As more and more announcements come out about events and meetings that are being altered, canceled, delayed or postponed because of concerns over the coronavirus, it seems reasonable to ponder whether the scheduled sentencing dates for Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman and Kathy Russell could be delayed yet again.
Thus far – and this is a fast-evolving list that is changing by the
day, hour, minute – here are some of the things that have been disaffected by the virus:
The National Basketball Association has suspended its season until further notice.
The XFL has suspended its season.
The National Hockey League has suspended its season.
Major League Soccer has suspended its season for at least 30 days.
Major League Baseball has canceled the rest of spring training – and will delay the start of the 2020 season for at least two weeks.
Broadway shows have temporarily closed.
Disney World in California will close on Saturday – and remain closed until at least the end of March.
Several courthouses – including the EDNY courthouse – have canceled all non-courtroom activities.
So, would it really surprise anyone if the scheduled sentencing dates for Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman end up getting postponed because of the coronavirus?
Currently Scheduled Sentencing Dates – and Potential Sentences
At present, we only have scheduled sentencing dates for Raniere and Bronfman.
Raniere is scheduled to go first – at 10:00 AM on April 16th.
Based on the crimes for which he was found guilty, Raniere will be going away for at least 15-years.
But many courtroom observers – and even his own attorney, Marc Agnifilo – think that Raniere will most likely end up with a life sentence.
Regardless of what his sentence is, Raniere will undoubtedly be filing an appeal (That can only be done after he’s actually sentenced).
In the meantime, his lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo, has filed a motion for a new trial based on what he claims was perjured testimony from several of the witnesses who testified against Raniere at his trial.
Unless Judge Garaufis grants that request – which is just about as likely as Raniere admitting that he’s a total fraud – Raniere will learn his fate on April 16th.
That is, of course, unless the EDNY courthouse is shut down before then because of the coronavirus.
Next up will be Clare-Bear – who is scheduled to learn her fate at 10:00 AM on April 23rd.
She was originally going to be sentenced on July 25, 2018 but that got pushed back by Judge Garaufis to January 8, 2020. Then, after he read her Pre-Sentencing Report, he informed her that he was thinking of putting her behind bars for more than the originally recommended 21-27 months – and re-set her sentencing date to February 14, 2020.
When her attorneys requested more time to file objections to the contents of the Pre-Sentencing Report, Judge Garaufis set April 8th as her sentencing date.
But that got pushed back to April 23rd because April 8th will be the first day of Passover – and this may Clare’s last chance to light the candles for a few years.
So, Clare will (finally!) learn how long she’ll be imprisoned on April 23rd – unless, of course, the coronavirus shuts down all courtroom activities in the EDNY before then.
Sentencing Dates Up in the Air for the Other Defendants
At this point, none of the other defendants in the case has a “date certain” sentencing date.
Let’s take a look at each of them – and how we got to this weird place where none of them knows when they’ll be sentenced even though they all pleaded guilty alomst a year ago.
Kathy Russell was originally going to be sentenced on July 31, 2019.
But that date was canceled by Judge Garaufis on July 1, 2019.
Eventually, he set January 29, 2020 as her sentencing date.
Then, because of the delay concerning the production of her Pre-Sentencing Report, her attorneys requested a new sentencing date of April 21, 2020.
Although Judge Garaufis granted their request for a delay, he did not set a new sentencing date.
Which is probably a good thing because just today, Russell’s attorneys asked to have until March 27th to file their objections to the recommendations set forth in her Pre-Sentencing Report (They did not receive that document until February 29th).
Judge Garaufis has not yet ruled on that request – but it is expected that he will approve it.
So, when will Russell actually get sentenced?
Only Judge Garaufis knows – and he ain’t telling.
Nancy Salzman was the first of the six NXIVM defendants to grab a set on the Plea Deal Bus – and the first to have a sentencing date set (Although Raniere missed the bus, the other four co-defendants all managed to get seats).
Her original sentencing date of July 10, 2019 was postponed indefinitely by Judge Garaufis on July 1, 2019.
And no new date for her sentencing has ever been set.
The speculation is that she is helping federal prosecutors put together new charges against Raniere and Bronfman – and several other high-ranking members of the cult – and that she won’t be sentenced until those new prosecutions are completed.
But that’s just speculation.
When it comes to Nancy Salzman, we really have no idea when she’ll be sentenced.
Lauren Salzman was the second defendant to grab a seat on the Plea Deal bus – and even though she has pleaded guilty to two felonies that carry a maximum sentence of 20 years each – she may end up with a better seat than her Mom.
That’s because she was the prosecution’s star witness during Raniere’s trial.
Originally, she was going to be sentenced on September 11, 2019 but that date got postponed by Judge Garaufis back on July 1, 2019.
No new sentencing date has been set for Lauren – and, just like her Mom, the speculation is that she’s helping federal prosecutors put together new charges against Raniere, Bronfman and several other high-ranking members of the cult.
And so, just like her Mom, we really have no idea when Lauren will be sentenced.
Allison Mack got on the Plea Deal Bus right after Lauren – and just like her, she was originally scheduled to be sentenced on September 11, 2019.
And just like Lauren, that original sentencing date got postponed indefinitely by Judge Garaufis back on July 1, 2019.
No new sentencing date has been set for Allison – and, just like Nancy and Lauren Salzman, the speculation is that she’s helping federal prosecutors put together new charges against Raniere, Bronfman and several other high-ranking members of the cult.
And just like N ancy and Lauren, we really have no idea when Allison will get sentenced.
What’s It All Mean?
It’s hard to figure out what all the sentencing delays mean.
Some of them may have been related to delays in the feds producing the requisite Pre-Sentencing Reports.
Others may be related to cooperation regarding new charges that are being prepared against Raniere, Bronfman and other high-ranking members of the cult.
Only one thing is for certain right now…this is not the time to book a hotel room in conjunction with your plans to attend any of these sentencings.
PS/Wash your hand at least 10 times per day –and stop touching your face! C’mon people, let’s be careful out there!