One of Keith Raniere’s supporters, businessman and Nxivm coach, Danny Trutmann, wrote a letter of support prior to sentencing, which he hoped might impress the judge. His was one of 56 letters in support of Raniere, contrasted by 92 victim impact statements filed with the court against the Vanguard.
As we know, the judge sentenced Raniere to 120 years in prison, though he could have sentenced him to as little as 15 years.
As we review the sentence and its aftermath – and we await the sentencing of Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell – the statements of victims and supporters are of interest to many readers.
Below is the letter of Danny Trutmann to the Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis, United States District Judge, Eastern District of New York.
Dated, October 9, 2020
Dear Your Honor,
My name is Danny Trutmann. I was born and raised in Guatemala. I am 46 years old and have lived in Miami since 1999. I have a beautiful relationship with a woman I met when I was 15 and I am the stepdad to her now teenage kids. Together with her, we built a business that currently employs more than 30 people.
I am writing this letter because I have a different experience of Keith and NXIVM than that which has been described and said of him in the media and during his trial. My experience of Keith is that he is caring, mindful, concerned for the wellbeing of others, and honorable.
Actually, one of the reasons why I am writing this letter is because to this day I have not heard or read anything dishonorable that Keith has said or written about any of the people that have spoken bad about him and/or lied about him.
I consider that he has conducted himself with honor and dignity throughout the entire trial process and media defamation. Very bad things have been said about him, and very bad things have been done and said about people he cares very deeply about.
What I know of Keith is that he created a program that helped thousands of people have a better experience of life and be able to achieve more of what they want. His technology helped people overcome lifelong fears and personal limitations. The program even helped people with Tourette’s manage their condition. His program helped me become a better person, leader, husband, stepfather, friend, son, and brother.
He created a beautiful program for children, a peaceful non-violent movement in Mexico, and an ethical media company, to name a few of the projects I know he was working on. All the good he has created has either being distorted or blocked from the general knowledge.
I read on the trial transcript of May 9th pg 511 Mr. Vicente describing ESP’s mission statement as a “lie”, as evil, as a veneer that covers horrible evil. This is simply not what I experienced, nor what I think many of the 17,000 people who took the program experienced.
Also, before turning against Keith, I heard Mr. Vicente say multiple times that he decided to marry his current wife after taking Mobius, one of the trainings Keith created, and that he was so grateful to Keith for creating the training.
It seems that some people have gone to great lengths to portray him as the worst person there is and suppress anyone with the desire to speak in favor of Keith.
Reading what has been said about Keith, both in the media and during his trial, I can understand why there is animosity towards him. Yet, there is another side to this story.
I took my first ESP training in 2009 and took many other trainings after that. Through these trainings, I learned tools that helped me grow my business, be more loving to my wife and her two kids, have a better relationship with my mother, father, and siblings, and, most importantly, reconnect with my dreams and passions.
Is Your Honor familiar with the poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling?
I remember several years ago, during V-Week, this poem was read to describe Keith’s character. Today more than ever, I consider this poem to be most fitting to describe his person and character.
It is a beautiful poem and with your permission, I would like to share it with you, Your Honor.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Keith has been able to keep his head when many have lost theirs and are blaming him for it. He has been lied about and has not dealt in the lies. He is being hated and not given into hating. The words he has spoken have been twisted and his life’s work has been stolen and destroyed.
I remember about 12 years ago, the first time I was at a forum where Keith was answering questions from the people present (forums were when we would gather and ask Keith questions.), I think Keith had been answering questions for two hours, when a little girl, I think about 8 years old ask him why he had created ESP. I do not remember what he said, what I remember though, was the way he spoke to the little girl.
He spoke to her as if she were the most important person in the room of more than 300 adults. He took her question, listened to her attentively, and then answered her in a way I had never seen someone speak to a child.
He spoke to her with so much respect and recognition one would think he was addressing the Queen of England. It is one of the most beautiful things I have seen and experienced in my life.
Your honor, my experience of Keith is that he is a good man, and there is another side to the way the media and the people against Keith are portraying him. As unconventional and controversial his personal life may be, I do not believe that he has had bad intent in his actions.
Thank you for your time and consideration in reading my letter and I hope you consider it positively when
evaluating Keith’s future.
END OF TRUTMANN LETTER
Frank Parlato Comments:
Danny says Keith “created a beautiful program for children.” He is referring to Rainbow Cultural Garden, which some have described as a controversial children’s experiment. A few words on that might have been appropriate and how he knows it’s beautiful.
Raniere’s “ethical media company,” is The Knife.” What impact, if any, did it have on the world or its ethics and how does it relate to the coverage Raniere receive in the [unethical] media, if Danny knows.
Danny included in his letter the poem, “If,” for the judge to read. It might be slightly presumptuous insofar as it assumes the judge may not be intimately familiar with Kipling’s If, one of the quintessential poems of the English language, and probably required reading when the judge was young.
At least the judge learned one new fact, though I do not see how it helped Raniere: That the poem was recited as a tribute to Raniere at Vanguard Week – an extended birthday celebration which was one long, 10-day tribute to him.
The poem was not recited, it seems, to inspire his followers to mirror the conduct described in the poem but rather for them to see it in Vanguard.
The judge might have seen, for he is a man of great perspicacity and knows this case extraordinarily well, that the reciting of the poem says more about Raniere’s desire for adulation than anything else. The judge already concluded that Raniere is not the man described in the poem.
Another weakness in the letter, and other letters from supporters, is the elevating of inconsequential things to a form of rare and exquisite behavior. Again and again, we read in letters of his followers an imputed greatness in things an objective observer would see as commonplace.
Keith plays a lot of amateur volleyball with followers and Danny tells us he permits questions of foul balls to be judged by a consensus of the players.
Though he is so busy and important, he stops to ask Edgar Boone about his brother’s problem, and this is mentioned as if it was an act of great love and care. Nowhere does it say he solved the brother’s problem. [The brother got drunk one night and killed some people in his automobile. He then fled Mexico and was caught in Chicago when Mexican police, in cooperation with US authorities, followed his father to the son and brought the son back to stand trial.]
So Keith doesn’t drink alcohol or eat meat? So what? Or he talks to an eight-year-old girl as if she were someone special in front of a crowd of 300 of his followers. These things do not rise to any form of greatness, or suggest innocence of any of the charges, or that he should be granted leniency.
I would have liked hearing details from Danny. How did the Nxivm tools work? How did it improve his career and family? If you want to prove Raniere is good but misunderstood, show us see how he improved things. Don’t just say he did, show us how he did it.
Danny shows us nothing about Raniere that could not be attributed to Raniere’s motive of wanting money and adulation. Danny paid for courses and paid to attend Vanguard Week.
Give us something to make us say “Gee wiz” instead of “So what?,” when you talk about his not cheating at volleyball, or how he gave Jim Del Negro a simple exercise to alleviate pain in his foot and it happened to work.