Raniere Appellate Lawyers Speak Out About His Appeal

Joseph McBride appears on the Law and Crime Network defending Keith Raniere.

Keith Raniere’s new appellate attorneys, Joseph McBride, Steven Metcalf and Martin Tankleff, are trying to get the word out about their client’s upcoming appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Here are some of their comments from recent media interviews.

Law and Crime Network

Law and Crime Network, a fairly new live trial network similar to Court TV, published an interview with McBride, Metcalf and Tankleff.

Convicted NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere is planning to appeal his 120-year prison sentence based on alleged courtroom error and complaints that he didn’t receive a fair trial.

Raniere Lawyer Steven Alan Metcalf Portrait Headshot
Steven Alan Metcalf II,

Defense attorney Steven Metcalf made the case for his client, who is currently recovering from COVID-19, during a Thursday appearance on the Law & Crime Network.

“You have a legitimate business that’s operating with hundreds of people who are benefiting from it and are actually gaining tremendous life experiences as a result of it–and employed—and all of a sudden that becomes deemed a federal RICO,” the attorney argued—referring to Mafia-focused, anti-racketeering legislation which makes charging criminal conspiracies relatively easy for federal prosecutors.

“That federal RICO, the charges that could result to sex-trafficking charges, 100 percent tainted the entire proceedings going forward, from the beginning to the end,” Metcalf argued. “It had chilling effects on the defense that could have been presented.

“The evidence presented at trial to produce and substantiate these charges was completely different than those victim impact statements and that’s what we are claiming was lacking at the trial level,” Metcalf added…

Raniere Lawyer Joseph D McBride Portrait Headshot
Joseph D. McBride

Raniere defense attorney Joseph McBride also leveled a series of more vague complaints about the trial and investigative process during an appearance on the Law & Crime Network.

“There are a lot of questions,” he said. “There are a lot of holes. We have a lot of questions about the FBI’s work in this case. People here were hurt on some level but the question is about criminality. The question is about proving each element of each crime beyond a reasonable doubt. We don’t think that the government did that in this case.”

Law &Crime Daily host Brian Buckmire noted that over 15 victims testified against Raniere and that five women in his inner circle pleaded guilty to exchanging sexual favors and to branding many of those women who were lower down the hierarchy in what Smallville‘s Allison Mack termed a “secret society.” [See editor’s note at the bottom of this story to discuss the factual mistakes in this paragraph] 

The host also drew attention to post-trial allegations from at least one woman that Raniere used video footage to blackmail his alleged sex slaves and keep them in line.

“That’s not people’s feelings, I would argue, that’s just what came out, and I don’t see how that’s interpreted differently,” Buckmire said.

Metcalf, in a preview of the defense’s appeal, pointed out that many of those allegations were not used as part of the prosecution’s case during the trial itself.

“Those weren’t used as part of the government’s proof,” the defense attorney said. “Those were used as part of showing and establishing restitution and how that ultimately led a judge to sentence this man to 120 years. So that impacted, even the judge’s view, and ultimately led to that sentencing.”

“The evidence presented at trial to produce and substantiate these charges was completely different than those victim impact statements and that’s what we are claiming was lacking at the trial level,” Metcalf added.

CBS’ KOLD: ‘There Are… Challengeable Issues’

According to CBS affiliate KOLD:

Before his sentencing, Raniere maintained his innocence. And now attorneys are hoping to “repaint the picture” with an appeal.

“This is such a voluminous case and a voluminous file that, already, there are various different challengeable issues that can be raised in this point in time… so the teams that we have put together, and that are working together, feel strong in our positions,” says attorney Steven Metcalf.

“Errors are always possible, and when errors are possible- and the only way to ensure somebody was properly convicted, and to make sure that the constitution was properly followed – we have to take the appeal,” says attorney Martin Tankleff.

But the attorneys have made it clear, they just want the truth and are not negating the pain that many say they have endured at the hands of Raniere.

“Even if Keith were guilty on the facts, which we certainly believe that he is not, but even if he were, he has to lose by the rules,” McBride told KOLD. “There is a system of laws and procedures set in place and if somebody’s going to lose their trial, it’s got to be a fair trial. They’ve got to lose on the facts, by the rules. And if they don’t, then it’s a no-go.”

The attorneys say Raniere is eager and ready to begin this undertaking with a new legal team, and say there is an element of finality for him right now, as Tucson will be his home for the foreseeable future.

Rochester First: ‘Raniere Always Treated Unfairly’

According to Rochester First:

Lawyers Martin Tankleff, Joseph McBride, and Steven Metcalf II have joined the convicted sex trafficker’s legal team. Metcalf’s firm is affiliated with Christopher Darden, a prosecutor in the O.J Simpson trial.

“We believe that when there’s a full presentation, the court of appeals will reverse this case,” Tankleff told NEWS10ABC.

Raniere was recently transferred to a prison in Arizona, a move his team disagreed with. However, their request to keep him in Brooklyn was denied by the trial judge. U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis. Raniere is currently recovering from COVID-19, according to his lawyers, and they say they want to raise that on the appeal.

