His day of reckoning approaches.
Keith Alan Raniere, known to his followers as the Vanguard, faces sentencing on October 27 for racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.
He faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life behind bars.
There was a virtual hearing today in the US. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis presided.
Thanks to the good offices of the Inner City Press, some of the judge’s comments are shared with readers:
Referring to the sentencing, which will be done live and not virtually:
Judge: We’ll have to use several courtrooms, including in the old courthouse. I’ll consult with the District Executive. Let’s meet October 27 at 10 am for sentencing.
Victims will have the choice of submitting written victim impact statements before the hearing or making in-person statements at the sentencing. It appears that, like Clare Bronfman, anyone who claims they are a victim will be able to make a statement regardless of whether they were alleged as victims during the actual trial of Raniere.
Judge: Any victims who wish to attend the proceeding and/or make an in-person statement could submit to the court one week before sentencing. It will be under seal, with copies to the defense. The victims should not be the subject of inquiries by the press
I am not sure what the judge can do to prevent the press from making inquiries other than keep their stories under seal. Frank Report could probably identify many of them but out of respect to their privacy will refrain from doing so.
I do think that due process and fairness should lean toward limiting victims to those who were so designated at trial where Raniere and his lawyers had a chance to rebut with evidence. However, I think that many alleged victims who did not figure in the trial or in the charges against Raniere will be likely be permitted to make a victim impact statement.
Judge: I’m trying to arrange as much confidentiality as I can in this proceeding. Now, as to sentencing submissions. Could the government file its by Aug 28? Then the defendant’s by Sept 17. I’ll set Oct 9 for individuals’ statement for the defendant. Next, victims.
So here we have the timeline:
The prosecution, which will almost certainly be arguing for a life sentence, will file on Aug 28, two days after his 60th birthday.
Raniere will have until Sept 17 to make his filing. He will argue for leniency and asked to be sentenced to the minimum, which is 15 years. The sex trafficking charge has a mandatory minimum of 15 years.
Curiously, Oct. 9 is the date set for filing for individuals who will make statements on behalf of Raniere. I assume that some of his followers are prepared to stand up for him, much like they continue to dance for him outside his prison.
He already has close to 2.5 years in custody, which will be applied as time served. If he got the minimum sentence of 15 years, with time served and good behavior he could get out in about 11 years or just prior to his 70th birthday.
The chances of his getting the minimum I believe are small. The question is whether he gets life or some predetermined sentence such as 20, 25, 30, or even 40 years.
Raniere does have a paternal family history of being long-lived. His father recently died at around age 90. Keith’s grandmother lived to age 104. On the other hand, his mother, Vera, died when she was in her late 40s, as I recall.
Whether a lengthy sentence translates to life or not is a question that some of us will live to see answered. Any way you look at it, Raniere will be in prison for a long time or until his death whichever comes first.
According to a source close to Raniere, he and his lawyers are expecting a life sentence.
Raniere’s lawyers, I presume because of COVID-19-related issues, have not been able to meet with their client in person for months. They evidently requested a personal [as opposed to a phone] meeting with him prior to sentencing.
They would like to meet him at the courthouse as opposed to meeting him at the Metropolitan Detention Center where he currently is in custody.
Judge [to Raniere’s attorneys]: If you are asking to meet your client in the courthouse, I would have to make a record as to why. First, you should reach out to the warden, to see if a meeting can be arranged in the MDC. And advise the Court via letter. You don’t have to list the date.
Finally, I think the mood or belief of Raniere’s attorneys is that the sentence is disproportionate to the crime. He did not murder anyone [at least it was not proven he did]. He did not rob banks, or commit assaults or violent rapes.
He ran a secret sorority where consenting adults agreed to do certain things – and then they retroactively withdrew consent making him a criminal without intent.
The biggest argument the prosecution made – and it was offered on Frank Report before anyone else made the argument – is that the coercive nature of the collateral – the blackmail material Raniere collected to ensure the cooperation and silence of the women – negated consent in the first place.
Knowing they had given Raniere or one of his First Line Masters blackmail material made it impossible for them to refuse to consent to whatever scheme he had in mind for any of the women.
On top of that, he deliberately defrauded them by instructing the First Line Masters to keep it a secret that Raniere, a man, was the head of the “all-female” DOS group.
He got blackmail material under false pretenses – and then used the material and the threat of its release as a means to coerce women into doing things that frightened and terrified them and to which they would not have consented otherwise.
This is the crux of what caught him – his genius idea of collateral and lying about being the head of DOS.
Now, he will pay the price with a harsh sentence and it will come down in October unless there is another delay.
Chances are the crazy dancers who have danced in front of the Metropolitan Detention Center for several weeks will also impact his sentence or at least where he is placed.
Things are looking glum for the Vanguard as he approaches his 60th birthday. Had he been free, this birthday would have been celebrated for 10 days at Silver Bay, on the shores of Lake George and hundreds of his followers would have paid more than $2,000 each to be there and offer him their accolades and tributes for his great benign influence on their lives.
The following docket entry was posted on PACER following today’s hearing:
Full docket text:
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis: Status Conference as to Keith Raniere held on 8/14/2020. Counsel for the Government and Defendant present. Defendant’s sentencing hearing will be held on October 27, 2020 at 10:00 am in Courtroom 4D South. The Government’s sentencing submission shall be filed by August 28, 2020. The Defendant’s sentencing submission shall be filed by September 18, 2020. Replies shall be filed by October 9, 2020. Defendant shall file under seal, and provide to the Government, any written statements in support he would like the court to consider by October 9, 2020. The Government shall file under seal, and provide to Defendant, any written victim statements it would like the court to consider by October 9, 2020. The Government shall file under seal, and provide to Defendant, a letter indicating any victims who plan on attending the sentencing in-person, and whether said victims intend to make in-person victim statements at the sentencing, by October 20, 2020. Defendant’s counsel is DIRECTED to advise the court by letter regarding the status of his attempts to schedule an in-person meeting with his client in the MDC. (Court Reporter Rivka Teich.) (Gurian, Nico)