Agnifilo Closes: Raniere Cared About, Elevated Women; He Was Seeking Love and Relationships

Marc Agnifilo

By Dianne Lipson

Keith was in his royal blue sweater with a white shirt underneath. This may be our last chance to see him prior to the announcement of the verdict.  The jury will begin deliberations tomorrow morning at 9 am.

Today began with Marc Agnifilo completing his closing arguments. I will paraphrase in order to give readers a general sense of what Raniere’s high-priced and extremely persuasive attorney had to say to the jury.

Agnifilo spoke perhaps two hours yesterday and he started off in the morning with gusto and spoke for more than an hour.

This morning, Agnifilo said the government witnesses all said they had friends and people they cared for in the community of Nxivm/DOS.

Agnifilo strongly disputed that DOS had any of the elements of commercial sex and that people did well – for instance, Sylvie was close to Clare Bronfman who took good care of her and even paid for her horse to come from the UK to Albany.

And Keith only had a single sexual episode with Sylvie – where he performed oral sex on her. And Agnifilo points out that Sylvie never had an orgasm before but she did have one through Keith’s oral sex.

But Agnifilo stressed it was only once — nothing else ever happened again, one incident of oral sex and nothing else.

Agnifilo said, “Here’s what I want you to think about. I suggest to you the ratio, the ratio of talking about sex and actual sex is 100,000 to one.”

“Keith is interested in what opens people up. How do you get people out of themselves? What is Keith pursuing? This thing that happens when people are attracted to each other? Attraction brings people out of themselves. Things change. You’re having an interaction that people who are not attracted to each other. I think Keith was not really looking for the actual act of sex. He’s looking for that special thing that happens when people relate in that way.”

Agnifilo explained that the many text chats and text messages with Keith were exhaustive. It was day and night, intense and unrelenting.

“It’s the connection. That’s what he’s chasing after. He was Sylvie’s Grand Master. He can have sex with her as much as he wants, but it’s only once, so it’s not about sex. There’s a feeling around sexual attraction that may have nothing to do with sex. You share yourself. … That’s what keeps us chasing after it; that’s what every piece of evidence points to. Commercial sex is in a different universe. Commercial sex clearly is not this.”

Agnifilo said that Keith’s close companions, Barbara Jeske died and Pam had cancer and was going to die.  But Keith loved to empower women. Agnifilo showed the chart with Keith in the center and mostly women around him that the government has used as an exhibit. This indicates women had important roles, he said. Nancy Salzman was president of Nxivm.

Sure Keith had sex with multiple people. Before DOS – which was created with the best of intentions – he had all the women he would ever need. True, in Allison Mack’s slave pod, sex was more common. That because Allison could feel free to experiment with Keith. Maybe this was a safe place where Allison could be sexual

But it was not across the board [the other slave pods did not have sex with Keith, he said].

Then along comes Mark Vicente. He is concerned about this thing called DOS – which he doesn’t know about or understand and it sounds bad. He’s concerned. He’s worried. He wrongly thinks there’s something nefarious going on. He contacts Catherine Oxenberg, which brings this to another level. Catherine Oxenberg is concerned that her daughter India is in DOS.

“I think a battle ensues. Whose side you’re going to be on? What often happens is both sides become entrenched. Vicente is convinced DOS is evil. It’s not a matter of opinion. This is evil to him. Everybody starts talking. Then Vicente calls Frank Parlato who seems to be involved in something legal with Nxivm.

“The reason this is all relevant is there’s no middle ground anymore. It’s black and white. A battle is going on. Nicole says she has a conversation with Frank Parlato.  She says Parlato wants her to go to law enforcement. He is pushing people to go to law enforcement. Yeah, there’s a tremendous change in perspective.

“DOS is about vulnerability and trust. If you play with trust, you’re playing with fire.”

Agnifilo then tells a story about a father – an analogy – who forces his child to study hard and the child hates it but ends up being a lawyer.  At the time, the child was angry at the father but then after the child becomes a lawyer, the child is pleased with the father. There’s a change in perspective.

