Clare Bronfman's trial judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis sentenced Bronfman to 81 months in prison.

Part 1: Raniere’s Lawyer Agnifilo and Judge Garaufis Mix It up Over Raniere

We have a treat in store for readers — a series of three posts of which this is part 1, taken from the sentencing hearing of Keith Alan Raniere, where Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, argues for a 20 year sentence and Judge Nicholas Garaufis debates him on a number of critical issues, hammering him and his client, especially on the matter of Camila.

This is a really a spectacular treat, because readers will get a glimpse at how a topnotch attorney goes about a totally uphill battle with a judge who seems to have already made up his mind.  As readers know, Agnifilo was nowhere near successful at getting a 20 year sentence.

Raniere got 20 years, plus a century.

And perhaps as glorious as Agnifilo’s subtle arguments are Judge Garaufis’ flashes of fire, his subtle righteousness, his certitude, showing us superb glimpses of his personality coming out in his debate with Agnifilo.

Garaufis, it turns out, is just a regular guy, a Brooklyn guy, 72 years old and he sees the world in a pretty straight forward way, which is ‘a whole ‘nother story’ – to use the judge’s own expression.  He has a sense of right and wrong – moral and immoral – legal and illegal – and none of the more esoteric arguments such as that Raniere meant well, prevailed with the judge.  He had his arguments ready.

Of course, it must be understood that in a debate between a judge and a lawyer before him, there is no equality. The judge has the last word and Judge Garaufis had it.

Marc Agnifilo had an uphill task in trying to persuade the judge not to sentence his client to a life sentence.

Still, Agnifilo was able to at least make his argument — that no one who now considers herself a victim of Raniere thought he was abusive when they were with him, but only later changed their view. Agnifilo suggests this change of view may have been susceptible to influence, possibly by other defectors, possibly by the DOJ.

The afternoon session of the sentencing hearing commenced around 2:45 pm on October 27, 2020. The morning was given over to hearing 14 victims making statements.  Judge Garaufis, referred to as hereafter as “The Court”, began the afternoon session.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis

THE COURT:  All right. Continuing with the sentencing of Keith Raniere, and Counsel and the defendant are all present. So at this time, the Court will consider, as I have calculated the sentencing range, I am now going to turn to facts that are outlined in 18 United States Code Section 3553(a).

Under Section 3553(a), I must consider several factors in imposing the sentence, including the nature and circumstances of the offense, the defendant’s history and characteristics, the need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offense, promote respect for the law and to provide just punishment for the offense, the need for the sentence to afford adequate deterrence, and the need to protect the public.

And in connection with that obligation, I will hear from the parties and then I will hear from the defendant if he wishes to make a statement. I will start with the defense. You may go ahead.

AGNIFILO: Thank you, Your Honor. May it please the Court. Members of the Government and everyone who has come to court today. I read each — I’m going to stand over here so I can see Your Honor more clearly.

THE COURT: Yes, just move the microphone.

AGNIFILO: Thank you.

THE COURT: Thank you.

AGNIFILO: Yes, thank you. I read every letter that every person submitted, both from the prosecution and the letters that we submitted on Keith Raniere’s behalf.  I listened very, very closely to the people who spoke very powerfully this morning and this early afternoon. And I’m trying to find the words and the themes that I think could possibly, even at this late hour, reach Your Honor and convince Your Honor somehow not to sentence Keith Raniere to a life sentence.

I am very mindful of the amount of hurt and deep pain that is expressed by people in the letters and as they spoke to the Court earlier today.  And I’ve been trying to find a way to describe it, to explain it, and I think if one reads all of the letters, well over 100 letters on both sides, considerably more than that, in fact, and if one considers the trial testimony, the first thing one sees, I submit, is that this was a community once upon a time.

That once upon a time there was a community in Clifton Park and the surrounding areas that many, many people loved, believed in, and believed was doing good. And I think that is the first step in the analysis that I would like to try and ask the Court to take with me in understanding some of the very powerful statements that were made here today.

People loved NXIVM.

The Nxivm community gathered annually in the Adirondacks to celebrate Keith Raniere’s birthday.

Mark Vicente, when he testified, went on and on about he loved NXIVM. So many of the different people who testified at trial, some of whom are here today, testified they could have done other things in their lives, but they chose to forego those other things and they chose to join this community in Albany under the tutelage, the leadership, the ‘Vanguardship’ of Keith Raniere, because they believed in it and they loved it and they trusted him, Judge.

That is such an important part of this whole analysis. They trusted Keith Raniere. They looked up to Keith Raniere. And they were absolutely sure that Keith Raniere had their best interest at heart.

The victims who testified and made victim impact statements felt that Keith Raniere, a man they once adored, ‘betrayed’ them.

In trying to find the right word, because sometimes the right word can help with the analysis, I thought long and hard and I thought of a word being the perfect word. In my opinion, the word, if you believe the Oxford English Dictionary, it was the word that was first used in the year 1275 and the word is “betray.”

And the original meaning, the definition of the word “betray,” is to deliver more people to the enemy by treachery, the meaning of the word “betray.”  And I think it’s a useful way to analyze some of the things that happened in this case.

First, your people. This is a very close community. They were all together. They believed they were all united in interests. They believed they were all united in interests doing something truly special, doing something that they generally thought was advancing the cause of humanity.

This is not a group of ne’er-do-wells looking to sort of just self-aggrandize and do things that don’t have important ends in and of themselves. It’s the exact opposite, and NXIVM attracted terrific people.

I think it was Toni Natalie earlier today who said that Keith surrounded himself with good people, and that just seemed to actually be the case. There’s no question about it.  I can say that the people that I’ve met, some of whom testified at the trial, Judge, some of whom spoke this morning to Your Honor, I thought were outstanding people.  I thought they were loving, wonderful, sweet, good people, each and every one of them. I haven’t met a bad person yet.

Nxivm community group pictures

And these were good people who came here for the best of reasons, for the best of reasons and they sacrificed much to be in this community.  And what has happened is they have reached the conclusion that Keith Raniere betrayed them.