“He went from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania,” Metcalf explained, “then there were various different trips before he actually got to Arizona…we later learned how grueling [that process] was.”

They say this journey also came at a time when they wanted to meet with Raniere to discuss the ongoing restitution process.

“We do wholeheartedly believe that if this were anyone else, he would’ve been treated very differently,” said McBride, “but because it was Keith Raniere, he was treated unfairly. That seems to be the ongoing theme with him.”


In this courtroom sketch, India Oxenberg reads her victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing of Keith Raniere. Raniere sits with his lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, inside the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, on October 27, 2020, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis presiding. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Setting the Record Straight on Law & Crime Host’s Comments

Editor’s note: The following is not meant to say that Raniere did not commit many egregious acts. But it is important to get the facts right:

If Law & Crime Daily host Brian Buckmire was quoted accurately, his statements about the case are not accurate. He reportedly said that “over 15 victims testified against Raniere and that five women in his inner circle pleaded guilty to exchanging sexual favors and to branding many of those women who were lower down the hierarchy [of DOS].”

The people who actually testified at trial as to being victims of Raniere were seven [not 15]. They are Mark Vicente, Sylvie, Daniela, Lauren Salzman, Nicole, James Loperfido, and Jessica Joan AKA Jaye.

Generally, testifying that is done at a trial is under oath and subject to cross-examination. This is not the same as reading a victim impact statement before the court at a sentencing hearing. There were 14 people who read victim impact statements at Raniere’s sentencing hearing. These statements were not made under oath and were not subject to cross-examination.

Buckmire also said that “five women in his inner circle pleaded guilty to exchanging sexual favors and to branding.” This also is inaccurate. None of the five women who pleaded allocuted to exchanging sexual favors or branding. Nancy Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering, without any sexual crimes or branding. Kathy Russell and Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty to acts of fraud, without any sexual element or branding.  Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy – without any admission to any sexual crimes or acts or branding. However, Allison and Lauren were involved in branding. Allison was also involved in subjecting her slaves to seduce Raniere, which formed the basis of Raniere’s sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking charges.


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2 years ago

May attorneys in the U.S. accept money from anonymous sources for the defense of their clients? May lawyers accept money for swearing in their clients if there is doubt as to whether this money comes from criminal acts or indirectly from profits from investments of capital acquired from criminal acts? Are attorneys guilty of money laundering if they accept money when there is doubt as to whether that money comes from crimes?

Jane Smith
Jane Smith
2 years ago

Victim impact statements are neither here nor there to guilt, just to sentencing and even without a single one, he was rightly jailed.

Cults do much harm and when they are as litigious as Nxivm and Scientology, catching them out is very hard. The prosecutors here did a very good job of providing precise crimes and I doubt an appeal will succeed.

Heidi H
Heidi H
2 years ago

Now, are these new attorneys permitted to send out flying monkeys, collude with police, ex-spouses, etc. and otherwise spend Bronfman and Salinas loot under Raniere’s on-going orders or maybe just out of greedy, goon grubbing for their slice like those corrupt M’fers working out of Coffey’s office in Albany?

Trowel still investigating that public corruption concern?

Also, why are all these new assholes so bald and bearded…so young?

Thank you, Ms. McClintock. Impressive research.

2 years ago

I truly wish I had the transcript so I could connect the dots. Other than media, I don’t know if the impact statements are in line with the testimony or not.

That aside, my opinion:

Clearly, the use of RICO was a brilliant strategy by the prosecution and an effective one. RICO also allows the introduction of ancillary evidence, such as the victim impact statements. It all goes to the issue of “pattern” of racketeering activity.

In 2014, the Second Circuit relaxed the requirements of proving “enterprise” so you don’t even need a corporation anymore. The result? Bootleggers of cigarettes got convicted under RICO.

This case presents facts far more egregious than selling cigarettes. It involves branding, brainwashing, nude photos of a 15-year-old, locking a girl in a room for two years, deception, and let’s not forget those GUILTY PLEAS, with all defendants being represented by really great attorneys.

So is it illegal to sue someone? No. Is it illegal to sue someone for leaving an alleged cult?

Throw in a lack of remorse, ” did nothing wrong”, and the shenanigans by followers outside the gate, and I think a difficult appeal lies ahead.

My opinion. Can’t wait to read more.

2 years ago
Reply to  FMN

The transcripts are on Reddit- r/theNxivmcase. You have to scroll a bit but most of them are there.

Pro Bono ?
Pro Bono ?
2 years ago

Are these new attorneys so convinced that Raniere Is innocent and that he will win on appeal that they are willing to do their work pro bono and return whoever’s money they accepted for their retainers (Cafritz estate, Bronfmans, Salinas, Boone, etc.)???

What say you all? Do you believe so fervently in Raniere’s innocence and that his trial and conviction were so unfair that you are willing to work pro bono?