Agnifilo then described a tender, loving Keith Raniere. A Raniere who could be hurt by women.

He spoke of the long-term, intense relationship with Cami.  He also points out that Cami stands up to him. She is no shrinking violet. She stands up for herself.

“Keith is not this wizard behind the curtain. When you see the evidence, you see the exact opposite. You see Keith locking himself in the bathroom [because he was hurt by Daniela]. He is racked with jealousy and is hurt [by Cami’s affair with another man.]

“Keith wants Cami to tell him about her affair in detail.  Keith is beside himself. That’s the exact opposite of a man manipulating women.

“And then there was that last, sad meeting with Nicole. Keith is not godlike. He asks Nicole ‘will I ever see you again? Will I ever speak to you again?’ Keith looks for relationships with people.”

Agnifilo also spoke about the hard drive where Cami’s pictures were found. He pointed out that the government did not charge Keith with making or possessing the photos [which were nudes taken of Cami when she was 15]. They charged that Keith made and possessed these photos as part of a [racketeering] enterprise.

“But there’s no evidence these photos were ever looked at. They were not shared anywhere. They were not shared or viewed. How do they play a role in a racketeering enterprise? You know, if they weren’t shared with anyone? There is no enterprise. In a pattern of racketeering, there has to be a common purpose with others. Regarding Cami’s photographs, nobody else knew about it. It’s an absolute secret. For a pattern of racketeering, there has to be a related interest with others. The photos have no common or related purpose.”

Then Agnifilo summed up. He called upon the highest virtues of courage and honor which he expected of this jury.

He said, “Ultimately, you, the jury, have to find that your proof of the charges is beyond a reasonable doubt. If you look at the elements and the evidence, you may say about a lot of the evidence, ‘Oh, you know what? Sorry, this is not proven.”

Agnifilo praised the jury. “You’ve all been here every day and on time. I want to say ‘thank you.’”

Then he admitted that Keith – vulnerable and loving though he may be, perhaps doing some things wrong, perhaps more than a few.

Agnifilo admitted, “There were so many things that Keith did wrong, in a sense. But if you go through the elements of the criminal charges, it’s not commercial sex.  And if that is the case, which it is, you must find the courage to find Keith not guilty. It will take courage to find him not guilty. You may wish you didn’t have to that, but that is your duty [to find him not guilty] based on the evidence.

“Yes, you might think a lot of things Keith did was distasteful. But these things are not part of the charges. Laws are passed by Congress. A disgusting lifestyle is not criminal. Disgusting behavior is not criminal. What’s criminal is specific acts passed by Congress.”

And in so many words [remember I paraphrased] Marc Agnifilo summed up his remarks.

Mark Lesko for the prosecution would be up next.

Stay tuned.

[Keep in mind that the jury begins deliberations tomorrow – and that the court will not be in session as they await the jury’s verdict.]

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  • God, the evening of the 18th, last night, seems like a million miles away right now.

    I went bed last night wondering if the jury had any whack jobs on it that would hold out and cause a hung jury.

  • Part II, What is Rainiere Guilty of?

    Coercion? Yes, Rainiere was coercive. He collected collateral. He said he did it help others but I don’t buy it because it as not an effective means of behavior change. Negative punishment / self imposed coercive strategies have not been shown to be an effective motivator of enforcing life long behavior change. Apparently, no collateral was released so what should we charge Raniere with: using ineffective, medieval strategies?

    Legal harassment and intimidation? Yes, he litigated unnecessarily and caused many people harm when he could have acted humbly, admitted his mistakes, made amends and moved on. Rainiere and Bronfman should pay people back for the harm they’ve caused them including Parlato, Ross and O’Hara and anyone else they’ve hurt. But, this is more of a civil matter than a criminal matter.

    What does it come down to? A bunch of people got upset about human branding which is not a crime and then the government looked into everything and decided Rainiere was operating immorally. He was having lots of sex, had an underage girl friend at one time, making lots of money, slipping some people across the border, not paying people fairly and litigating anyone who complained and caused him problems. That’s it.