Now, I think it’s very important that we stop for a second and take note of all the things they didn’t say. No one says, because it could not be validly said, that Keith Raniere was cruel to them at the time.  No one said at the time, I knew that this is — he was being mean to me. He was being abusive to me at the time.  He was doing things that were mean-spirited to hurt me at that time.

What they all say was something very, very different and it’s only really understandable through the lens of betrayal.

What they’re saying is, ‘I believe now,’ ‘I believe now that he was abusing me then.’ ‘I believe now that he was cruel to me then.’ ‘I believe now his intentions were bad then.’  That’s a very different thing, Judge. A very different thing, because that is something that can be influenced.

And I know everybody seems to be waiting for me or Mr. Raniere when he addresses Your Honor to say, ‘I had bad intent all the time. The whole while, I was abusing everybody. I had bad intentions. I wanted to hurt them.’

He’s never going to say it.  He’s never going to say it because he doesn’t believe it. He doesn’t believe it, Judge. As he sits here today, he doesn’t believe it.

Keith Alan Raniere would not admit his intentions were bad.

Do I think having done this for as long as I have that maybe his best shot at avoiding a life sentence is for him to say it?  Yeah. Maybe that’s the best thing to say, then maybe Your Honor doesn’t give him a life sentence.   But it just wouldn’t be true from his perspective.  And we are sentencing him based on his perspective —

THE COURT: No.  We are not sentencing him on a perspective. We are sentencing him — I am going to sentence him on his behavior.

AGNIFILO: I agree.

THE COURT: On his illegal behavior, which cannot be justified taking, for instance, Camila who, for some reason, was convinced that she should not testify at the trial by a lawyer who convinced her it was in her interest not to make herself available, which is a whole ‘nother issue.

But had she testified, it would have taken the jury ten minutes to convict him, because what he did to her, and she is totally believable, is at the behest of her father who brought her to Albany from Mexico. She was groomed from age 13 to age 15, and then she was seduced by Mr. Raniere and kept in an apartment and used for his sexual pleasure.  That is the fact. That is not imagination, that is not a perception, that’s a problem for your client. That is what he did.

MK10ART’s painting of Camila

AGNIFILO: Judge, I understand.

THE COURT: So we are not here to discuss how he felt or how it seemed. We are here to discuss how should he be punished for what he did.

AGNIFILO: I don’t —

THE COURT: So let’s get past that.

AGNIFILO: I agree wholeheartedly.

THE COURT:  Okay? The jury ruled. It was the jury’s decision.

AGNIFILO: I understand.

THE COURT: I am just here to enforce the jury’s will.  So let’s move on.

AGNIFILO: Yeah. There’s one I think is important to point out, Camila wasn’t available to us either after she got a lawyer. So it was not —

THE COURT: Didn’t you recommend the lawyer to her?

AGNIFILO: We gave her a list of lawyers, and she didn’t like the first two and she liked the last one. And that’s what happened, Judge. And that’s —

THE COURT: And how was that lawyer compensated; do you know?

AGNIFILO: I — I don’t know. It was – it was said in — in her — she said in her written statement how she believed the lawyer was compensated.

THE COURT: Which was?

AGNIFILO: Judge, I had nothing to do with this.

THE COURT: Well, I am just saying — I am asking the question. I am not saying you did that.  I am just saying he was compensated, according to her, by this —

AGNIFILO: Yeah.

THE COURT:   — $13.8 million —

AGNIFILO: Right.

Clare Bronfman put up $13.8 million for Nxivm members who needed attorneys. Now we learn that Camila was provided with an attorney from this fund and that this attorney, in representing her, kept her from testifying at Raniere’s trial. 

THE COURT:  — irrevocable trust created by Clare Bronfman.   That is the impression that the Court has.

AGNIFILO: I think that’s probably right.

THE COURT: Yeah.

AGNIFILO: I think that’s probably right. But if — if — I mean, I’m the only one standing here, and what my moral and legal obligation is, if someone wants a lawyer, to give them a number of names. That’s what I did. And she didn’t like two, and she did like one, and that was the last time we ever spoke to her.

THE COURT: I see.

AGNIFILO: And — and, Judge, I can also add, if there was a problem with any of this, which there isn’t, because I don’t do the wrong thing, and I didn’t do the wrong thing here —

THE COURT: I am just telling you that if – it has a certain sense, it creates a certain sense, that someone [Camila] who clearly was so terribly wronged by this man, decided not to speak up at the time, that raises issues.

AGNIFILO: And if there —

THE COURT:  And that is separate and apart from this trial. The point I am making, the principal point here, she came here and validated what this — what the prosecution provided to the jury, and the jury found by — beyond a reasonable doubt happened to her.

AGNIFILO: Right.

THE COURT:  All right? So it is about what happened to her. So I do not want to talk about theory. I have heard enough about Mr. Raniere’s theories.  I am talking about the facts.

AGNIFILO: Judge —

THE COURT:  Let’s get down to the facts.

AGNIFILO: But — but —

THE COURT:  He says he is innocent.  You are his lawyer, you said he is innocent on his behalf, and he may say it when he speaks if he does. Let’s move on.

AGNIFILO: Okay. I’m — I’m talking about intent, and so I’m not — I’m not trying to not talk about it —

THE COURT:  How is it — excuse me.   Pardon me. What about intent — what do you think the intent is if you have a 13-year-old girl and a 43-year-old man and two years — and that girl is being spoken to and the development of a relationship is occurring, and then two years later, she is having sex at age 15 with a 45-year-old man?  all —

AGNIFILO: Well, Judge, first — first of

THE COURT:  I am just wondering what do think the intent is of the 45-year-old man? I was once a 45-year-old man.

AGNIFILO: So was I.

THE COURT: And now I am a 72-year-old man.

AGNIFILO: Judge —

THE COURT: And I — and I have a pretty good sense of these things because like I have been around the block.  So do not treat me, this Court, as if it is not the intent to do what he did. It was not a mistake. He kept doing it. Please.

