Keith Ranieres super lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, outside the Brooklyn courtroom Monday. [Photo by Dianne Lipson]

Agnifilo Closing Paints Picture of a Truly Innocent Kinky Guy Named Keith Raniere

By Dianne Lipson   

 

“The conduct, looked at objectively, is pretty out there,” Marc Agnifilo, lawyer for Keith Raniere, said in his closing argument in Brooklyn federal court. “That doesn’t make it a crime.”

After Moira Penza concluded her closing arguments, the high-priced, extremely articulate and persuasive lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, began his closing statement.

I will paraphrase his remarks including those in quotations marks.

Agnifilo told the jury that theirs is an important job and asked them to look at each of the charges. He understood that they might have an emotional reaction to what they heard in court, but asked the jury to carefully go through what’s actually charged.  He said that Penza did a good job of going through what was charged against Keith.

He pointed out that Keith was not charged with having sex with Camila.

He explained that this is a case about a racketeering enterprise and “enterprise” means that people act together. This is not about Keith acting alone. He said the government is basically saying that Keith did not act alone.

Agnifilo tried to make a distinction based on legal principles. Racketeering cannot be Keith alone — different people have to be in on the enterprise.

The government’s exhibit photo of Keith Alan Raniere.

“Do we have a common purpose?” he asked. “Is Keith’s purpose common to anybody else? This is not a technicality. This is the law for racketeering charges. Is there an enterprise? Is there a common purpose? Is there a common purpose between Nxivm and DOS? Nxivm is a business? There’s nothing businesslike about DOS.”

Agnifilo said DOS is a social group. It has nothing to do with commerce.

“Ask yourself, what’s the common purpose of Nxivm and DOS? he said.

Then he shifted to Daniela. He said there was no evidence that Keith was involved in aiding Daniela in illegally crossing the border other than Daniela saying Keith is involved.

He repeatedly called into question Daniela’s truthfulness, saying she is the one who crossed the border illegally.

“Even if you believed Daniela’s testimony,” he said, “there is nothing in the testimony that Keith is involved in a plan of a fake ID of another person. There are no emails or text messages. Nothing. Nothing written connected to Keith. Daniela is the only source of information for this.”

He said, “It does not matter if I say a witness is truthful or untruthful, it’s up to you, the jury, to decide.”

He then praised the jury, saying, “I’ve never had a jury that was on time every single day. You are an unusual jury. You’re on the jury to be critical thinkers. Daniella said she flew to Canada and she said her father paid her fare. Daniella says Kathy Russell gave her the fake ID card. Yet there is no record that Kathy Russell left the USA or came back to the USA [on customs records].

Dani’s privacy is being protected by the court during the trial and we are supporting this goal by using her first name only – as is the policy of the court.

“And why is there no record? Did Kathy Russell come across the border and come back?  Maybe US Customs didn’t enter her name coming in – but they did enter Dani – with her fake name? But why would it be both times that Kathy’s name is not entered? Kathy crosses the border twice, and there’s no record. That’s hard to believe, I submit,” Agnifilo said. “Maybe Kathy Russell didn’t go to Canada.

“Does that mean Daniela made her own fake ID card? Daniela made a fake ID for Camilla. Daniela made a fake national ID card for Camilla, so she could travel to Mexico. Did she make a fake ID for herself?

“Daniela can’t testify that Keith came up with the master plan. Daniela couldn’t remember if Kristin Keeffe was there. Yet Kristin played some role, rather than Keith, in trying to get Daniela back. Kristen was in Niagara Falls at the time.

“Daniela was so detailed on the crossing and that Kathy handed the fake ID to her.

“Dani has this level of detail about the crossing. But Daniela doesn’t remember if Kristin was with her on her trip back to Albany? She said she didn’t remember. I submit Daniela is keeping Kristin out of it.

“Daniela didn’t know that there were receipts showing Kristin was there, placing Kristin in the area. There’s no evidence that Keith was involved in getting Daniela over the border with a fake ID.”