    What should be done with Rainiere? Rainiere is an asshole. He’s a liar who doesn’t live up to what he preaches. What minister or religious leader does? He needs to be publicly shamed and pay those back whom he’s hurt. Does he deserve 15 years to life in prison? IMO, No! He’s just another jerk. He hasn’t committed murder, he hasn’t robbed banks or traded secrets to the Russians. He’s done nothing many of our present leaders haven’t done. He’s had affairs, lied about it, cheated people out of money. Sound like anyone you know?

  • What is Rainiere really guilty of?

    Lying? Yes, he is a liar. He was not transparent about his role in DOS nor did he tell Nx adherants he had a harem.

    Manipulation? Yes, he’s a manipulator. He manipulated everyone around him to doing his bidding, paying for courses that after the first course, just strung people along.

    Sexual Addiction? Yes, he’s a sex addict. He does not have control over his sexual behavior and that sexual behavior has had negative consequences for his life

    Narcissism? Yes, Rainiere is a narcissist. He requires everyone around him to serve and support him, especially women. No surprise he has a harem to take care of his incessant needs.

    Pornography? Well, he’s taken pictures of naked women but he has not shared them on the internet so it is questionable if he is really a pornographer

    Pedophila? Yes, he believes the age of consent for girls should be 12 in some cases. This is in keeping with traditional religion including early Christianity. I disagree with him and he should not have gone forth with having relationships with young girls because it can be very damaging for them. Was it damaging to Cami, the girl in question? Apparently not! And, this is the situation in question so I would not be prepared to convict Raniere on this if he were in relationship with her.

    Tax Evasion, illegally crossing a border, falsifying documents etc? Has anyone here ever sent a sweater or a book abroad to a friend but you called it documents? If so, you’ve broken Federal law. The point is the government is reaching on a bunch of charges so they can find a reason to put him away. This is simply a means of social control to insure everyone pays taxes to pay the salaries of those in power and running the government. I am no Anarchist and I believe everyone should pay taxes but putting people in jail for minor offenses like falsifying a document is criminal on the part of the government. What the government is saying to all it’s citizens is:We are big and powerful and you should be scared of us. Well, IMO, intimidation is not the role of government.

    Being easy to dislike? Yes, Rainiere is very easy to dislike. He’s an older guy with a lot of young, sexy girlfriends and gets as much sex as he wants. He also created a very successful business organization but does not live like a wealthy person. How does that make you feel? You and me are stuck with our wives and stuck working 9-5 doing some job we can’t wait to retire from. Aren’t you jealous of him? I am! Isn’t that the real crime? He has something we want: an unlimited stream of young, sexy women and the means to do what he wants every day.

  • A disgusting life is indeed criminal, especially when your minions sell you as the most ethical man in the world to get you to take courses while secretly manipulating you into a cult to be controlled by him. Then it becomes fraud.

  • “I put it to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that rapists are just trying to help. Rapists are the most caring people you could ever meet. They do what they do out of love. All they want is to help people grow beyond their limits – especially children, who have a lot of growing to do”

    Agnifilo is so bereft of something/anything to use in his defence of Raniere, that he has had to fall back on nonsensical headfuckery.

    His arguments will only make sense to demented people like Nickvi Clyne, who see Raniere as a god.

    The jury will return a verdict of guilty as charged.

    • Paul,
      In addition to your points, Agnifilo is actively and openly engaging in obstruction of justice, in a manner that is legalised. His behaviour, in fact the behaviour of attorneys in their vast majority contributes to how justice is dished out at large.

  • “True, in Allison Mack’s slave pod, sex was more common. That because Allison could feel free to experiment with Keith. Maybe this was a safe place where Allison could be sexual”…
    Sure, let’s ignore the fact that she was required to ask by a message Raniere was sending…
    Let’s forget about the fact that Allison never did have sexual intercourse with them outside when HE (Raniere) asked for it…
    Let also forget about Sylvie who wasn’t in Allison’s pod yet had sex with him…

    See, this is why Penza should have swallowed the pill and let Allison testify! She could have said the Truth about all this…
    Instead of that…

    As for having all the girls he wanted, why then did he try to get Nicole and Jaye? Agnifillo is aware that Nicole stated that it’s not Allison who asked her to have sex with Raniere but Raniere himself?

