This time we might have a date.
Keith Alan Raniere is now set to be sentenced on April 16.
While the judge did not make this a date certain, as he did with Clare Bronfman [April 23], unless there is a hearing required to dispute the Pre-Sentencing Report, which requires the judge to consider some weighty issue and hence delay proceedings, it looks fairly certain that the Vanguard will hear his fate at 10 AM, Thursday, April 16.
Here is the judge’s order:
ORDER as to Keith Raniere: Mr. Raniere and the Government shall file their respective objections, if any, to the pre-sentence report by no later than March 11, 2020. Any responses to such objections shall be filed by no later than March 25, 2020. In the event that an evidentiary hearing is required to resolve any factual disputes related the parties’ objections, that hearing will take place on April 13, 2020 at 10:00 am in courtroom 4D South. Mr. Raniere’s sentencing hearing will take place on April 16, 2020 at 10:00 am in courtroom 4D South.
We have a firm pre-sentencing schedule and, while I would not advise people who plan to attend, who are coming from afar, to go out and buy airplane tickets or book hotels, the sentencing date looks reasonably likely. I’d give it 70 percent.
The fact, however, that an evidentiary hearing might take place on April 13, the Monday before the Thursday sentencing – which might mean a delay in sentencing.
Raniere will almost certainly object to something or everything in the Pre-Sentencing Report. He will likely demand a hearing. That hearing will take place on Monday, April 13.
What remains to be seen is whether the judge will rule on it in time for the Thursday sentencing. He probably can and will, and that ruling will likely go against Raniere.
In Raniere’s case, however, a delay in sentencing is insignificant. He’s not going anywhere. Not for years to come. The time he spends waiting in MDC goes toward time served.
This is not the same as for the now very Jewish Clare Bronfman, who is subject to home detention in her Manhattan luxury apartment. None of the time she waits for sentencing – almost a year now – goes towards time served. She has been given a date certain – April 23.
What this means then is that the Pre-Sentencing reports for both the monster and his minion have been completed and the process is that the defendants may object, the prosecution may rebut, and the probation officer who wrote the report has to consider the input from both sides and amend the report where appropriate.
If there remains a dispute, the judge can have a hearing and determine matters for the record.
It does not matter much. This is background noise. The judge is going to sentence these two to what he feels is right for them, for society and for himself.
He has to consider himself for this is a high-profile case. He won’t want the sentence overturned on appeal – which can happen if his sentence is too long. And the judge won’t want to be criticized by the public if his sentence seems too short.
This will probably incline the judge to sentence higher than minimum – possibly within sentencing guidelines ranges – but not too much higher. I don’t think he will sentence the maximum sentences permitted by law.
In Raniere’s case, the lad qualifies for a life sentence. Many think he deserves it. On the other hand, he was not convicted of murder.
Raniere is 59. Why bother to give him a life sentence which might be successfully appealed when you can sentence him to a virtual life sentence? Give him 30 years; that will satisfy the public.
If you look at the seven felonies he was convicted of, none of them is so serious as to warrant a life sentence. Forget that he is a dirty scoundrel with a feverish sex addiction and a mad desire to hurt women and debase them as slaves – and forget that he committed countless other crimes that he was not charged with. Raniere was convicted of:
- racketeering conspiracy
- forced labor conspiracy
- wire fraud conspiracy
- sex trafficking conspiracy
- sex trafficking
- attempted sex trafficking
He is facing a minimum of 15 years for sex trafficking. But he was convicted of sex trafficking only one woman, one time [Nicole]. And once he tried to sex traffic a woman [i.e. have sex with her] and was refused [Jaye].
His one sex trafficking offense concerns the time when he took a seemingly willing woman [Nicole] to a house blindfolded and had one of his girlfriends eat her out.
The rest of the charges come with latitude given to the judge, from zero to as much as 20 years per offense. He can impose sentences for each offense to run concurrently or consecutively. In theory, Raniere could get more than 100 years.
Still, as his attorneys might possibly argue, if you look at the charges, he ran a scam, made some seemingly willing women do some crazy things, [the forced labor charges were that otherwise intelligent, educated women had to get coffee or go shopping for their slave masters] and he had nude pictures of a 15-year-old girl [not a prepubescent girl] who wound up staying with him and still is loyal to him, pictures that he took a dozen years ago.
Sure, it’s horrible. But it is not murder, sabotage, treason, or any other crime normally associated with life sentences. At least that’s what Raniere’s attorneys might argue.
Still, there is almost zero chance he will get the minimum. Besides, Raniere has done nothing to ingratiate himself with the judge and most likely the probation officer who has written his Pre-Sentencing Report.
My prediction is 30 years. If he gets 30, with time served, plus 15 percent off for good behavior, Raniere could get out in 24 years –  when he is 83 years old.
Which leads us to two final considerations:
How many people will come to speak at Raniere’s sentencing? Will he have any supporters? Or just victims and alleged victims?
And perhaps every bit as intriguing, will Raniere take responsibility and ask for leniency in a speech before the judge?
Taking responsibility means he will admit wrongdoing, tell the judge he is sorry, and sadder but wiser, and ask to be given a lighter sentence for he now knows he has done wrong.
If he does that, it will hardly look good on appeal, and I doubt Raniere, craven though he is, would think it wise to admit to wrongdoing. He would know that it won’t likely do him any good anyway. The judge has already made up his mind.
If he has any support left among followers, if he cares about his legacy, he can’t admit he is guilty. If he is still suffering from delusions of grandeur that he is the greatest, smartest man in the world, if he still thinks that one day he will get out and resume his life as Vanguard, destroying other’s happiness as his greatest happiness, he will not admit to anything.
At best, he might come forward and say, “I was truly trying to help people. To make them stronger. My teachings were unusual, but many people benefited. I am sorry that some women misunderstood.”
It won’t work.
He is going to get a lengthier sentence than the minimum of 15 years. He will go to a maximum-security prison, maybe even a super-max.
Unless there is a second wave of indictments, which would cause the authorities to keep him where he is, he will shuffle off to some hell hole where life where he currently resides, that medieval place of torture, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, will seem as much superior to where he will go in the future, as his old life as the Vanguard will seem superior to his life at MDC.
While the MDC is designed by the Bureau of Prisons to torture the innocent [most detainees are awaiting trial and are, therefore, innocent until proven guilty] and, of course, to make them less fit to defend themselves at trial, maximum-security prisons – which is where Raniere will be assigned – are places of endless torture not only by design of the Bureau of Prisons but also from fellow inmates who will seek to make him a slave for fun, sadistic sex and for profit.
For Raniere, in the future, there will be ‘no event but sorrow,’ and time will be ‘measured by throbs of pain.’
And, consequently, he will be an endless loser, for, as he taught his followers, he who has the most joy, wins.