Here we are with just a little more than 100 hours to go to Keith Raniere’s sentencing date – and we still have new issues popping up. Let’s take a look at some of them – and see what, if any, impact they might have on Raniere’s sentencing, which is currently scheduled for 10:00 AM on Tuesday, October 27th.
Motion for a New Trial
First and foremost is the “Motion for a New Trial” that was filed earlier this week by Marc Agnifilo. That motion is entirely based on the assertion that Raniere’s defense was completely undercut by the fact that two potential witnesses – Michele Hatchette and Nicole Clyne – who claim that they were intimidated by the prosecution into not testifying on behalf of Raniere.
The prosecution’s response to that motion is due by 5:00 PM today (We’ll be reporting separately on it later today). Once he receives it, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis will have to make two decisions.
First, he’ll have to decide whether to grant Agnifilo’s request for oral arguments by both sides. Given the tight timeframes involved, about the only day he could hold such a hearing would be on Monday, October 26th.
Second, he’ll have to decide – with or without any oral arguments – whether to grant the motion.
Based on discussions with several attorneys who have been following this case since Raniere was arrested back in March 2018, there seems little chance that the motion will be granted.
Some of those attorneys believe that the motion is wholly without merit because there is no assertion – and, similarly, no proof – that Agnifilo ever asked Hatchette or Clyne to testify.
Normally in such circumstances, the attorney filing the motion would have included her/his own affidavit – or affidavits from her/his co-counsel – delineating the circumstances and facts that resulted in a potential witness refusing to testify on behalf of the defendant. But no such affidavits were included with the motion.
Other attorneys have argued that the motion is untimely because it should have been filed immediately after the trial in which Raniere was found guilty on all the charges he was facing – which was back in June 2019 (Those charges included Racketeering, Racketeering Conspiracy, Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Forced Labor Conspiracy, Wire Fraud Conspiracy, Sex Trafficking Conspiracy, and Attempted Sex Trafficking). In this regard, the only explanation that Agnifilo offered for the delay is that the two witnesses “were not willing to testify at the trial, nor were they willing to come forward and provide the accounts contained in the attached affidavits” because of the “Government’s threats, coercion and intimidation.”
Proposed Order of Forfeiture
Another new issue that just popped up yesterday is the government’s request that Judge Garaufis issue an “Order of Forfeiture” in conjunction with the sentencing of Raniere.
According to the government’s filings, “Raniere is liable for a forfeiture money judgment representing ‘any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds which [Raniere] obtained , directly or indirectly, from racketeering activity…”.
Per that same filing, the government indicates that it is currently reviewing “bank records of an account held by First Principles Incorporated to determine the amount of deposits that represented Raniere’s royalties and fees paid by NXIVM affiliates…”.
The government concludes by indicating it will complete its review – and calculate the amount of the money judgment to be imposed on Raniere – no later than November 10, 2020.
This latest filing raises several interesting questions. Here are some of them…
(1) How much money went into the First Principles bank account?
According to sources, First Principles collected a 10% royalty on every dollar that was generated by any NXIVM-related entity.
If as Clare Bronfman’s attorneys asserted, NXIVM was a very profitable company that generated millions of dollars of annual revenues, then a good deal of money should have flowed into the First Principles bank account.
Thus, for example, if all 17,000 people who took NXIVM courses paid $1,000 each for those courses – which is likely a very understated figure – NXIVM would have earned $17,000,000 from those trainings and paid $1.7 million to First Principles.
(2) Did the government find all the First Principle bank accounts?
Raniere had a penchant for creating several entities with the same name in several different locations. Thus, for example, there were separate corporate entities named NXIVM, Inc. in Delaware, Nevada, New York State, and Puerto Rico.
Did he do the same with respect to First Principles Incorporated? If so, has the government found all the bank accounts into which money was transferred from the various NXIVM-related entities on behalf of Keith?
(3)What about the $8 million that Raniere supposedly inherited from Pam Cafritz?
For some reason, the government did not include any reference to the money that Raniere supposedly inherited from Pam Cafritz in its latest filing.
While that seems odd, it may, in fact, collaborate a rumor that we heard about several months ago but have not been able to verify.
According to that rumor, the IRS has already laid claim to all of those inherited funds for income taxes that Raniere failed to pay ever since his original business, Consumers Buyline, was shut down.
Why else would the government fail to include such an easy-to-grab pot of money in its latest filing?
The Government Is Clearly Playing Hardball
One thing that has gotten very clear in the last few weeks is that the government has decided to play hardball with Keith Raniere.
They’ve asked that he sentenced to life in prison – which some would consider excessive in terms of the actual crimes of which he was convicted (A life sentence might well be in order for all the crimes he committed but was never charged with).
They’ve asked that he be stripped of every dollar he earned from the NXIVM criminal enterprise.
They’ve allegedly frozen all the funds that he inherited from Pam Cafritz.
They’ve made it impossible for Clare Bronfman to put any money into his commissary account.
You almost get the impression that they don’t like the Vanguard.
Viva Executive Success!