He then added that Dani was good at deception. She was the one who asked about the weather to distract the customs official. She was the one who wanted to get into the country illegally. She was the one who did not consult with an immigration attorney available to her.  She committed the crime. Not Keith.

And she was the one who hacked into James Loperfido’s computer and helped hack into Edgar Bronfman’s computer.

“There is no reason to think Keith was involved in trying to get into Loperfido’s emails.  It’s not a Keith issue. They didn’t have any real connection. Loperfido only met with Keith twice. Loperfido was not on Keith’s radar screen.”

Agnifilo again tried to blame Kristin saying it was her issue and at her command that Dani hacked Loperfido.

[He tried, again and again, to make a bogeyman out of Kristin – the longtime victim of Raniere – who operated at his behest and had to flee the cult with her son and went into hiding to escape his vengeance.]

Agnifilo spoke of the keylogging of Mariana. Daniela sent Keith Mariana’s key log record by email. She did not do that with Loperfido.

“How does Daniela explain that she did not do the same for Loperfido as she did with Mariana? Daniela said she gave Keith the information on a thumb drive for Loperfido but there’s no email evidence. Nothing but Daniela’s word.”

Rick Alan Ross

As for Rick Ross, Agnifilo suggested [again] that it was Kristin Keeffe who had the obsession with Ross – not Keith.

As for Edgar Bronfman, he again tried to blame Kristin.

“I submit that this is Kristin’s and Daniela’s doing regarding the key loggers and that’s what the emails show.”

Then we get to the video that was altered by Mark Vicente. Agnifilo said there’s no proof that the video Vicente altered was ever turned over to Ross.  Vicente testified that he altered a video, true. But there is no proof that that was the video sent to Ross’s attorneys.

Returning to Mariana’s keylogging, which is identity theft, Agnifilo said the prosecution has to prove that there was no authorization. Mariana is in a close, loving relationship with Keith for many years.

“There is no indication of criminal intent. Keith wanted to get into her Facebook. There was an indication that Mariana tried to get into Keith’s Facebook.  She’s doing it; he’s doing it. There is no indication that Mariana objected.”

Mariana, her Facebook was hacked by Dani.

Next was document servitude.  He pointed out that keeping Daniela in the room is not a charged crime. And it was not for the purpose of forced labor.  He said there’s no evidence that Daniela was put in the room so she could work. The testimony was that it was punishment. In fact, Keith complained that there was work and she couldn’t do it.

He pointed out that Daniela has a family. “You can’t ignore that.”

He said, “Her father is a very successful businessman. He’s got a college scholarship. He’s a very capable man. He made sure that the kids got an education and played sports. There’s no evidence in the record that the dad got run over by Keith.  The dad was involved in this – from the emails. He had real frustration with Daniela.  He says Daniela stole money from him and hacked into his Facebook.

“I submit the dad is frustrated. I’m not picking on Daniella. There’s enough evidence that the father wanted her in the room because of Daniela’s conduct,” Agnifilo said.

“Daniela wrote down things that she did wrong. Part of it was that she stole from a number of stores such as Walmart.”

Agnifilo said, “She stole from stores and someone other than her knows it. Probably her father and the father expressed frustration for Dani stealing from him.

Agnifilo asked, “How is this all on Keith? I submit that the dad was frustrated because Daniela stole from those stores. In her testimony, Daniela said she didn’t know why she wrote in her notes that she stole from various stores. But why did she write it? Because it’s true.”

Regarding document servitude, he said that Daniela asked her father [not Keith] for her documents. He said that Kristin and her father drove her to Mexico. The accountant was waiting, so they weren’t leaving her to fend for herself.

“How did Dani get herself into this problem? She made an adult decision to come to the US illegally,” Agnifilo said.

He switched to her abortion, saying that Dani was the one who was not honest.

“In her visit to the clinic, where she got her abortion, Daniela said she’s visiting from Mexico. That’s not true. She’s slick. She knows how to play the game. She asked the immigration guy how’s the weather in the US?” Agnifilo said.  “She’s not totally honest.”

Pam Cafrtiz lived with Keith and Mariana in an intimate relationship.

