In an attempt to review and understand the role of Keith Alan Raniere in the world of his followers and society in general – and to try to determine if he does indeed deserve a sentence of life in prison – Frank Report is publishing statements of his victims and supporters.
One of his supporters, Damon Brink, is married to a woman who is one of Raniere’s victims, Sally Brink. She spoke in court as a victim at Clare Bronfman’s sentencing hearing – and reportedly filed a victim impact statement in the Raniere case.
Damon, on the other hand, has not flinched in telling the public about his support of Raniere even though it is unpopular to do so.
As prose, Brink writes a pretty good letter. However, he is so sure of Raniere’s righteousness that he assumes a tone of moral superiority with the judge whom he is trying to persuade to treat Raniere leniently in his sentencing.
Besides seeking to show the judge that Raniere’s good works prove he is not a monster, Brink seeks to show the judge the error of his ways, declaring that the judge failed to understand and impose justice at the trial.
The example Brink uses is the judge’s stopping the cross-examination of Lauren Salzman, then scolding Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, in front of the jury. He may have a due process point, but this unusual strategy of telling a lifetime-appointed federal judge that he failed to administer justice while simultaneously seeking leniency for a defendant was not likely to be persuasive. This argument is better made as an issue on appeal.
As readers know, the judge sentenced Raniere to 120 years in prison.
Here is Brink’s letter to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis
Dear Judge Garaufis,
My name is Damon Brink. I’m from Jericho, Vermont. I’m a coach, director of a local community center, DJ and entrepreneur. I have a family, a son and a wife and I’m concerned for their safety because of the unhinged, abusive and vengeful nature of those determined to destroy Keith Raniere and everything and everyone he represents.
My reason for writing is to bring light to the injustice and corruption of this case. The story of Keith Raniere and ESP is and has been propagandized and corrupted to such an extent that it has and continues to cause great harm not only to Keith and his co-defendants but to thousands of people who have associated or continue to associate with ESP.
I came to NXIVM in 2010, well, really in 2009 after experiencing a profound perspective shift in my partner. We had a fight and her reaction to me changed the course of my life. Instead of her normal reactions she met my fear and anger with love and compassion. I wanted to find out more so I went to Albany to take an intensive of my own.
In 2010 after having taken a full 16 day intensive and getting to know some of the people in ESP, my wife found out she was pregnant and with a child coming I decided to move my family to Albany, NY to be close to the ESP community. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
While in the ESP community I was a leader and had close ties with leadership, including Keith. Today I have love for most of the people on all sides of this terrible case. I know them. I know the defendants, I know the accusers. I’ve spent countless hours with all of them and often in the most compassionate and touching human connection I’ve ever experienced. This is what we did in ESP.
The stories that are being told are opinions and perspectives that have been blown up by a voracious media and used as fuel for a zealous and politically motivated attack. There is not enough room to detail the litany of dishonorable, unjust, destructive and quite possibly illegal activities perpetrated by those with tremendous power, power that dwarfs that of any Upstate NY “Guru”.
People who care about Justice will be examining everything about this case forever. Every decision, every slander, every abuse of power, every government coercive tactic, every corrupt association. Every mal intended action will be identified and brought to light and the scope of the injustice will become self-evident, but I do have one particular injustice that I witnessed first hand, in your courtroom.
It was the day your impulse to protect a female exhibiting distress overcame your oath and commitment as a Judge to “… .without respect to persons… faithfully and impartially discharge the duties incumbent on me… “.
You stopped the questioning of Lauren Salzman and you scolded defense attorney Agnifilio in front of a live jury and full courtroom for doing his job defending a man who has a life sentence against him. Is this Justice?
Also many of my friends have experienced the coercive overreach of the FBI and the government. These friends have suffered every abuse that the government has accused Raniere of and more. These friends have lost much more than I. They’ve been vilified, lost jobs, communities, reputations, houses and financial security. They’ve had agents with guns show up at their homes, they were threatened with having their children taken from them, they were coerced to change their own narratives and much, much more. Is this Justice?
