Keith Raniere always wanted people to believe that he was special.
Which is why he made up so many bullshit claims about himself.
Back in 1988, those claims included the following:
He was East Coast Judo Champion at age 12.
He tied the New York State record for the 100-yard dash.
He is an avid skier, swimmer, and windsurfer.
He plays seven musical instruments – including concert-level piano.
He sings high tenor in musical productions.
He rides a unicycle and likes to juggle – although not necessarily at the same time.
Oops…I almost forgot the big one: He’s the world’s smartest man.
Now, it appears, that the manner in which the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York prosecuted – and convicted –Raniere is becoming the model the Feds are using to go after other sexual predators.
In the old days, Raniere would have filed a patent application for the technique – just like he did for so many other things he invented.
Epstein’s Case Appears to Have Been Modeled on Raniere’s Case
When the Feds finally decided to bring charges against Jeffrey Epstein – albeit more than a decade too late to save many of his victims – they constructed an indictment that looked a lot like the original indictment in Raniere’s case.
The specific charges against Epstein were Sex Trafficking Conspiracy and Sex Trafficking
The original charges against Raniere were Sex Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Conspiracy, and Forced Labor (Raniere was convicted of Sex Trafficking – a crime that carries a minimum sentence of 15 years).
And just as they did in the Raniere case, the Feds sought to seize the property in which Epstein allegedly committed some of his illegal acts.
For Raniere, it was his sex lair at 8 Hale Drive in Clifton Park, NY – which probably was worth somewhere around $120,000 before the hot tub that was located on the second floor relocated itself to the first floor.
In Epstein’s case, it was his mansion located at 9 East 71st Street – which is estimated to be worth $77 million.
Had Epstein lived to go to trial, it is quite possible that the Feds would have added a RICO charge to his case.
If so, that charge would have likely been focused on the sources of his heretofore unexplained wealth.
R. Kelly’s Case Also Has Hallmarks of Raniere’s Case
R&B singer, songwriter and record producer R. Kelly is the latest defendant to be involved in a case that has some of the hallmarks of Raniere’s prosecution.
But the case against the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer is a little more complicated because it involves both state charges and federal charges.
For the past two decades, Kelly has been the subject of numerous allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct – many of which involved underage girls.
In June 2002, he was indicted on multiple counts of possessing child pornography. But in 2008, he was acquitted on all those charges.
In July 2017, Kelly was accused by the parents of three young women of holding their daughters in an “abusive cult”. Kelly and the alleged victims denied the allegations – and no charges were ever filed against him with respect to these accusations.
Illinois State Charges
On February 22, 2019, Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse by the State of Illinois.
On May 30, 2019, Kelly was charged with 11 additional felony counts: 5 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse; 4 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault; and 2 counts of criminal sexual assault.
The Illinois charges allege, among other things, that during the period from 1998 to 2010, Kelly abused four women, three of whom were minors at the time of the alleged abuse.
Kelly pleaded not guilty to all of the Illinois charges – and, after spending two nights in jail, he was released on $1 million bond.
On July 12, 2019, Kelly was indicted by federal prosecutors in Chicago and New York City in an 18-count indictment that includes allegations of child sexual exploitation, child pornography production, kidnapping, racketeering, and obstruction of justice.
The 13 federal counts brought in Chicago accuse him, among other things, of filming himself having sex with underage girls – and of paying off witnesses in his 2008 trial to get them to change their testimony.
The 5 federal counts in New York accuse him of running a racketeering enterprise that arranged for girls to have sex with him – and that required them, among other things, to avoid looking at other men, to only eat when he gave them permission to do so, and to call him “Daddy”.
Kelly pleaded not guilty to all 18 federal charges but was denied bail on Augst 2, 2019 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione.
Kelly is currently being held in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, IL (He was held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY before and after his recent bail hearing in the EDNY).
From the Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator service:
ROBERT SYLVESTER KELLY
Register Number: 09627-035
Located at: Chicago MCC
Release Date: UNKNOWN
Minnesota State Charges
On August 5, 2019, Kelly was charged with soliciting a minor and prostitution.
Although he has not yet been arraigned on these charges, it is expected that he will also plead not guilty to them.
Kelly Facing a Lengthy Prison Sentence
The charges that Kelly is currently facing carry a combined maximum prison sentence of more than 500 years.
Even if he is able to cut a reasonable plea deal, most courtroom observers think it’s highly unlikely that his sentence will be less than 20-years.
If, instead, Kelly goes to trial and loses, it is believed that his sentence will more likely be in the 30-40 year range.
Given his current age of 52, Kelly has a slightly better chance than Raniere of getting out of prison alive – both because he’s younger and because, unlike Raniere, he’ll fight back when he’s he’s accosted by other inmates.
Kelly Cases Are Worth Monitoring
It will be interesting to see how all of Kelly’s cases unfold – and whether he eventually decides to take a plea deal or go to trial.
Unfortunately for him, his ability to plea bargain will be fairly limited.
That’s because, just like Raniere, there’s no one higher up the food chain for him to flip on.
So, his only hope is that the federal prosecutors will be willing to take a guilty plea in order to remove any possibility of him being acquitted – and to avoid the necessity of having his victims testify against him.
We may not have Jeffrey Epstein to kick around anymore.
But now, we’ve got R. Kelly…