Nxivm leader Keith Raniere has made an audio recording from the Metropolitan Detention Center [MDC] which his followers shared with me. In the recording, he says he wants my help as he tries to have his conviction overturned just days before his sentencing.
Raniere is facing up to life in prison after he was convicted last June on seven felonies, including sex trafficking, forced labor and racketeering. He’s due to be sentenced on October 27th.
Raniere and some of his followers – “Make Justice Blind” [The “Nxivm-5,”] – say they have evidence of serious “misconduct” by prosecutors that may warrant a new trial. They claim there has been witness intimidation, tampering of evidence, and suborning perjury – and that prosecutors lied to the court.
I have agreed to look at the evidence.
I Am Not Condoning Raniere by Agreeing to Examine Evidence
I take very seriously any claim of prosecutorial misconduct, even in the case of my longtime nemesis, Keith Raniere, of whom some say I was responsible for bringing to justice.
I am not saying Raniere is innocent. I have accused him of being guilty. All I have agreed to do is review evidence his supporters claim they have of prosecutorial misconduct. I will publish the results of my findings.
If I find evidence of misconduct, I will publish it and if there is no evidence I will publish that also. That does not mean I condone Raniere or his actions. However, in a nation where prosecutorial misconduct has reached epidemic proportions, I think it is important to be concerned with due process even for those defendants who society abhors – and insist on due process even for our enemies.
I would fight for due process for even the devil himself.
Keith Raniere Recording
The audio Keith Raniere made from prison:
Transcript of Raniere’s message:
Oh good, you know, to think it’s, it’s something that was brought to my attention a little while ago, you know, and I pondered it, and it’s interesting that Frank Parlato might wanna form an unified effort with respect to this injustice of my case.
And, you know, in some of the past podcasts, I’ve mentioned, you know, what would be best is someone who is absolutely oppositional to me coming forth and going with this, and I thought, maybe some of the opposition, or one of the opposition or person who is maybe a witness who realized that what the prosecution did was wrongful.
And I think Frank is probably the quintessential person to do this, because in so many ways we are different, in so many ways it is the opposite, so there would be no personal interest in his, if you will, creating a justice scenario where I would be off the case, so to speak, that the charges would be dropped, because he thinks I’m bad, he thinks I’m evil but this is wrong. So, a sort of a disclaimer and, you know, and I think it’d be bilateral, I’m sure he would say the same thing.
You know, he’s not condoning his view of me, the things I did, or whatever he thinks I did. I don’t condone the things, his methods, either. But that’s not what’s at issue, there’s something greater at issue. Which is an oppression that faces all of us, and an oppression that is invisible.
You know it’s interesting. Frank Parlato may be one of the few people right now in this country that has free speech. You know? He answers to no one. He has no editor to control him, he has no owner to control him, he has no political forces that say “No, this newspaper should print this narrative, and not that narrative”. So, though I may not agree with the way he uses free speech, free speech is something that is dear to our country, and maybe the last vestiges of it, or the first vestiges of it in a long time are coming up through these internet type of sites and, you know, social media and things like that.
So, if this offer is indeed so. If he is willing to go and explore the justice of this – my rights – above and beyond his opinion of me, in some ways that also changes, in a positive sense, my respect for him.
In that dimension, that’s something that is honorable, that’s something that takes guts, and that’s something that is very important in this world. So, I uphold that, and I am honored, if this is indeed what is going on.
I think it’s important that two people that are opposites, literally diametrically opposed in their opinions about each other, would unite in a greater cause which is justice. In this case, you know, the injustice that faces me. If sentencing, for example, happens, that not only says that the court condones all of this stuff, and the court may be involved.
You know, Frank, if he has free speech, would be free to go and examine the agents, examine the prosecutor, examine the judge. And the judge’s efficiency. Not so much my belief, it wouldn’t be so much personally, it would be their actions. Not so ad hominem.
So, that would be a wonderful way to go forward, and it could change the course of the this. I’m a believer of that – you know that the sentencing could be put off because of this, within a matter of weeks, because there’s an exposure of the prosecution and their wrongdoing. Every prosecutor in the United States would be affected in a positive way. We would bring forth public accountability through media, and that’s what needs to happen. So that’s all I have to say on that.
[End of transcript of Raniere]
Who Are His Supporters?
The Nxivm-5 is Eduardo Asunsolo, Marc Elliot, Suneel Chakravorty, Michele Hatchette and Nicki Clyne. They also call themselves Make Justice Blind, We Are As You, and The Forgotten Ones.
The Nxivm-5 have been leading a dance protest on Friday nights in front of the MDC where Raniere is held awaiting sentencing.
More recently, they presented an affidavit to prosecutors asking them to swear they did not commit prosecutorial misconduct in Raniere’s case. To date, prosecutors have declined to sign the affidavit, nor are they required to sign an affidavit presented by the public or the defendant.
The Nxivm-5 also plan a podcast that features the voice of Raniere meant to demonstrate his innocence and how prosecutors committed misconduct as well as a challenge with a series of $35,000 prizes for writers who can make legal arguments that might lead to overturning Raniere’s conviction. Attorneys will judge the winners of the prizes.
How Raniere Came to Contact Me
What started this exchange was Elliot posting a YouTube video asking journalists to examine evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in Raniere’s case.
Elliot said in part: “We live in a country in which prosecutors can commit crimes to convict people…And in this case, the prosecution against Keith Raniere and Nxivm did just that. They lied to the court. They threatened potential witnesses. They allowed perjury…Now, look, you don’t have to take my word for this. We have the evidence and the videos to prove this.
I Reply to Elliot
Shortly afterward, Elliot contacted me and shared Keith’s recording. I interviewed Elliot and other members of the group and received a package of purported evidence concerning prosecutorial misconduct.
I am reviewing that material.
More to Follow
I have conducted a Zoom interview with Asunsolo, Chakravorty and Elliot – and will be publishing this. I will also publish the results of my examination of documents and videos regarding the alleged evidence of prosecutorial misconduct presented to me by the Nxivm-5.
It is important to note that if prosecutorial misconduct occurred, it does not mean Raniere is innocent. Prosecutorial misconduct may have occurred and a defendant may still be guilty. It may be true that there was no prosecutorial misconduct, or there was some, but not sufficient to warrant a new trial.
If there is sufficiently egregious misconduct, then the result could be a new trial. But Keith will not merely walk free. At best, he will be tried again. The point of a new trial is that the prosecution must abide by rules of due process even when prosecuting the most hateful or villainous defendant. Even someone everyone is already sure he is guilty is still entitled to due process.
My interest is as a journalist.
I am not trying to exonerate Keith.
Or show disrespect to victims, many of whom have suffered immensely.
I want him absolutely to have gotten a fair trial. If someone says he did not, I am concerned, especially because I had a role in his going to trial in the first place.
I am not saying that he did not get a fair trial. I have not looked at the evidence.
No one should be upset by my agreeing to look. If prosecutors did not cheat, it will be easy enough to prove. If they did, they should be called to account even if the defendant is the most hated man in the world.
Even Keith Raniere is entitled to due process, the same rights you and I insist on having. I think I am in a reasonable position to examine this evidence and to make this claim since it was Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman who falsely accused me back in 2011 and started my long fight with him and her. They tried to do to me what has happened to them – put me in prison.
I have been fighting for my life ever since – because of Raniere and Bronfman. So, if anybody has the right to insist that Raniere got a fair trial, I have that right.