission, Agnifilo seems to be clutching at straws. He has to do something for the millions of dollars in cash he’s got in his bank account. I feel really sorry for Agnifilo. Must be SO effing stressful having to administer all those millions!

    • The prosecution said it thinks it will end its case by the beginning of next week. Then its up to the defense if they wish to put on a case. That may take another week or longer. Then closing arguments and jury deliberations. If Raniere does not put on a defense it might end within a week.

  • There is a 100% chance of Raniere testifying. NO WAY will he let this opportunity pass him by. He believes he can convince the jury. He wants his voice to be on record defending himself. He needs to “not agree to any wrongdoing” (just like CBI). He WILL testify.

    • Frankly, it would be nice if Ranière would testify, we poor unhappy people, we could finally hear the good word, he seems so sure of himself that it might not be sad; and as he is now the clown…

    • Agreed. He testifies.
      If he’s arrogant, he loses. If he’s humble, he might hang the jury.

    • It is hard to imagine that Keith would not want the opportunity to shine in the spotlight and try to convince the jury with his empathetic-sounding word salad.

    • I think he may too as he will want the chance and thinks he is very convincing unless he is put off from that earlier case where he gave evidence (linked above) where it didn’t go to so well.

    • Nutjob,

      I am sure you know better than most of us.

      Would you bet big on it?

      What do you think the odds are? 10-1 against or 10-1 for ?

      +120 or -350 maybe?

      • I’d have put it at 10-1 and would have lost money because the real odds would have been far from that. But Frank’s newest post seems to say I’m wrong. Maybe Keith is actually going to listen to his attorneys. WIthout testifying, Keith must think he already has a good enough story he can insert into his victim pattern.

        • Thanks for the response,

          I thought Raniere would testify or at least put up a defense at the end of the trial.

          I have a feeling that Agnifilo believes he has a strong case for appeal.

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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