A few weeks ago, we reported that Federal Prisoner 57005-177 FKA Keith Alan Raniere had somehow injured his wrist while he was awaiting sentencing in the criminal case in which he was convicted of seven federal felonies.
Later, in a separate post, we noted that he was recently hanging out with several Skinheads at his current home-away-from-home, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Now comes word that these two events may actually be linked.
Down Goes Vanguard
As it turns out, that wrist injury came about when The Vanguard slipped on the floor in his cell while he was stretching and practicing karate in the middle of the night.
At least that’s the story he told to the Correctional Officers who found him writhing in pain on the floor of his cell – which was reportedly covered in several inches of water.
The water appears to have come from the combination sink/toilet unit in his cell – which, according to Raniere, had somehow become stopped up without him noticing it.
So – stay with me here – according to Raniere, he got up in the middle of the night to do his work-out, slipped on the water on the floor of his cell (which he didn’t notice was there), and fell and severely hurt his wrist.
Sure… That’s as believable as some of Toni Natalie’s tales in her new book (used copies of which are already available on eBay) “The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of NXIVM”.
What’s not funny is Raniere’s explanation to the COs as to why he has to exercise in the middle of the night.
According to reports, he explained that he has to do that in order to avoid getting blood clots.
And the reason he might get blood clots is apparently related to some new medication he’s now taking.
In addition to potentially causing blood clots, the new medication has two other negative side effects: (1) it causes extremely bad breath; and (2) it causes what are often referred to as “chipmunk cheeks” (I’m not making this up!).
As it turns out, there are lots of medications that can cause “chipmunk cheeks”.
So, we can only speculate as to what particular medication is causing these problems for The Vanguard.
But given his hard-to-believe explanation for his badly bruised wrist, we can now be fairly certain that his new Skinhead buddies were brought in to prevent any more damage to him before he heads off to whatever prison will have the joy of housing The Vanguard for the next 25-35 years.
The Appeal Is on Hold Until Sentencing
One of the things that is really frustrating
Alvin – I mean Keith – is that his lawyers cannot file any sort of appeal until he is actually sentenced.
His sentencing is currently set for 11:00 AM on Friday, January 17th.
But the delay has not caused any drop in his confidence or enthusiasm about the likely outcome of his appeal.
He’s continuing to tell anyone who will listen that the odds of his conviction getting thrown out – and him getting a new trial – are 100%.
And he claims that it was all because of the numerous errors that U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis made before, during, and after the trial that will force the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction and order a new trial.
The Appellate Process
The appellate process for criminal convictions is both complex and lengthy.
Virtually every step is controlled by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure – which set forth such things as the issues that can be raised, the length of filings, the applicable filing deadlines, etc.
The timetable begins on the day the sentence is imposed.
For Raniere, that will be on January 17, 2020.
Once the sentence has been imposed, Raniere’s attorneys will have 10-days to file a “Notice of Appeal”.
Thereafter, they will have an additional 20-days – or a total of 30-days from the sentencing date – to file the actual appeal (This is a hard-and-fast deadline – and even a 1-day delay will, barring some very unusual circumstances, result in the denial of the appeal).
The appeal itself is limited to 20 pages – which, given that Raniere wrote approximately 987 pages of Post-It Notes during his trial, will likely make it difficult for him to raise all the points he’ll want to raise to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
After the appeal is filed, it will be reviewed by specially trained law clerks who will then prepare an outline of it for the appellate judges.
Meanwhile, once the appeal is filed, the government will have 30-days to prepare its response to the issues raised in the appeal.
And although Raniere’s attorneys will have to make all their arguments fit within that 20-page limit, the government will have 35-pages to set forth its response.
Once the government’s response has been filed, the case will be put on the court’s calendar. Depending on how many cases are on the court’s docket at that time, this will usually be at least 4-5 months after the appeal was originally filed.
The appellate court is not required to hear oral arguments but it will sometimes do so if there are significant issues of law raised by either side in their filings. Even then, these “oral arguments” are mostly used by the judges to ask specific questions of each side rather than for the attorneys to make presentations to the court.
Once the judges have read the filings – and, if applicable, conducted oral arguments – they will take the case under advisement.
Unfortunately for Raniere, there is no timetable by which an appellate court has to reach a decision – and lengthy delays are more the norm than the exception.
All in all, most attorneys tell their clients that they should expect the appellate process to take 18-24 months from the time the appeal is filed.
That means that Raniere may not find out how his appeal turns out until sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.
Who Will Represent Raniere for His Appeal?
Since we’re still not certain how Judge Garaufis will rule on the question of whether Teny Geragos’ now withdrawn job application to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York created a conflict-of-interest for her and her law firm, we cannot be certain which lawyers will be representing The Vanguard on his appeal.
As previously reported, he’s been meeting with several new attorneys: two groups from New York City and another group from Chicago.
But regardless of who it is, the odds of them winning a new trial for Raniere are slightly below his 100% prediction.
According to the most recent study of appellate cases, the reversal rate in the U.S. Court of Appeals is a paltry 3.78%.
Considerably better than buying a lottery ticket but well under The Vanguard’s declared odds of 100%.
Meanwhile, Frank Report will continue to investigate the details of 57005-177’s fall and the painful injury to his wrist.
After all, he is still the one and only Vanguard we’ll ever know.