AGNIFILO: Judge, in terms of the —

THE COURT:  Why don’t you talk about the factors?

AGNIFILO: Judge —

THE COURT:  I am interested in the factors.

AGNIFILO: Okay.

THE COURT:  I am interested in the factors. I am not interested in your explication of whether he intended to have sex with this woman.

AGNIFILO: Judge, I — first of all —

THE COURT: You are not in front of a jury, you are in front of the Judge now on the sentencing.

AGNIFILO: I know.

THE COURT:  I am not going to tolerate spending time as to what his intent was when he seduced a 15-year-old girl. We are not going there. It is just — it is an insult of the intelligence of anyone who listens. And I just want you to understand, I am not tolerating it. So go on.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of ‘The Judge and Raniere’s Lawyer Mix It up’ 

MK10ART’s painting of Keith Raniere on the day he faced his sentencing.

 


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Frank Parlato

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  • […] In Part 1: Raniere’s Lawyer Agnifilo and Judge Garaufis Mix It up Over Raniere, we watched Agnifilo argue that Raniere had good intentions when he was with women who now claim he abused them. We saw the judge rebut the argument saying that Raniere’s intent with Camila when she was 15 and he 45 was not well-intentioned. […]

  • […] In Part 1: Raniere’s Lawyer Agnifilo and Judge Garaufis mix it up over Raniere and we watched Agnifilo argue that Raniere had good intentions when he was with the women who now claim he abused them. We saw the judge rebuke the defense attorney over Raniere’s sexual relationship with Camila when she was 15 and he was 45. […]

  • Thanks, Frank, that was great. I can’t wait for Part 2. I really enjoy reading the comments too and find them very pretty insightful.

  • You can always tell who are the NXIVM [redacted] by the content of their comments. Their virtual outrage at an alleged failure to implement justice by a judge who’s been practicing for decades are dead giveaways and rather amusing themselves.

    The fact of the matter is, Raniere’s alleged good intent means nothing when he (or any criminal for that matter) is convicted of breaking the law. How stupid is it to effectively say, “Yes, your Honor, it is true that my client willfully broke the law but he had good intentions”, especially when it comes to the example of Cami whom he pointed out? That’s why he said it was an insult to the intelligence. The law is already enacted with good intent by the representatives of a democratic republic for the common good to protect the public and establish justice. If you have a problem with any law because it is not properly doing these things, then you have to go through the means available to have it publicly overturned. You don’t continue to break the law in secret with “good intentions”. Such behavior is an obvious contradiction, except to the kool-aid drinkers.

    Nor has ignorance of the law ever been an excuse. There are only a few options for a response here: show remorse or possibly plead extenuating circumstances. And the latter is a ridiculous proposition since Raniere was the ultimate authority and wielder of primary power in his cult. No one told him what to do. The only thing then left for him to do was show remorse for his actions which he was too arrogant to show. Thus, he got the full extent of what he deserved according to the law.

  • Not sure I understand the indignation over the Judge’s conversation with Agnifilo? This took place at the actual sentencing, not back during the final arguments before the jury. KR was already convicted, right? Seems like the judge was objecting to Agnifilo trying to rewrite the history of the actual trial by casting doubt on the testimonies and evidence. Almost like the Judge was keeping Agnifilo “honest” for the record. Still, it was an entertaining exchange. Looking forward to seeing the rest of it.

  • The interjections by the Judge were completely appropriate. Why argue intent? Intent was an element already proven. Arguing intent seemed to me to be wasted effort. The issue wasn’t on the table at this stage of the process.

    My opinion.

  • Every time I thought I heard it all, even more pops up.

    Holy crap!

    But why didn’t the feds subpoena Cami?

    This has to be something:

    “Clare Bronfman put up $13.8 million for Nxivm members who needed attorneys. Now we learn that Camila was provided with an attorney from this fund and that this attorney, in representing her, kept her from testifying at Raniere’s trial. ”

    Did someone bribe Camilla????

    • I wonder if someone threatened/convinced Camila rather than bribed. In the USA as an illegal alien, possibly compromised legally for actions she committed for Raniere/NXIVM/DOS (several people in that position), no money of her own so dependent on the lawyer recommended to her (i.e., Bronfman’s hired hand) – in this case, fear was probably a more useful controlling factor. Of course, she might also have been bribed with $ and/or a job in Mexico to get her out of the legal picture here.

  • While I found a lot unsettling about this trial, I also find the judge’s behavior unsettling. It damages the reputation of the entire justice system if judges don’t appear too impartial…and in this case, given how high-profile the case is, it doesn’t set a great example for other judges.

    • This was a sentencing session. The trial was already over and it’s not impartial for a judge to agree with a conviction that the jury handed down and he already agreed to.

  • I hate Raniere as much as the next guy but the judge is out of line here in the way he spoke to and treated Agnifilo throughout the whole trial. The judge’s opinions and emotions are not supposed to be thrown around the courtroom like this. Clearly, this is a triggery case that causes reactions but all the more reason that it requires a judge who can be impartial or at least act like it in the courtroom. Our justice system is in the gutter.

    • The judge is the authority in that room, a long term experienced Jurist. He didn’t put up with victim-blaming and injecting Espian ideology as a means of defense, instead of criminal law. Agnifilo had a client that dictated his own shabby defense, and it was obvious to a casual viewer and the Judge.

      It’s interesting that so many of you find the injustice in a legal authority righting the decades of legal injustices perpetrated by the leaders of NXIVM. The focus of injustice is on a mafia operation, with institutional rape, as if there’s some mistake here.

      Why do you suppose that is? Is this another defense of Keith’s edgy progressive lifestyle choice that mirrors the Taliban?

  • Isn’t it the job of a judge to be objective? Please help me understand where there is objectivity in this transcription. Additionally, the level of unprofessionalism is unreal – a judge not even giving the defense attorney an opportunity to share his perspective but he seems to cut him off multiple times. I thought the US had the greatest justice system in the world and reading this does not seem like justice – it seems we gave this righteous and opinionated 72-year-old man too much power that he is not wielding responsibly. The judge even says things that he claims are ‘facts’ that are simply not true. For a Federal Judge to exhibit these behaviors is criminal, in my opinion. Thank you for sharing this, Frank.