What about Clare? Not one shred of support from any of the former NXIVM leadership or acolytes for Clare. Why is that? Why isn’t Clare’s conviction being appealed with such veracity? All of NXIVM had their hand in her pocketbook, surely she deserves a gaggle of pricey attorneys heralding her innocence and fighting for her on appeal? It will also be interesting to see if Raniere penned a missive about Clare’s innocence as he did for Nancy. Doubtful he did as it was always about her money. Neither he (nor any of the others) really ever cared about her at all, it was a long con she fell for. Not even Suneel, who was so close to her he was ensconced in her home, has uttered one word of support for her.

K.R. Claviger
2 years ago
Reply to  Pro Bono ?

Per the terms of her plea agreement, Clare can only challenge the portion of her sentence that called for her to be imprisoned for more than 27-months. All other aspects of her sentencing — i.e., her guilt, the fines, the special assessment, the cash forfeiture, etc. — are not appealable.

I think it’s inevitable that Clare will appeal the “extra” 54 months that judge Garaufis added on to the 27-month maximum that she had agreed to as part of her plea deal. But I think her chances of getting any major reduction in that sentence are very slim (Even if the Second Circuit Court of Appeals finds that the 81-months in federal prison is not justified, it will simply send the case back to Judge Garaufis for re-sentencing).

As for why no one from NXIVM/ESP has spoken out on behalf of Clare, I think the cult was a lot like a beehive. There was only one “Queen” — in this case, it was Keith. Everyone else was a drone — even the one with all the money.

2 years ago
Reply to  K.R. Claviger

‘As for why no one from NXIVM/ESP has spoken out on behalf of Clare, I think the cult was a lot like a beehive. There was only one “Queen” — in this case, it was Keith. Everyone else was a drone — even the one with all the money.’

Truth, Claviger, The only strategy behind a pyramidal power structure is divide and rule – works intrinsically how Keith rules Nxium but can also be used against you as in a court of law or all [successful] challenges to Keith’s power the only defense against divide and rule is to stand undivided, which is why he is speaking the sentimental cant of togetherness and forgiveness to gird against the inevitable disintegration, but however elaborate, lies just don’t have the staying power of fact-based truth.

2 years ago

Well, Stanley Tucci has his role in the next film.

A frequent contributor
A frequent contributor
2 years ago

Josie McBraid fails to explain why all these defence arguments have been nonchalantly omitted by Raniere at trial. Was he too busy fantasising about masturbating himself or being masturbated while sitting down with great self control in the Court room pretending to be listening to proceedings?

I mean, I can’t think of another reason why it would have slipped his mind to present this when the time was right.

2 years ago

Why can poor Raniere afford so many expensive attorneys, but no ghostwriter to write for him, or at least someone to proofread and improve his writing?

2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Great question!

2 years ago

This statement – or whatever it is – really has changed nothing regarding Raniere’s status. A lawyer’s job is to muddy the waters, often by lying or exaggerating the merits of the case to the press and public. It’s a skill they develop over time and, well, it’s no accident so many of them eventually become politicians. However, once they get into court, the standards get much much tighter. An example of that is with the recent “stolen election” cases. The lawyers made all kinds of statements about evidence, release Krakens, eyewitnesses, and more. Yet, whenever they appeared before judges, they presented none of that because none could hold up in court and they knew it. To attempt to present that information as “fact” could have literally led to their disbarment. And keep in mind, most of those cases were in front of GOP-appointed judges.

Ultimately, these lawyers really have only three avenues to go down, all of them incredibly difficult and it will take not months to complete but years, possibly up to a decade:
1) Prove essentially prosecution misconduct
2) Prove significant error on the part of the court
3) Prove inadequate defense that was ignored by the court < I suspect this will be their real angle of approach.

I think their goal is the Supreme Court but to be realistic, they would have to come up with some very unique shit in this case for that to be viable and that is not going to happen. That means the case will ultimately be up to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. To say Keith's defense has a mountain to climb is like calling Mount Everest a hill. Can it be climbed? Sure. Will Keith still be alive when they reach the summit? I have my doubts.

Clifton Parker
Clifton Parker
2 years ago
Reply to  erasend

“release Krakens”…. is that a nod to Seattle’s new NHL team? 🏒🏒

2 years ago

Nothing to see here. All part of a guilty person’s process.

Can’t put on a potent defense (due to the evidence against him). Don’t take the stand in your own defense (because he’d incriminate himself and make it worse because he’s guilty).

So pretend incompetent counsel after guilty verdict. Because if there were supposedly so many irregularities during trial what else could it be? Oh yeah, an “unfair” justice system.

Poor, little, white man. Only 60K worth of assets admitted to (another lie), yet able to afford another set of million dollar lawyers. Yeah, he sure has it rough in an “unfair” justice system. Maybe he should have been left in a jail in Mexico and dealt with theirs without access to any of his Mexican or rich “friends”. What was that plot again he came up with for Susan Donnes, Kristin Keeffe, and others again?

What a psycho. Lied his entire life. Still lying. Same old song and dance.

About the Author

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

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato 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. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankreport76@gmail.com


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