By Joe O’Hara
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the criminal computer trespass charges that were lodged against John Tighe, Barbara Bouchey, Toni Natalie and myself by Holly A. Trexler, who was appointed as an Albany County Special District Attorney as part of what appears to be a multi-faceted conspiracy to silence some of NXIVM’s harshest critics.
Others who were apparently part of that conspiracy include Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares; Assistant Albany County District Attorney David Rossi; New York State Police Senior Investigator Rodger Kirsopp; NXIVM leaders Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman; and three members of the O’Connell & Aronowitz law firm: Steve Coffey, Mike McDermott and Pam Nichols.
A few days ago, I came across some documents related to the case. And for the first time, I realized just how close NXIVM came to achieving its goal.
It All Began With a Lie
As Frank Report readers may recall, John, Toni and I were accused of accessing NXIVM’s password-protected web site by using the username and password of Mary Jane Pino, a former member of NXIVM.
Several months after the NYS Police had raided our homes and seized our computers, Barbara Bouchey allegedly accessed the same website by using the username and password of Svetlana Kotlin, another former member of NXIVM.
Neither John nor I ever denied that we used Mary Jane’s credentials.
That’s because we were both told by Toni that Mary Jane had given permission for Toni to use Mary Jane’s username and password to access NXIVM’s website – and to share that information with others who wished to do so.
Toni made the same claim to several other people who were not charged – and Mary Jane’s credentials were apparently used by dozens of people to access NXIVM’s website.
When my earlier post appeared, Mary Jane immediately made the following comment flatly accusing Toni of lying: She said, “They did NOT have permission to use a password. NO ONE did. John Tighe had the integrity to finally admit it. And that is all I’m going to say on the subject”.
Shortly thereafter, the Frank Report was provided with a copy of a sworn affidavit that Mary Jane had signed on January 30, 2012.
In that affidavit, she stated: “I have never provided my login information to anyone or authorized or permitted anyone to log into the NXIVM internet site through the use of my login information”.
Clearly, Toni’s claims and Mary Jane’s claims cannot both be true. One of them has to be lying.
So, who do we believe?
Why Would Mary Jane Pino Lie?
I have never met Mary Jane Pino. Nor have I ever spoken to her. Which means that I have no personal knowledge of her whatsoever.
So, all I can do is analyze the relevant facts surrounding this matter – and try to draw a reasonable conclusion from them.
Here are what I understand to be the relevant facts:
– Mary Jane dropped out of NXIVM in August 2003 – more than seven years before any of the alleged illegal accessing supposedly took place
– Mary Jane was not one of the named NXIVM members who sued me back in 2005.
– If Mary Jane’s sworn affidavit contained any falsehoods, she would have been subject to a criminal charge of perjury.
Based on those facts, it doesn’t appear to me that Mary Jane had any personal animosity towards me – and that she had good reason to be sure that the statements in her affidavit were true.
So, unless she was bribed or intimidated, I can’t think of any reason why she would provide false testimony against me and the others.
Why Would Toni Lie?
As I mentioned in previous posts, I used to trust Toni implicitly.
But based on more recent events, I no longer do.
Still, the question remains: Why would Toni make up the story about getting permission to use Mary Jane’s credentials – and then share those credentials with others?
Well, as it turns out, Toni may have needed to cover her tracks as regards the accessing of NXIVM’s website.
Although I always assumed that we were all facing the same charges, it turns out that was not the case.
Barbara was charged with one count of accessing the “Calendar” and the “Coach Tree” on the NXIVM website on January 8, 2014.
I was charged with two counts of accessing the “Magnificence Report” – and the “Calendar” – on the NXIVM website on March 16, 2011.
Toni, however, was charged with four counts of:
– Accessing the “Calendar” on the NXIVM website on August 23, 2010;
– Accessing the “Magnificence Report” on the NXIVM website on October 6, 2010;
– Accessing the “Because” testimonial video on the NXIVM website on January 5, 2011; and
– Accessing the “Calendar” and several other sections on the NXIVM website on March 15, 2011.
Notice anything funny about those dates?
Yep – Toni was allegedly accessing the NXIVM website more than six months before anyone else did.
So, what better way to cover your tracks than to bring in all sorts of other people to access the same website?