    • The criminal was the one being poorly defended. There wasn’t much choice for the defence to be fair as the crimes amounted to a hefty sentence of incarceration; the best possible defence could not have ameliorated the truth for any of the perpetrators in this case.

      You seem determined not to offer actual proof of mistrial but to sully the outcome with an endless restatement of YOUR own personal feelings. I suppose the intention is to cast doubt by cleaving to a contrarian position?

      The Judge was fair. The law is objective. The sentence was passed. You are obviously new to this case. Perhaps take advantage of the Frank Report? It is a very thorough body of work encompassing the entire history of the RICO enterprise that is Nxivm. Your point was unclear and your argument weak. Please help me understand where there is objectivity in your assessment of this case.

      • We have several readers who, while satisfied with the outcome of the case, are bothered by the way we got to that outcome. Some question the manner in which Keith was “arrested” in Mexico and turned over to the U.S. without an extradition hearing. Others are bothered by how long Keith was incarcerated at MDC before he went to trial. And others are upset about all the irrelevant evidence that the prosecution was allowed to present at his trial – evidence that had absolutely nothing to do with the charges pending against him.

        I understand all those concerns – and I worry that other prosecutors will be allowed to use similar tactics to charge and convict people who are innocent – or, more likely, people who have committed some crimes but not ones that should result in a life sentence or a lengthy sentence.

        Keith Raniere committed numerous criminal acts – and he should be punished accordingly. But he also harmed the lives of many people – most of whom will not receive any compensation as a result of his conviction and incarceration.

        Perhaps we need to start focusing more on restitution and less on punishment for the sake of punishment.

        • Re “Perhaps we need to start focusing more on restitution and less on punishment for the sake of punishment.”

          Punishment serves to deter potential offenders from committing crimes. It is therefore absolutely necessary and indispensable. Without punishment, no crime can be atoned for. To compensate victims, you should search among the main actors of Nxivm, then you will find enough money and assets to compensate victims. In many crimes, money plays a major role as the motive for their crimes. You have to take the money away from the perpetrators and track down the assets that are put aside and hidden.

        • Claviger,

          Re Focusing on Punishment:

          I generally agree with your statement. I will say in Raniere’s case he posses a threat to the public at large as opposed to someone who simply broke a few laws. He is a pedophile, whose followers do not care.

          If he were released, he would “definitely” set up shop abroad like other cult leaders before him have done. Two good examples are Jim Jones and the Children of God. Look at what Sarah Bronfman is up to. Now imagine Raniere at her side guiding her.
          ————————-
          Do you believe Keith Raniere will give up his proclivity for young teenage girls abroad?
          —————————

        • K.R. Claviger-

          Re First 3 Years in SuperMax OR…..

          I was mulling over a number of articles you have written on the subject of the Super Max…..

          …And I came to a somewhat surprising conclusion that I would prefer to spend 5 years in a minimum-security prison than 3 years in the Super Max. Literally, I would add 2 years to my own sentence, given the choice.

          5 years would be a bargain!

          I’d give up an extra 2 years of freedom to avoid hell the 3 years of hell.

          How about you? I imagine you feel the same.

          It’s quite a statement, regarding the hellishness of the MAX, isn’t it?

          ( I do enjoy reading your pieces.)

          • To me, it’s at least a 2-to-1 equation. In other words, I would spend two years in a minimum-security prison for every one year that I would otherwise spend at the Supermax.

        • Thank you, Claviger,

          This is an understandable account of concerns frequently raised here on the Frank.
          Your account does seem to relate to flaws within the justice system in general. It is a crucial responsibility of citizens to be vigilant about our systems of justice – at all times – and its gratifying that journalists on the FR, take that responsibility seriously.

          I agree that we should focus less on punishment and more on restitution, but before both of these things can be dealt out meaningfully, there must be established a climate of truth from which can finally come, for targets and perpetrators alike – reconciliation, with what is left, after all has been said and done.

        • —”I understand all those concerns – and I worry that other prosecutors will be allowed to use similar tactics to charge and convict people who are innocent – or, more likely, people who have committed some crimes but not ones that should result in a life sentence or a lengthy sentence.”

          Exactly. It scares me that people almost seem eager to overlook any potential injustices when they believe that the “bad guy” got what he deserves in the end, whether it’s “fair” according to the letter of the law or not. Anyone who dares question anything about the correctness of the process here gets accused of being sympathetic to child abuse and rape — speaking for myself and many others, that is certainly not the case. When people make terrible (not to mention ludicrous) accusations like that against anyone who asks a question or expresses a different point of view, it feels a lot like bullying and intimidation.

          • Where has this happened Alison?

            ‘Anyone who dares question anything about the correctness of the process here gets accused of being sympathetic to child abuse and rape — speaking for myself and many others, that is certainly not the case.’

            Perhaps you should separate criticism of the process, from criticism of the man?

            I doubt you would find much sympathy here for KR. It’s a site dedicated to the demise of his criminal organization – and many who write and read here have personal involvement in this painful scenario.

            You will find a lot of sympathy for the need to improve the system of justice.

            I’m sorry you have felt bullied and intimidated. Personally, I wouldn’t visit a site whose aims I disagreed with, to argue against an established view, and then be upset or intimidated when my opposing view was countered, however robustly.

          • @NSW

            —I wrote: ‘Anyone who dares question anything about the correctness of the process here gets accused of being sympathetic to child abuse and rape — speaking for myself and many others, that is certainly not the case.’

            By “the process here,” I was not referring to the Frank Report as “here,” I meant “here” as in regarding this specific trial.

            —Perhaps you should separate criticism of the process, from criticism of the man?

            Exactly. It sounds to me like we are on the same page.