He then turned to Pam Cafritz’s bank account and credit card.

He asked is there any evidence that Keith didn’t have the authorization to use these things?

“On Pam’s credit card, when she was alive, she paid for Keith and Mariana.  After Pam passes away, Keith does not do anything different than what Pam was doing when he and Mariana and Pam were living together.  Keith writes checks from Pam’s account. He signs his name. He doesn’t forge Pam’s name. The bank cleared the checks. He’s not stealing Pam’s identity.

“I submit this cuts to the heart of the government’s theory. Pam passed away. The Trust has Keith as a beneficiary. He’s not looting Pam’s estate. It’s his money,” Agnifilo said.

Next, we get to DOS.

Here Agnifilo tried to paint Keith as a man of principle. There is an audio tape where Keith talks about commitment, the power and potency of commitment. That is virtue builds character and personal power. He says without commitment, there’s no character and no potency. He is referring to the value of collateral to build commitment and character.

“We’re not talking about collateral as something to hold over someone’s head. We’re talking about collateral as giving one’s word additional weight. That’s all that is,” Agnifilo argued, “Listen to him talk about it, not what someone else says and not what someone else thought.”

As for DOS, and the freedom Keith offered the women in creating it, he said, one vignette sums up Keith’s role: “Nicki Clyne is coming up with something called the Game and wants advice. Keith says ‘you can use your own brain or you can rent mine.’”

Agnifilo pointed out that this trial features witnesses telling a lot of stories. Sometimes there is no witness just an email or chat.

“I submit there’s no uniformity,” he said.

He said the word “cult” is just a word. “Using that word is a dead end.”

He explained that Keith’s relationship with each women is abisutely unique. It’s a long term serious relationship. It’s a life commitment.

Lauren Salzman.

He said that he asked Lauren Salzman if her relationship with Keith had ended and Lauren said “for me it has.”

Lauren was asked about the arrest. He kept saying Lauren “spoke from the heart.”

“She went through that story for a reason. The long, detailed emotional answer about the police [at Raniere’s arrest in Mexico] with machine guns and black hoods, pointing guns at her. That was her way of saying, ‘I’m breaking up with you. Okay, we’re done. I’m breaking up.’ That was her really saying, ‘I’m breaking up with you.’

“She went through all that frustration and heartbreak. The reason it’s important is because it was a real relationship. She said Keith was ‘the most important person to me.’ The government says that’s because of undue influence. I’ll tell you what I think it is. This is the hardest part. The witnesses have tremendous changes in their perspective. They’re not feeling the same as they were feeling…..  When she says that Keith is the most important person, it’s because he made her life possible. Lauren was flying all over the world, Mexico, Vancouver, San Francisco. She thinks she is doing something to help humanity and getting paid. ‘I’m doing something to help humanity and I get paid for it.’ Keith makes it all possible. He made her life difficult, but he made it all possible. They don’t love him because he’s Vanguard. Even Edgar Bronfman took courses. These are smart people. Everybody tried to make a career….. They all believed Keith made it all possible.”

Agnifilo also spoke about Rainbow Cultural Gardens as being wonderful.

“Little kids, exposing them to other languages and cultures, making us citizens of the world.  It’s not us versus them, it’s just us. I think it’s a beautiful idea. They thought it was a beautiful idea.”

“Lauren says she was attracted to Keith and that she wanted a relationship with Keith even though she knew about other women.” Agnifilo said. He said he asked Lauren if she knew about the other women and she said “yeah, I know”.

“It was a choice. I think people are making choices. She was asked if Keith was ever abusive. She said that one time he tried to pull her pants down but that when she did not want it, Keith just stopped. There’s nothing in the record that Keith was abusive.”

Agnifilo spoke of Keith having a lifestyle that in some ways was inconceivable. He had a lot of women. He could have as many women as he wanted. But the women had to be with just him. They accepted it.  Keith had no shortage of intimate partners. He didn’t need DOS for intimate partners.

He did not create DOS because he wanted sex.  Rosa Laura did not have sex with him. Sarah didn’t have any relationship with Keith, none of Lauren slaves had any sexual relations with Keith.

