On February 24th, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault – and one count of rape in the third degree – at his trial in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
He is going to be sentenced on Wednesday, March 11th – just a little more than 2 weeks after his conviction.
Meanwhile, all six of the NXIVM gangsters who were defendants in the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al case are still awaiting sentencing even though they pleaded guilty – or, in the case of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere, got convicted at trial – many months ago.
So, why does it take so much longer for sentencing to take place in the federal system than it does in the New York State system?
Just How Long Has It Been?
Let’s take a look at just how long the NXIVM defendants have been waiting to be sentenced.
On March 13, 2019, Nancy appeared in open court before U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis and pleaded guilty to one count of Racketeering Conspiracy – a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.
During the course of her allocution, Nancy sobbed as she apologized for bringing her daughter, Lauren, into the NXIVM cult – and admitted that she herself had committed criminal acts.
“I want you to know I am pleading guilty because I am, in fact, guilty,” she testified. “I accept that some of the things I did were not just wrong, but sometimes criminal…I still believe that some of what we did was good,” she added.
It has been 364 days since Nancy pleaded guilty.
On March 25, 2019, Lauren slipped into federal court – and pleaded guilty in a closed hearing to one count each of Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy. Lauren’s plea was done “under seal” in an apparent attempt to keep her remaining co-defendants from learning about the details.
Although each of the counts to which Lauren pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, she is expected to get a much lighter sentence. That’s because she was the “star witness” for the prosecution during Raniere’s trial.
It has been 352 days since Lauren pleaded guilty.
On April 8, 2019, Allison Mack appeared in open court before Judge Garaufis – and pleaded guilty to one count each of Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy.
Allison also pleaded guilty to two of the predicate acts related to the Racketeering charge: State Law Extortion – and Forced Labor.
During the course of her allocution, Allison said that she “…joined NXIVM to find purpose…I truly believed I found a group of individuals who believed as I did.” She also said “I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people. I was wrong.”
Allison was not called as a prosecution witness at Raniere’s trial – and was, in fact, maligned by several of the witnesses who did testify.
Each of the counts to which Allison pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. She will not, however, face any additional time for the predicate acts to which she also pleaded guilty.
It has been 338 days since Allison pleaded guilty.
On April 19, 2019, Clare Bronfman appeared in open court before Judge Garaufis – and pleaded guilty to two minor felonies: one count of Concealing and Harboring Illegal Aliens for Financial Gain – and one count of Fraudulent Use of Another’s Identification.
Clare also agreed to forfeit $6 million in cash in lieu of having any of her properties seized for restitution.
During the course of her allocution, Clare said “I am truly remorseful. I endeavored to do good in the world and help people — however, I have made mistakes.”
It has been 327 days since Clare pleaded guilty.
On April 19, 2019, Kathy Russell appeared in open court before Judge Garaufis – and pleaded guilty to one count of Visa Fraud concerning a letter that contained false information that she had written on behalf of Loretta Garza, the head of Raniere’s child-rearing experiment known as the Rainbow Cultural Garden.
During the course of her allocution, Kathy said “I know what I did was wrong. I’m very sorry for the trouble I have caused. I have compromised my own principles, and I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
It has been 327 days since Kathy pleaded guilty.
Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein Is Having a Rough Time at Riker’s Island
As noted in an earlier post, Weinstein was transferred to the Rikers Island prison complex on March 5th. Prior to that, he had been confined at Bellevue Hospital because of chest pains and high blood pressure (He had a stent installed in his heart on March 4th).
Since arriving at Rikers Island, Weinstein has encountered several problems.
As soon as he arrived, prison officials took away the walker that he had been using because of back problems (Such devices are considered to be a potential “weapon” in most prisons).
To replace the walker, Weinstein was given a wheelchair – which apparently worked out OK except for all the places throughout the complex that are not accessible by wheelchair.
On the morning of March 8th, Weinstein sustained lacerations and an apparent concussion when he fell while trying to walk on his own.
Weinstein’s Lawyers Say He Will Die in Prison if He Has to Serve More Than 5 Years
Per New York State’s sentencing guidelines, Weinstein will be facing a minimum of 5 years – and a maximum of 29 years – when he is sentenced tomorrow.
On Monday, March 9th, his attorneys submitted a filing to the court in which they indicated that any sentence that is more than 5 years will be a “de facto death sentence”.
They also warned that “The grave reality is that Mr. Weinstein may not even outlive that term,” in their letter to New York Supreme Court Justice James Burke – and asked the judge to take into consideration how Weinstein’s life had been “destroyed” and how he “lost everything” since the explosive 2017 New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow accusing him of sexual assault (I am not making this up – they actually wrote that drivel).
My guess is that Weinstein will probably be receive a sentence of 20-25 years.
There’s Something Wrong With the Federal Sentencing Process
Thus far, the only explanation that’s been given for the delays in the sentencing of the NXIVM defendants is that it took extra time to complete some of their “Pre-Sentencing Reports”.
While that may be true, it’s hard to believe that any of those PSRs are any more complicated than Weinstein’s PSR.
So, why the hell is Weinstein getting sentenced within 15 days of his conviction – and some of the NXIVM criminals still don’t have sentencing dates?
The only one who hasn’t been harmed by the delayed sentencing is Raniere because every day he spends at MDC will count towards his eventual sentence.
The same is not true for the other defendants – all of whom have all been on some sort of home confinement since they were originally arraigned back in 2018.
I don’t have one ounce of sympathy for any of the NXIVM defendants – especially Clare Bronfman who just happens to have the most restrictive home confinement conditions – but this is another case where even though I’m OK with the “outcome” because of the specific people being mistreated I’m not OK with the “process” as it pertains to others.
Being on home confinement for almost 2-years – and not getting any credit for it – is just unfair.
Even if it’s happening to Clare Bronfman.