Today I had my social media account trolled by someone who wants to share lies written about me in regard to this case. This person, anonymous, wants to bring attention to the lies and the false narrative in what I can only assume is a tactic to discredit and, what? have me fired from my job, vilified in my community, disgraced? For what? For supporting the things and people I believe in?
If ESP is so monstrous, if Keith is the ultimate monster, if all those involved in ESP are part of a criminal racket, why must the government, the media and the accusers use so much hatred and coercion in their pursuit of Justice? What does it mean for Justice when the foundations are fear, anger, hatred and violence? Is this Justice?
In regard to Keith Raniere, I have my experience of him and what he created and the people involved. All of which is nothing like the narrative in the press and prosecution. I have experienced Keith as a man of honor and principle. I experience him as a most compassionate human who cares about people and works tirelessly at something he feels is good and important for the world. I have known him for eight years and I have never witnessed or heard of him raising his voice in anger.
As for my experience with what Keith created. I personally witnessed the transformation of those who came to ESP with Tourettes and I will be forever confounded at how people can take something that was (is) so beautiful and powerful and turn it in to some cheap parlour trick in order to justify their own violent and destructive behavior. There is hard evidence of success in the treatment of Tourettes with tools that Keith created, it’s real, it’s the result of thousands of hours and dozens if not hundreds of people working together. Could a monster create this?
I was deeply involved with Rainbow and with the kids program within the community and I witnessed many parents transform in ways that brought them closer to their children. I was fortunate enough to work with dozens if not a hundred children and families who experienced profoundly positive shifts in their family dynamics by learning to instill boundaries and parent from a place of love and not fear. This was done with tools Keith created. Could a monster have created this?
I was and am friends with many in the Mexican community. I had the privilege of travelling to Mexico with SOP and to work with Mexican men and women in an effort to bring to light the roots of the violence in Mexico. I heard, first hand, stories of the most horrendous crimes, beheadings, kidnappings and witnessed Keith’s ongoing commitment to creating a peaceful response that could help transform the violence. This wasn’t a short term project, it took place over years, thousands and thousands of hours, effort and care from hundreds and hundreds of people and it was and is recognized as having great potential for reducing the violence. Would a monster want to reduce violence?
In regard to all the stories about how impossible it is to leave ESP. It’s not. I left in 2016 with no drama. I was a founder of SOP and had been a leader in the organization, I held close relationships with Keith and most everyone in leadership. No one came after me. I told the people who were important to me and agreed to stay in touch and I packed up and moved with my family to Connecticut, just like normal people. I also know many others who chose to leave in the same way. There was none of the drama that has been foundational to parts of the false narrative that you couldn’t leave. It’s not true.
I have no idea why Keith and others made all the decisions they did. The accusations are repulsive and I understand why people are horrified. I can understand why a click-hungry media would stoke the fires in this modern day coliseum. I can understand that masses scream for blood and the men rush to protect the defenseless women. This is our human experience, this is what we’ve learned and created, this is what we do.
But you, Judge, you hold a different role, a higher role. You are the difference between civilization and savagery. You are the one who stands above the masses, above the viciousness, above the guns and unlimited power apparatus. You are the Judge and you cannot allow yourself to be seduced by repulsion and emotion because you have to decide what Justice looks like for all of us.
Our entire system and structure of civilization is based on your Oath, “…without respect to persons… I will faithfully and impartially…”. What a decision you have, when it appears true Justice is waning in the United States. You could change that and I ask that you let your sentence forever reflect a return to Justice, a return to civilization. I ask that you do not succumb, Judge, even to your own impulses but opt, instead, for your rock, your oath.
I wish you strength and compassion but most of all I wish for you to choose Justice over savagery and let your choice be an example, for your grandchildren, for my children and for all, of what true Justice should be.