He then spoke of Nicole, an actress, of how she spoke of how excited she was to go on an audition Allison set up. But Nicole did not tell Allison that she had an intimate relationship with Keith.

“Nicole never says it’s something she didn’t want. But Nicole had options. Nicole has a loving family. If she wants to leave DOS, she can leave. She has a relationship with Keith. She sent him nice notes. They went on walks. They talked about whether they want to go on a walk or whatever. She’s having a relationship with him.

“The end of their relationship is significant, in Clifton Park, she rents a car. Keith asks, ‘So am I ever going to see you again or speak to you again? Will you say bad things about me?'”

Agnifilo suggests Nicole was improved by DOS.  When Allison invited Nicole to join DOS, Nicole was battling serious depression, and suicidal feelings.

“Nicole never quite took to DOS. Ultimately she was let out and nothing happened. It ends. There were no hard edges. You saw the same thing with Lauren and Audrey. Audrey doesn’t want to stay. And Audrey says to Lauren, ‘I love you.’ And Lauren says, ‘I love you,’ back. Where’s the extortion? The extortion is theoretical. You have to have extortion in your heart. There’s no extortion; that’s just not in this. There’s no threats. No one says ‘I’ll release this collateral.’ That was never the point.  The point was all about commitment. If someone had been threatened with the release of the collateral, the government would have found that person and put them on stand….

“With Nicole, after she joined DOS, we never saw the same dark emails or journal entries suggesting  depression and suicide – which there were before she joined DOS. So maybe DOS worked for her…. It’s not for everybody. This is not for everybody.  But for Nicole maybe it worked.”

Next he spoke about forced labor. Agnifilo said that Jaye worked for Delegates and got paid. She was asked to do an assignment that meant sex with Keith and she left DOS.

“When she got the assignment, she said, ‘This is not for me.’ She writes Keith a nice card. She left. It was a choice. Nothing happened.

Agnifilo admitted that Keith’s conduct is “pretty out there. People getting branded, assigned to seduce him. That’s pretty out there. But that’s not a crime.  It may offend you or make you upset. I’m not talking to that. That’s not the issue. It is really, at the end of the day, about commercial sex? That it’s not commercial sex….”

Agnifilo will finish his closing arguments tomorrow. He says he has about 45 minutes left.

Mark J. Lesko to follow Agnifilo.

Following him will come Mark Lesko for the prosecution who will make the final statement for the prosecution, which is expected to last about one hour.

Following that, Judge Nicholas Garaufis [aided in part by his law clerks who will read a portion of it] will read to the jury their instructions. That is expected to last several hours.

If that is concluded before the end of the day, the jury will begin deliberations.

if not, they will begin on Wednesday.

If the jury does not reach a verdict by Friday, three of the jurors [who have vacations planned] will be dismissed and they will be replaced by three alternates and this newly constituted jury will start deliberations from scratch.

This suggests there will be heavy pressure on the jury to reach a verdict by Friday.

 

 

 

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  • The Frank Report is not true investigative journalism. It was born out of Frank’s negative legal experience with Nxivm, Raniere and Bronfman and one cannot hope to write in an unbiased mode that true investigative journalism would require.

    I realize I am speaking heresy but Agnifilo has presented some solid points: Nx is not a true “criminal enterprise” and neither has Rainiere done sex trafficking in the conventional sense. That said, what do I expect of the jury? Photos of a naked 15 year old girl and images of women branded are powerful images that stick in middle class jurors minds. I expect conviction but I am not sure it is justified. The 15 year old was a willing participant and is still a follower of Rainiere. Rainiere is a liar, a pornographer, a sex addict and likely a pedophile. However, I am not sure what he did with Cami qualifies to lock him up for life.

    • “one cannot hope to write in an unbiased mode that true investigative journalism would require.”

      All journalism is biased.

      One of the best investigative journalists of all time was a woman named Ida Tarbell who exposed the crimes of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil.
      Ida Tarbell was the daughter of a businessman who had been wiped out by Rockefeller.

