Hard to believe that almost a month has passed since The Vanguard was found guilty on all charges by a jury that spent less time deliberating his fate than he spent playing volleyball each week.
But that, in fact, is the case.
Guess time really does fly when you’re having fun…
The Uncalled Witnesses
Far be it for me to challenge success – and the strategy and tactics that were utilized by Moira Kim Penza and the rest of her prosecutorial team obviously produced a successful outcome.
Short of having the jury haul Raniere out into the park across from the EDNY courthouse and stone him to death, the prosecution pretty much got the perfect result in this case.
Hell, even Raniere’s lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo, pretty much acknowledged that his slug of a client got what he deserved (That still does not excuse Steve Coffey’s amateurish and boorish tirade about Agnifilo but it appears that Steve and his colleagues at O’Connell & Aronowitz have a few other things to worry about right now in terms of the ongoing investigation into Raniere and NXIVM).
But it is interesting to look at some of the potential witnesses that the prosecution might have called – and to try and figure out why they chose not to do so.
Rather than try to prioritize them, let’s just take them in alphabetical order.
Barbara J. Bouchey
This one is actually pretty easy. Despite the fact that she could provide some really damning information in terms of how Raniere’s pissed away her life savings on his “can’t miss” commodities trading algorithm – and how he lost more than $90 million of the Bronfman sisters’ money on other stupid ventures – Barbara would have likely wanted to talk about what was “good” about the NXIVM tech. She would have been a disaster on cross-examination – with or without Keith’s inevitable Post-It Note questions.
According to recent reports, Clare is still 100% loyal to Raniere – and would likely have perjured herself rather than say anything negative about the only man in the world who reportedly ever fucked her. She’s already perjured herself in several other court proceedings – and probably would have been willing to pony up a couple more million in fines to do it again on behalf of “her man”. Also, there’s a very good chance that Clare is going to be facing additional criminal charges in the not-too-distant future.
Although she was obviously willing to pull her pants down – and expose her KAR brand on page 1 of the New York Times – Sarah may not have been a good witness for the prosecution. At a minimum, she would have been asked on cross-examination about her reported $30,000/month income at the Vancouver Center – and why she stayed in the NXIVM cult for so many years.
While Allison would have made a great witness if she were willing to tell the truth about Raniere’s involvement in DOS, she would have also been a major distraction at the trial. In addition to the fact that she was once a B-level Hollywood actress, she also would have had to deal with the fact that she once claimed that the “branding” was her idea.
Joe would have been an interesting witness because he’s the guy who helped set up NXIVM’s original political contacts – as well as their network of attorneys who would be willing to do anything as long as their fees were high enough (e.g., Richard Mays, Peter Lynch, etc.). But he’s a convicted felon – which automatically means he would have no credibility regardless of how much information he could provide about the NXIVM/ESP cult and its operations.
Although Toni desperately wanted to be a witness, the prosecution was very wary of calling her to the witness stand. In part, that’s because Toni has apparently forgotten about her involvement in the early stages of NXIVM/ESP – and, in part, it’s because there are still a lot of unanswered questions about her involvement in a variety of illegal activities before, during, and after the time she was part of Raniere’s harem.
Frank would have made a superb witness – especially in terms of detailing Raniere’s total control over the Bronfman sisters. But Frank still has a baseless federal indictment hanging over his head – which is probably why he was never called to the witness stand.
Although she was the first of the co-defendants to plead guilty, Nancy apparently did not enter into any type of “cooperation agreement” with the feds. Thus, she was not compelled to testify like her daughter, Lauren – which meant that she may have just invoked her 5th Amendment rights had she been called to testify at Raniere’s trial.
So, there you have it…
A lot of interesting potential witnesses who were never called to testify by the prosecution in Raniere’s case.
But, not to worry.
The feds are not done with Raniere and those who enabled him to be a scourge on the landscape of Upstate New York for so many years.
These – and lots of others – might get a chance to testify in a future trial.
Viva Executive Success!