          • I certainly misread your intended meaning. As a long time reader here, I do not share your doubts and have my own opinion that KR is not only guilty as charged, but guilty of crimes he quite possibly will never be charged with.

            IMO, justice would be better served in this and in every case if the penal system in my own country the Uk, in the US, in my colleague’s nation of Burkina Faso, could be like the penal system in Norway, which according to a couple of our interns, operates in a totally different way, geared toward rehabilitation, with good recidivism stats. Well structured after care, everything you could wish for in a just world, with a 45% income tax bracket, cradle to grave welfare and a small population, yet still they manage to produce the odd psychopath that has to be remaindered for life, however humanely.

    • Read some more transcripts. Judges speak freely and loosely all the time.

      A judge’s discretion and purview is practically boundless.

  • So the judge just interrupted Keith’s lawyer and said whatever he thinks? I’m not a lawyer but I believe this is so wrong. Against any justice system, he clearly doesn’t like Keith and that itself it’s a huge problem. Can’t wait for these to be appealed and see the next chapter at Keith’s trial. Definitely exposing a lot of wrong things in America’s justice system.

    • Nobody likes Keith; he is an incorrigible felon. The Judge was there to mete out his sentence and limit the nonsense time-wasting of Ranieres’ defense [not their fault, KR made them do it] Do you imagine this late – oh so too, too late – wave of weak apology for this errant criminal will ‘save’ him? from what? He is the cause of all this criminal waste of life space and time. He destroyed lives. When people get caught doing that, by law, they pay.

  • Judge Garaufis should be on the Supreme Court. Marc Agnifilo should be where his client is.

    And if what’s left of NXIVM have any issue with allegedly being silenced in their foolish “support” of Keith — they should look to the ‘Guns’ who gagged them under Agnifilo’s ‘apparent’ direction.

    The pigs HID the facts about Camilla, the FBI had to dredge through 42 library floors of gigabyte data to find that undeniable evidence. And when they did find Camilla’s nude pics — without which none of the defendants would have likely pled — they gagged her — something that may have further harmed Camila, as well as the entire case.

    They don’t know it, but all the remaining NXIANS continue to harm themselves with this support charade that’s only feeding Aggie’s piggy bank.

    Keith is fait accompli, thanks to Camila, her siblings and her mother’s strength, courage and ultimate defiance of her Aggie-assigned attorney.

    And Judge Garaufis did the right, best thing for justice and for the victims under the pathetic, piggy circumstances.

    If a 120 year sentence and the Fernandez family survivors can’t convince Keith’s loyalists he’s guilty as (and far BEYOND) charged then, I’m sorry, they are beyond the beyond at this point.

    The only thing to do is protect society from them AND the piggies ‘protecting’ and perpetuating only their own fees from the get-go to the get-gone.

    I’m even feeling a little sorry for the piggy payer, Clare, these days. As many have mentioned, where are her “supporters”?

    • You understand the injustice going on here? Not defending Keith, leave that aside. This is crazy. If you are an American, please think of what this means for our justice system. Raniere did bad things, ok get him for that. But why skip all justice protocols and use a victim statement with no evidence to sentence him? Really bad…

      • This is a transcript from a sentencing hearing, he was already found guilty by a jury.

        No, to any decent human being, the injustice is the decades long abuses of the legal system by NXIVM.

        No, pointing out how Keith’s power disappears into a puff of smoke when one is not blackmailed and gaslighted, is not a defensible position, it highlights the power of brainwashing.

        The examples are plentiful.

      • Witness testimony also has probative value, that is what it is for. If there is other material evidence, it is consulted and, together with other testimonies and in connection with other circumstances, it is evaluated whether it contradicts the testimony or supports it.

      • Anthony, you need to inform yourself. Do you know who you are addressing your [redacted] argument to? Please read the FR and become informed.

      • Take a look at the previous decades of vexatious litigation by NXIVM; there you will find the travesty in the justice system.

        What you’re objecting to is justice served.

    • Once again, well said Heidi. Truly enjoy your comments here. Judge Garaufis would be a fine nomination and good Chief Justice.

    • I felt that way too, that the evidence (pictures of Cami) was undeniable and I was disgusted but then after reading closely through the transcripts I saw that an FBI agent testified under oath that the “evidence” used, the pictures of Cami they “found” he testified that the file system data was changed by an unknown person while in FBI custody. As a lawyer, that shocked me. I looked into it further and saw that one of the top forensic analysts around and a few others have since certified that the photos were tampered with to change dates to make it look like she was younger and may have even been planted. This is a horrific abuse of the justice system if it is true and calls a lot of this storyline into question.

      I especially agree with your point that these photos are what likely caused the others to take the plea deals. If these photos were tampered with by the FBI or prosecution, that likely was part of the plan/motivation for doing so, to use them to get the others to plea and speak against Kieth and NXIVM instead of being a united positive team.

      Regardless, once the FBI agent testified that the data was changed, it never should have been allowable evidence. Any lawyer knows this. Especially for such a key point of the trial.

      I’m not convinced he is innocent but I definitely think this is worth looking into.

      • Please provide hard evidence of the tampering. Or else all you are doing is propagandising and falsifying evidence claims. And not very well at that. You should know this, as a ‘lawyer’

        • This is the report from Dr. Keshava Munegowda. It has since been corroborated by many other top experts in the field. This plus the FBI themselves actually testifying under oath that the files were changed by an unknown person while in FBI custody (page 4973 of the transcripts) and the fact that this key evidence was still considered admissible is worth looking into in my opinion. Assuming we care about having a true justice system.

          If this is true, it’s not fair for Cami either that this was done in this way.

          https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5f67b1c5ae2f6a2cc56f0a25/t/5f94ba78d57b73085178fa71/1603582591066/Munegowda_Plus_Corroborations_compressed.pdf

          • That testimony would be admissible during an appeal. None of those “experts” gave testimony at trial. Did Agnifilo call for their testimony? You do realize there’s a cash bounty on evidence found by the general public, funded by a convicted felon? Their theories are just that, not established fact.