      Ida Minerva Tarbell (November 5, 1857 – January 6, 1944) was an American writer, investigative journalist, biographer and lecturer. She was one of the leading muckrakers of the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and pioneered investigative journalism.[1] Born in Pennsylvania at the onset of the oil boom, Tarbell is best known for her 1904 book, The History of the Standard Oil Company.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_Tarbell

    • Heresy ? that’s a bit of a grandiose and ambitious way to frame your apology for raniere? His criminal enterprise and evil intentions have been exposed. His goose has been well cooked – and yesterday, Mr. Lesko – carved.

  • Just wanted to add this point, which Lesko should be making for the government…

    Agnifilo has argued that Keith used sex and slavery not for his own sexual enjoyment, but only to empower women and improve their own lives.

    Therefore, Lesko should counter that argument by saying this:

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, from a statistical standpoint, if Keith wasn’t using DOS for his own sexual enjoyment then we should see a greater variety of overweight and non-pretty women in the mix.

    Why don’t we see overweight, obese, aging or non-pretty women being recruited into DOS to have sex with Keith?

    Women who are overweight, obese or aging have just as many, if not more psychological issues to heal than thin and pretty women.

    Agnifilo’s argument just doesn’t mesh with basic statistics.

    If Keith was narrowing DOS to only thin and pretty women — and if he’s further encouraging them to starve themselves to get dangerously thinner — then he’s doing it solely for his own sexually perverted reasons.

    • Just a joke. 🙂

      The women on the jury are likely aging or overweight or non-pretty, thus they’d be irritated with such an argument.

  • Lesko will likely seal the deal for the government. He’s that good.

    He’ll use a point-by-point summation to destroy Agnifilo’s attempt to put lipstick on this pig of a case.

    I encourage everybody here to think about something…

    Let’s play devil’s advocate.

    What IF the jury actually buys into Agnifilo’s arguments?

    If so, then they’d actually be saying TO THE WORLD:

    1) Keith did nothing wrong.

    2) Keith is a victim here.

    3) It’s perfectly okay for Keith to go back to NXIVM and continue blackmailing women into being sex slaves in DOS, along with everything else.

    If the jury said that, perhaps they are in need of a mental health evaluation due to allowing themselves to be ‘brainwashed’ by Agnifilo.

    The only way they could reach that conclusion is IF they were brainwashed by Agnifilo’s argument that 2+2=79

  • How does Agnifilo sleep at night? Defending a monster. He cares not that Keith will go free and continue his awful behavior? It makes me sick. I hope the jury isn’t swayed.

  • I thought I read there were more than 50 people in DOS. And Agnifilo couldn’t find any that wanted to testify for the defense??? There were the few in Mexico that wouldn’t come in fear of being arrested and the few that testified for the prosecution….that still leaves quite a few out there. And none would stand up for Raniere. Hmmmm…that should tell the jury all they need to know!

    • “I thought I read there were more than 50 people in DOS. And Agnifilo couldn’t find any that wanted to testify for the defense???”

      Only three or four testified for the prosecution.

  • Marc Agnifilo knows that Tubby is going to prison. So does the jury, so does the judge. There is zero chance of him avoiding a custodial sentence.

    The only question is how long his sentence will be.

    I’m expecting 20+ years, minimum.

    Marc Agnifilo might as well have not been there, for all the good he’s done Tubby.

  • You’re right, Frank. That defense attorney is pretty good.

    I was ready to sign up for a 16-day intensive and then join DOS to be branded when he was finished.

    • You are so funny Anonymous!!! :-)) I’d be grateful if you could fax me a photocopy of your pubic brand once it’s done, please!

  • To summarize what I think this lawyer is arguing:

    1) Anti-racketeering law requires prosecutors to prove that MULTIPLE bad people were doing bad things.
    2) The government only attempted to prove that a SINGLE person (Vanguard) was doing bad things, therefore the prosecutors failed to prove that there was a racket.
    3) It was the fault of all the other bad people doing bad things.