And how would you do that?
Well, maybe by telling them that Mary Jane Pino was willing to let others use her credentials to access the NXIVM website.
NXIVM came very close to silencing some of its biggest critics via the criminal computer trespass charges that Holly Trexler was willing to prosecute as part of a multi-faceted conspiracy.
Even though, as it turned out, there was no jurisdictional basis for those charges, John pleaded guilty to one count of criminal computer trespass as part of a broader plea deal arrangement involving other charges.
And a great deal of other damage was also done because Toni took it upon herself to provide numerous people with Mary Jane Pino’s username and password – and tell them that Mary Jane had given her permission for them to use it:
John’s Saratoga In Decline blog was shut down. That’s right – the most vocal, critical and relentless blogger – the guy who was being contacted by many of Keith Raniere’s victims – was shut down. His blog ceased to exist. He never wrote about Keith Raniere or NXIVM again.
The NYS Police confiscated all my NXIVM records – and only returned them to me when they were ordered to do so by a court more than a year after the criminal charges were dropped in 2016.
Since I was never given an inventory of what they took, I have no idea what records I did not get back. Nor do I know if they made copies of some/all of my records – and gave them to NXIVM or NXIVM’s legal representatives.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were expended by the defendants in the related civil lawsuit that the O’Connell & Aronowitz law firm launched on behalf of NXIVM just one-day after the NYS Police staged its early morning raids and seized computers from John, Toni and me (John never got any of his computers back).
Because he was named in that civil lawsuit, James Odato, the intrepid reporter who wrote numerous investigative pieces about NXIVM – including an award-winning series – went on administrative leave with the Albany Times Union. He never returned – and never wrote another word about NXIVM.
Suzanna Andrews, a featured writer for Vanity Fair magazine who had written a story about the Bronfman sisters, was also named in the civil lawsuit. Although she wasn’t fired, she was subsequently given different assignments – and another strong anti-NXIVM voice was lost.
For more than two years – from the time that our computers were seized back in October 2013 until Frank started the Frank Report in late November 2015 – those who wanted to expose the NXIVM crime machine had no voice.
Not surprisingly, it was during that time period that NXIVM began to undertake some of its most heinous crimes – including the creation of DOS and the branding of women.
Toni’s decision to share Mary Jane Pino’s credentials almost allowed NXIVM to win.
Had NXIVM and the Bronfman sisters not decided to try and destroy Frank Parlato – which is what led him to start the Frank Report – that’s how the story likely would have ended. NXIVM would have won and its critics silenced.
A Chance for Toni to Answer Questions
On October 1st, the Albany Times Union will be holding a panel discussion “to discuss the inner workings of the cult-like NXIVM organization and its fallen leader, Keith Raniere, who faces up to life in prison after being convicted of federal racketeering and conspiracy charges in June”.
Interestingly enough, the two featured speakers will be Rick Ross and Toni Natalie.
The October 1st forum will provide a great opportunity for attendees to ask Toni all sorts of questions.
One of Toni’s attorneys previously advised me that “Toni will address everything you have been publicly saying about her, but she will not dignify these incredibly offensive posts with a response on the blog. She will do so in her own way, in her own time, in her chosen forum or forums”.
October 1st will be a great forum for Toni to answer all sorts of questions.
Let’s hope she’s willing to do so because I’m sure there will be people there to ask some very interesting ones.
The bottom line is that Toni told people who were fighting NXIVM and exposing NXIVM – the people who were waging the fight against Keith Raniere and seeking to expose him – that a legally authorized user of the website [Pino] had given permission for them to use her credentials to access NXIVM’s website.
Toni was trusted by virtually everyone at that time.
But, in reality, she had secretly been using Mary Jane’s credentials all by herself for several months – and had allegedly downloaded several files including a list of NXIVM coaches and NXIVM students. Then suddenly, months after she first started using the credentials [which Mary Jane claims she did not give her], she decided to share those credentials with a number of others. Almost as if she wanted cover – so that she wouldn’t be the only one who had gone onto the NXIVM website.
I don’t know anyone who would have used Mary Jane’s credentials if they knew that she had not given permission for them to do so.
The results were almost fatal to the efforts to expose and stop NXIVM.