            Sexual abuse took place before the picture was taken, stated in her testimony. Is her testimony inadmissible because there is no photographic evidence of previous rape? If so, this is one injustice rape survivors face throughout, historically. Does a consistent pattern and ritual of grooming and rape make up for lack of photographic evidence of every rape, or is that not enough?

            Have you looked into all the child rape charges that were ignored and dismissed by various law enforcement agencies over the years? That would seem to be the endeavor of someone looking for justice.

    • —a 120 year sentence and the Fernandez family survivors can’t convince Keith’s loyalists he’s guilty as (and far BEYOND) charged then, I’m sorry, they are beyond the beyond at this point.

      The only thing to do is protect society from them AND the piggies ‘protecting’ and perpetuating only their own fees from the get-go to the get-gone.

      I agree completely!

      Clare deserves the 6 years on the bases of personally bankrupting at least dozen individuals and taking 1000s of hours of court time spent on frivolous lawsuits!!!!

  • What a jackazz. Totally from the Raniere Psychobabble-arm-chair-sophist playbook that previously wooed and awed so many feebles.

    Vanguard A b s o l u t e l y insisted on this futile approach. Unfortunately for him, his intellect-showmanship was no match for the judge’s absolute acumen. He’s totally out his depths in a Federal Courthouse, and/or judicial audience. Raniere might be bright, but he’s hopelessly narrow.

    And he’s an even bigger buffoon for even attempting to sermonize a sentencing judge. This is why it’s only going to get worse for him Any & EVERY moment not in solitary confinement.

    His inability to adapt, much less empathize, will only agonize and bankrupt his wellbeing

  • This judge seems to be the opposite of justice. To have an argument with one of the parties and to present his own opinions to counter a defense lawyer is unheard of. Another clear sign that this judge was in on this joke of a trial. With or without Raniere, we have a justice system that has been destroyed.

    • I disagree. Trial was over; jury found him guilty; his intent was not at issue there at sentencing. As Judge Garaufis said, he was sentencing Raniere on his behavior which a jury had already determined was criminal. The judge did his job of wading through all the factors that influence sentencing. I personally find 120 years to be startlingly high, but then I wasn’t privy to all the letters and info the judge needed to incorporate into his sentencing. And I certainly don’t feel a need to challenge that sentence for a man I believe was rightfully convicted of only some of the crimes he has committed in his long history of abusing people, particularly women. i’d rather spend my time and efforts doing what I can to support his victims.

      I can see that Judge Garaufis could have handled sentencing without this particular exchange with Agnifilo. And I can also see why Raniere’s defenders may be focused on the potentially tampered-with photo of Camila since the judge brought her up in this context. But I don’t see that any legal error was made – perhaps any lawyers in our midst might weigh in on this? And I appreciated Garaufis efficiency in demonstrating that arguments for Raniere’s good intent were ridiculous in light of his actual behavior.

      • I agree. Guilt had already been decided at this point, by the jury. Agnifilo’s role was to argue for a lighter sentence. The judge simply made clear that he would not base sentencing on Raniere’s supposed intent, or on some NX members’ good experiences. He would impose sentencing based on the crimes proven to have been committed. That is how it should be.

        It is not a miscarriage of justice for a judge to to express impatience at the endless tap dancing, justifications, and victim shaming that took place in this case. He did not seem too keen either, on the possibility that Camila was silenced prior to trial.

    • This is simply not outside of normal for a judge to have a dialogue with and debate an attorney at sentencing. They are creating a record, and the judge would have been well aware that Raniere plans to appeal. Garaufis would have wanted to get his response in the transcript. Again, it is untrue that this is an unusual event at a criminal sentencing.

    • This is a very weak statement [is it on a Nxivm diet?] with no proof to support it.

      The justice system has been destroyed? Do you mean the elysian Albany commune of Nxivm has been destroyed? Just click your heels, Dorothy!

  • Re Neil Glazer Impact on Criminal Case:

    —THE COURT: On his illegal behavior, which cannot be justified taking, for instance, Camila who, for some reason, was convinced that she should not testify at the trial by a lawyer who convinced her it was in her interest not to make herself available, which is a whole ‘nother issue.

    Frank,

    Neil Glazer advised Cami not to testify at the criminal trial of a defendant who raped her…..

    …Am I interpreting the courtroom transcript correctly?

    Neil Glazer is a consummate professional I cannot fathom he is cable of such a faux-pas.

    ********************************************
    This is an IMPORTANT QUESTION. I am confident many Frank Report readers, including myself, would appreciate an answer.
    *********************************************

  • Any discussion of Raniere’s intentions at this point is pointless. It *may* have been his intention to create heaven on Earth, but he was tried for his actions, which where criminal.

  • After reading through this carefully, I’m still not convinced about the correctness of the charges and the sentencing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not inclined to think that Camilla is lying about what happened to her, and it was gratifying to me to hear the judge speak so strongly on her behalf, particularly if I assume she is telling 100% truth in her statement. Hell yeah, Judge, tell it like it is! (Let’s put aside that she could have had motivations to change her story at the 11th hour so that she could take part in the civil lawsuit against NXIVM.)

    But I’m still grappling with how the Camilla story fits into these other charges and the sentencing. Perhaps I just don’t understand enough about the nature of RICO law.

    Also, I don’t trust what was portrayed in Seduced. They actually edited Keith Raniere’s words to sound like he said something he didn’t in one part of it. So-called cult experts and deprogrammers interviewed seem to be able to take any action or statement and use it as evidence of brainwashing and manipulation. “P.S. Buy my book(s) to find out more.” I’m not saying that selling books is their motivation, but sometimes it seems like the cult deprogrammers are as dogmatic as the cults themselves.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next posts in this series.

    • Camilla did not “change her story.”

      If you read the exchange between Judge G and Aggie in the post above, Camilla remained silent on the advice of ‘her’ (Bronfman paid, Raniere & Salzman controlled) counsel.