    “Keith is not this wizard behind the curtain. When you see the evidence, you see the exact opposite. You see Keith locking himself in the bathroom [because he was hurt by Daniela]. He is racked with jealousy and is hurt [by Cami’s affair with another man.]”
    I doubt Raniere is not thinking he is some kind of wizard (when you hear the high opinion he has about himself)…But to sane people, Agnifillo is right, he is just a pathetic loser!

    “Yes, you might think a lot of things Keith did was distasteful. But these things are not part of the charges. Laws are passed by Congress. A disgusting lifestyle is not criminal. Disgusting behavior is not criminal. What’s criminal is specific acts passed by Congress.”
    True but he also clearly did things that fit the charges (like threatening to release the collaterals) and some which were not listed in charges…

    • I hope the rebuttal to this nonsense included Keith’s exchanges with Camilla about finding him a fresh virgin.

      How does that exchange square with him being just a man who cares about women and wants to connect with them … a man who can have all the sex he wants?

      The truth is that he doesn’t want sex in the way that ordinary people think of it. He wants the ego gratification that comes with having a collection of willing SLAVES who are always at his disposal.

  • Off topic

    The following quote is by Heidi:

    “I hope someone who truly cares about the NXIVM victims is looking into the possibility that Barb’s best friend’s suicide just before she joined NXIVM may not have been coincidental to the fact that Nancy Salzman was Barb’s hypnotherapist for a decade prior to that event.”

    Does anyone know the back story to Heidi’s post?

    There are a boat load of suicides and suicide attempts in and around the NXIVM organization.

    I did not know about this particular individual’s suicide.

    That brings the unofficial NXIVM suicide count to 4.

    I am sure Agnifilo would claim Keith Raniere was only trying to help everyone explore their boundaries(sarcasm).

    • The “weeding out” process with ESP/Nxivm obviously had its flaws and culminated in having DOS recruit out. The way it grew, though, was that insidious process of finding the vulnerable with just the right touch of narcissistic traits. Bonus points for money. Certain players were not called as their motivation to sign people up for a pyramid scheme plus their need to feel superior would not have worked at all. I have to give props to Lauren. She allowed herself to be publically shamed–sort of to protect her mother?

  • “Keith was not really looking for the actual act of sex”

    Not that it helps Raniere:

    Sexual Assault Is About Power
    “Despite its name, sexual abuse is more about power than it is about sex. Although the touch may be sexual, the words seductive or intimidating, and the violation physical, when someone rapes, assaults, or harasses, the motivation stems from the perpetrator’s need for dominance and control. In heterosexual and same-sex encounters, sex is the tool used to gain power over another person”

  • well he did not explain what the hell was Laura Junco doing sending him her virgin daughter and teens from mexico to KR.
    I hope the Mexican women define his faith. he is very dangerous.

    Honestly so what if Alisson was into into kinky stuff
    so what if they branded adult consenting women

    What he was doing with Laura Junco is scary. Please stop him.

    • It is amazing how some of women are being brushed aside, right? Obviously they go for the low information people on a jury, which is a damn shame, and Agnifilo is flattering them in Raniere style. Truth is, I imagine, lots of people are just afraid. Edmondson’s video was released. I saw it on some link. And interesting that the Raniere support people have no pictures or names. How did anyone know they were supporting him? Were they wearing Free Vanguard t-shirts? Lol, this is some crazy town

  • delivered in one day. Watch and see. Not a soul on the jury will vote not guilty. No juror wants to be known as the one who let the sex cult leader get away. Raniere won’t have any trouble doing time, after all, what’s the difference between his serving a day or serving years – it’s all the same according to him. On the bright side, he can likely get a group together in prison to play his BDSM games sans his favorite toy puppy tail of course. BOP does not stock those in the commissary. Not to worry Keith, I’m sure ‘Bubba’ can improvise an alternative. Adios Vangone.