    If I am a juror I’m going to conclude that this lawyer is a con artist who can’t keep his arguments straight, because they are all in conflict with each other. I might also conclude that Vanguard and this lawyer are cut from the same cloth and that perhaps both of them should be locked up together

    • To Anonymous:

      I also think that’s what Agnifilo is arguing (ie, there was only one “bad guy” aka KAR, so that’s not an “enterprise” under the RICO statute). But that makes zero sense. Throughout the trial, other “bad actors” (Salzman) have testified that they engaged in criminal acts at the direction of KAR. Likewise, even those who didn’t testify were shown to be co-conspirators. The obvious examples are Clare, Nancy, and Allison. (Which makes me wonder all over again why they weren’t forced to testify under their plea agreements).

      My concern is that I’m an attorney and Agnifilo has managed to confuse me with his arguments. I can imagine how confused a lay jury is right now.

      I’m so glad that Lesko will get the last word. He is going to have to get rid of all the legalese and make this simpler for the jury. Penza did an excellent job of going through each count and each element of the count to explain how and why KAR is guilty. But the Agnifilo threw a bunch of shit up against the wall in an attempt to confuse and conflate the issues.

      Penza and Lesko are EXCELLENT attorneys. I’m glad they had overnight to process Agnifilo’s nonsense arguments. I am hoping that they put up a demonstrative that has each count with a bullet point with the evidence that proves guilt. Then another bullet point that has has Agnifilo’s argument as to why that count isn’t supported. Then they can explain why Agnifilo’s defense is total bullshit and an attempt to confuse and conflate the issues.

      Honestly, I’m worried. Not because the prosecution didn’t do an excellent job proving their case. But because it is pretty darn confusing.

      Fingers crossed 🤞

      Ps. DIANNE AND FRANK, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, PLEASE REPORT AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN! (No pressure lol). On that note, is anyone tweeting from court so we have a “real time” sense of what is going on?

      As always, THANK YOU FRANK REPORT! 😘😘😘

  • Thank you so much for the excellent reporting. Thank god the prosecution will end the closing arguments today and the last thought that would stay in the jury’s minds would be that from Mark Lesko, Agnifilo can be so confusing. My deep hope was that Raniere would kill himself with his idiotic word salad, but that didn’t happen and it is unlikely it would happen today.

    In the case the veredict is not happening on friday, do you know if the substitute jurors are women or men, and, are they Muslims?

    • Why ask if they are Muslims?

      You might also ask if they are Mormons, since they might see nothing wrong with polygamy – and if part of the FLDS sect, even pedophilia.

      You could also ask if they are Italians – think The Godfather and The Sopranos, RICO as a family way of life and women putting up with their men having other women as just how things have always been.

      Same for Russians – Russian Mafia, you know….

      And what about fans of Ayn Rand, or people connected to the New York City based authoritarian cult with its open marriage inner circle that she lead, who might sympathize with Raniere’s philosophy and the way he carried it out?

      Where does it end?

      Presumably the court oversaw the picking of Americans who would make good jurors – and the exclusion of those who might not be fit, for whatever reasons.

      • There are already way too many men on this jury and on top of that, some of the jurors are Muslims. I don’t think they would care too much about women abuse since within that religion women are basically second class subservient citizens controlled by men, their husbands, brothers or fathers.

  • “If the jury does not reach a verdict by Friday, three of the jurors [who have vacations planned] will be dismissed and they will be replaced by three alternates and this newly constituted jury will start deliberations from scratch.”

    My prediction: The first jury will not be able to agree by Friday and tempers will rise. Next week, the three new jurors will come in, deliberations will start again, frustrating the nine original jurors and the new jurors will feel like they are being blamed. Ultimately, tensions will rise, opinions will harden, the jury will be declared hung on most counts, and only on some lesser charges will Keith be found guilty.

      • Strawman poll as soon as they begin to deliberate… unanimous guilty on all counts… a little time to chat to make it look good… and done. Everyone goes home happy (even Mark A since he’ll soon be making $ off the appeals) except for Keith. Keith throws a temper tantrum. Good-night, end of story.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

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

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