      Michelle Hatchette, Niki Clyne, Kathy Russell and others also say they too were advised to remain silent — only now they blame the prosecution, accusing them of intimidation with, of course, no legit facts or evidence.

      …Most of us have been more “intimidated” on a traffic stop than anything the NX loyalists have put forth so far. But I expect THEIR stories to mutate soon.

      Camilla’s is solid, evidenced and none deserve true victim status more than [redacted] family.

      On the contrary, many of these loyalists are also perpetrators and damn lucky they haven’t been charged so far. That could be the reason they were so advised to remain silent and the only reason — self incrimination — they ever had the right to do so.

    • RE: Seduced – Please specify what of Raniere’s words you feel were edited to change the meaning. I am rewatching it, and I’d like to see what you meant. Thanks.

      • @L:

        I would need to rewatch it to pinpoint the exact phrasings, but it’s in at least one place in Seduced where they just use KR’s voice, lifted from a video, in a voice over. I had watched/heard the uninterrupted video elsewhere, I can’t remember if it was in the Vow, Seduced, or both places, but in this particular voice over, what he said was cut and spliced to sound like he said something that he didn’t, and, in my opinion, to make him sound even worse.

  • I just watched Seduced last night for the first time, and am frankly shaken to the core. I am convinced more than ever that Raniere is exactly where he needs to be. The parallels with Jim Jones are further confirmed in my mind, as echoed by Rick Ross.

    My view of Allison Mack has also hardened considerably. Can you really watch “your” women stop menstruating and losing hair, and still think everything is for the greater good? In this day and age, how dare you mete out “punishment” to those who disobey your meaningless orders? Who gave you the right?

    So many things seem to be poorly thought out on Raniere’s part. He purportedly wanted an army of ready and willing soldiers, but he made sure they were physically sick and emotionally spent? I think he simply enjoyed watching the suffering of others for his own sick entertainment.

    I thank God for this Judge, who takes his role seriously – Democrat, Republican, or Martian. I am sure this was not an easy trial for him to preside over. He was overtly threatened. But Brooklyn boys rarely bend to such pressure. Keith, you should have stayed in your Albany cocoon.

    Even if you remove underage sex from the picture, Raniere was perpetuating the starvation and physical abuse of women who started out as well-intentioned, loyal devotees. He will always bite the hand that feeds him.

    And while we all love to bash defense lawyers, they play a critical role in our system. I think it is fair to say that Agnifilo was merely doing the best he could with a very poor hand of cards. I can only imagine his private thoughts regarding the totality of the situation. But he must keep those to himself.

    I want to thank India Oxenberg for going on record with deeply embarrassing personal details that must have been painful to share. She has helped steer the dialogue away from the false image of a harmless consensual sex club.

    I also give a shout out to John Tighe, who had the courage to call out warnings into what was then the the great abyss. With the help of many, EDNY swooped in and stopped this travesty.

    • I would agree with your take on Allison, except for the fact that she was starving herself as well. Or more generally, there are some serious questions around whether she was mentally fit. She has a fairly well established history of eating disorders, and as far as I’m concerned wasn’t fit to take care of herself, let alone give orders. For all we know, KAR made her a master in DOS for these reasons, but that is pure speculation. What is likely true, because Vicente said it in his testimony (and under oath), is that KAR was trying to “break” her.

      I’d also like to point out how hard KAR worked at normalizing things that shouldn’t be considered normal. Much of the NXIVM curriculum was aimed at destroying critical thinking. It sounds like a lot of effort went into convincing women that being ultra-skinny was the way to be.

      All I’m saying is that if Allison had been sitting around eating pizza while her slaves starved (which is what you know who was doing), then I would be more inclined to agree with your assessment.

      • That’s something to consider without definite information. As you say, she was already starving herself, probably for most of her life. So what would Allison gain, what did she covet instead of pizza? What was she super enthusiastic about?

  • This was a treat. The judge causing Agnifilo to squirm and blabber like a fool. What a person puts themselves through for a payday. What I don’t understand is the interviews he has done since where he actually sounds like he believes Keith is misunderstood and the victims liars. The could just shut up and regain some respect at this point.

  • Very instructive – and entertaining too. Thanks for making that public, Frank!

    The judge is having none of Agnifilo’s BS. This is a sentencing hearing in front of a judge, and the judge is interested in the facts as presented at trial not rhetorical flourishes of the convicted felon’s slick attorney.

    Though the attorney isn’t nearly as slick as he seems to think he is. He very nearly gets himself into trouble with the court over the question of who advised Camila to not testify and why, and who paid for it. I can practically hear Agnifilo stuttering and stammering as he frantically goes into reverse and tries to deny all knowledge of the business.

    In this chess match, Judge Garaufis seems always three moves ahead.

    • To respond to a point Agnifilo was trying to make here, I am in the midst of reading the trial transcripts right now. It’s clear based on Daniela’s emails and Camila’s texts that both knew they were being abused at the time they were being abused. It was not “after the fact I came to realize.”

      • “ And the original meaning, the definition of the word “betray,” is to deliver more people to the enemy by treachery, the meaning of the word “betray.” And I think it’s a useful way to analyze some of the things that happened in this case”

        Agnifilo is taking crib notes from Keith here, it’s a useless argument that would further piss off the judge. Agnifilo is putting an equal overlay of the vows that were betrayed, under coercion, the very thing he was found guilty of, to that of the criminal justice system. As if there is criminality attached to telling the truth and talking about the things Keith swore to secrecy.

        Remember Toni Natalie’s words about Keith’s response to ending a relationship with him. Criminal prosecution.

        Betraying Keith isn’t a criminal act. In fact, it’s the most ethical thing many of these people have done in their entire NXIVM experience.

        Why should a judge listen to this irrelevant victim-blaming that Agnifilo can’t seem to help himself from doing, when it has nothing to with the evidence that decided Keith’s conviction?

        Agnifilo repeatedly highlights the brainwashing and criminality by Keith, in his defense of Keith. It’s desperate and boring.