  • Allison Mack the demented fall guy(girl)…

    It seems to me Raniere was setting up Allison Mack even before the infamous branding story broke out.

    None of the other pods had sex with Raniere. Why?

    My theory is that Raniere went to such lengths to insulate himself from accusations of impropriety or prosecution.

    • What’s confusing is Lauren stated in court that no one in her pod was having sex with Raniere, but Raniere was having sexual relations with Cami and Nicki Clyne who were in Lauren’s pod.

      Am I missing something?

        • good idea!
          To answer your previous post: It is, he just tried to pin it on Allison (which is what Penza tried to do too…despite the proof showing that it’s Raniere who was behind everything (even Allison’s decision).

          And we don’t even know about other pods! who knows how many had sex with him.

      • Lauren meant that none of HER slaves were having sex with Raniere, she wasn’t referring to the first-line DOS slaves.

    • “None of the other pods had sex with Raniere. Why?”

      Allison as an actress who was running a bogus acting school was attracting younger and prettier women into her pod.
      Raniere was going for younger and prettier women.

      • And you are a moron who should really get a life…what is you point?

        Especially when it’s a fact that it is not true ! He was having sex with other pods’s members (Sylvie is one of them).

    • I think it’s still hard to tell just what was going on with Mack, and her role – which is unfortunate, not because she’s a subject of such controversy, but because hers could be an illustrative case.

      I agree that Raniere was always trying to insulate himself – though often rather ineffectively.

      Why would Raniere set anyone up before the branding story broke? As far as I can tell, until the rude awakening of Sarah Edmondson’s coming forth, he thought DOS was yet another thing he could get away with – even apparently imagining he could somehow scale it up massively, without it blowing up on him.

      Mack seems to have been picked for the special role of Raniere’s henchwoman and DOS’ slavemistress for some particular reason. But I still find it hard to tell whether it was because she was particularly malleable, or had similar predilections as Raniere – or some complex mix.

      • Even thou part of it is clear (Nicole descriptions of what was happening is showing how little Allison had to say (she was subject to the same rules as them and only gave assignments after receiving Raniere’s message) .
        What is sad is that there is potentially a good proof against Raniere that was put to the garbage .

        Why? because Raniere was conscious it was wrong and criminal (in certain aspects) …You want more proof of this? why did he ask to not tell the potential Dos member about him being the “supreme master”?

        She didn’t had a special role…she was doing the same as some of the victims (India, Michelle…)
        And she wasn’t malleable until he screwed up with her (Vicente, Lauren and other pre-dos confirm this)…
        She was undoubtly after (when you see the way she put herself at risk ,many time)
        But this is definately due to the treatment Raniere was putting the girl through…

        Had Nicole followed the diet, she would be the same! Look at India, she was the same as Allison and this is due to the fact that they couldn’t not think straight (Something not true pre diet)

        I wish a specialist of the subject could give more credit to what i say … i know it’s a fact based on biological needs but someone with a better knowledge of the subject could explain more clearly the “why”

      • —even apparently imagining he could somehow scale it up massively, without it blowing up on him

        He’s a sociopath. He has no little to no sense of empathy, and so he was intellectually and emotionally unconstrained by a sense of human decency as his ego became even more inflated for getting away with a lot for many years.

        Ironically, “his success” led to his own downfall.

    • That is a fact (and a common thing for Raniere, the main reason why nothing was in his name…Always prepare for the fall and, therefore, find a scapegoat)

      For the other pods, it’s not true, several other slaves (not from Allison’s pod) got through the same kind of things as Allison’s slaves)
      Agnifillo just hopes the jury will not think about that.

      And your theory is probably correct. like I pointed in the first sentence, he did that with EVERYTHING…so that if things go wrong, someone else gets the fall.
      Let’s hope the jury understand this.

  • The people of the jury just want to go back to their lives and get the fuck out of court. Guilty verdict by 3 PM.

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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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083