        I don’t understand how anyone can read this and think there are any teeth to this grasping. Agnifilo is paid to deliver an all-you-can-eat word salad buffet. That’s his job. The judge is tasked with addressing the facts at trial, instead of theories and ideology after the fact. That’s what appeals are for, not sentencing hearings.

        • @cilantro

          I think Agnifilo was trying to say that so many people were coming forward claiming to be victims because they felt betrayed. He wasn’t saying those people all betrayed Keith, IMO. I think the lawyer was biting his tongue hard not to say, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

          I can see why that wouldn’t exactly win favor with the judge.

          • That’s entirely possible, I hope I’m wrong.
            It would diminish my incredulity. It’s too late into the evening to delve into that again, but I will read again with fresh eyes in the morning.

          • Why would a defence lawyer ‘bite his tongue’ if he had a truthful point to make in defence of his client, a ‘truth’ easy to state and so easy for the listener to understand?

            I think that’s because Nxivm crimes have little to do with “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. That is not why the Frank Report exists, yet, once again, here we are – arguing irrelevancies, blaming victims, and yet you say you have no interest other than a passing one? You seem to me to have a distinct interest and a conviction that KR was treated unfairly by the ‘justice system’.

          • — Why would a defence lawyer ‘bite his tongue’ if he had a truthful point to make in defence of his client, a ‘truth’ easy to state and so easy for the listener to understand?

            Because a blanket statement about one gender is usually interpreted as sexist?

            _I_am definitely not saying that I believe this is an across-the-board case of women scorned. I was just getting the impression that is what the lawyer was trying to say but in different words. I’m not surprised it blew up in his face.

        • I answered all of this in a long post and then it was lost upon posting. I think it could go either way now. But from my perspective, he’s using the technique of shifting perspective to subtly perceive Keith as the one who was betrayed. His whole operation revolved around not being betrayed and he is consistently self-centered. He’s also directing his defense so that Agnifilo portrays him in keeping with his wishes. Agnifilo is dancing on the knife’s edge of gaslighting and the Judge knows it.

  • Wow, this judge is so good. You cannot get anything past him. I like the way he turned on the offensive. Those still supporting Nxivm are trying to twist things to say everyone was really happy and then the system changed their minds after. That is a lie. Of course, lots of people on the courses were fine – but KR was not prosecuted for that. He was prosecuted for the criminal parts of what he did. I don’t know if anyone is watching The Prodigal Son which is a good series and in that fiction, the father is a serial killer in jail. He was a good doctor. He was a good father and husband. That does not mean he was not also a serial killer. Even at sentencing, the fact you had other good aspects of your life cannot alter the fact you committed a crime although it might mitigate some sentences.

    The judge raised a good point – was the Bronfman litigation fund, in trust, used in a sense to persuade her not to testify when in fact her own testimony is probably the clearest evidence there was of a straightforward out and out crime. Yes, men have relations with 15-year-olds all the time but this was different – the age gap was huge, KR was supposedly celibate, etc. He knew this was the worst thing they could show (as other cult damage is much harder to prove in these kinds of cases and hard to find a precise crime despite the masses of harm done) and for some reason, she did not testify.

    • I think this was a large part of the reason the judge gave Bronfman a longer sentence, even though he didn’t bring it up during her sentencing. LOL

  • I have great respect for Judge Garaufis. He sees behind events and can’t be misled by misdirection or emotional reasons. (I’m a woman, and I know these are female traits.) I mean emotional reactions. Agnifilo either had a similar trait or had no more relevant firing pins in his possession. I’d guess the latter.

    When Agnifilo says that the witnesses later changed their minds about Raniere, it made me think for a second, but I came to the conclusion that this may have happened because:
    – The victims haven’t seen what’s happening to them in due course. The emphasis is on the process.
    – When the scandal broke and Raniere was arrested, the victims were torn out of the circle and environment that had deformed their former lives. They had time to think, and if they needed it, they could ask for help.

    At most, the DOJ could only influence them to look out for their own interests and not allow themselves to be under the further sick influence of Raniere and his hench-whores.
    You can say the DOJ can do that, and there’s probably some truth to it. However, this case is so obvious that I don’t believe in DOJ’s self-serving influence techniques. In our country, an organization like the DOJ does at least that in such situations.

    In the case of such specific crimes, all that is needed is to dispel the fears of witnesses and to enable them to give honest and incriminating testimony. It’s not a small burden on the victims.
    Think about it. (Now the female emotional expression comes out of me again, sorry for it, but the victims are also women.)

    So. Witnesses believed in an idea that, when they joined the cult, was not yet fully aware. All they have seen/heard is that Raniere’s methods are effective in self-realization and they have seen successful individuals in the cult; they were cured of Tourette’s syndrome, had a better lifestyle, a cohesive, enthusiastic, happy community. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this when it’s proven to work.

    At first, I said coolly that I certainly wasn’t, because I’m an adult, self-contained being who won’t let me out of control. But I was wrong.

    When I started reading articles about it in February this year, I became more and more immersed. The good and the bad swirled inside me. On the one hand, I condemned what I read and, on the other hand, I was able to identify with the ESP methods that were expressed in the cult. That’s because I’ve seen how they work in my daily life. (There is a history of this, of course, because my former boss also used ESP methods to teach some of us at work.)

    And here’s the thing. I’ve had an affinity for the subject before, and I’ve seen it work well. I’ve become more receptive to another thing I don’t know. Of course, the articles and the story speak for themselves, but I can tell you that I had a point where I waved. Right at my place, when I thought I knew myself so well.

    That is why I (also) say, in defence of the influence of witnesses, that I do not think it covers reality. Not at this level. I would add that I work in a job where managers least look at who is what sex.

    And let’s take into account that a person who can develop can, to this end, overshadow his or her own self and follow what he or she looks like an effective guide. From now on, looking at the methods of NXIVM, it is not difficult to imagine and understand why everything happened the way it happened.

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg; “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson; “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been featured prominently on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and acted as lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He was credited in the Starz docuseries, 'Seduced,' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato has appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest, which was ironic since many credit Parlato as being one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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