Editor’s Note: This is Part 6 of the “From Prison: Keith Raniere” series on the subject of his co-defendants’ innocence.
In this article, Raniere writes about his longtime follower, Kathy Russell.
By Keith Raniere
Kathy is an exceptionally one-pointed and devoted person. Over the many years of our relationship Kathy has always been there: supportive. Immovable, solid and caring. She is loyal, embodying these traits, for all people she loves.
At one point, she learned her ex-boyfriend, who was much older than her, was in his final days in Florida. She traveled to Florida to be with him and care for him during his final time on this earth. I greatly admire her for that level of consideration and care, even for a person with whom she had not communicated for a very long time. She honored their past time together, and demonstrated the essence of what it means to truly bond with another person in life: they become part of you forever, and you never forget them even though the years may pass.
Kathy is also a devoted ballet dancer, often studying in classes with people a third of her age; some going on to professional dancing careers. Her success in dance beyond her years comes in part from her daring nature. In the most positive way, Kathy has a well developed sense of dare and play.
When I first met her, she had discovered (through our intensive) she had a fear of failure. I remember in one instance, while pushing against this limitation, she found a failure within her conduct and wrote in large letters on a pad in front of the room, “l failed” and gave the task and her name: she wanted to push, break-through, and do whatever it took to go beyond the fear by doing the thing.
I think she might have joked that the last thing she wanted to do was fail at getting rid of her fear of failure!
Most importantly, although I had neglected my relationship with Kathy (see My Participation below), when my partner (and Kathy’s friend) Pam Cafritz was dying, Kathy stepped up and helped tremendously including being there during her final hours at home, and supporting Pam and me during her final hours in the hospital. With Kathy, there was no doubt of her support, caring, and love.
Motivation to Plea:
Kathy waited until the last minute to plea. This was very considerate and also, with Nancy, Lauren, and Allison already pleading, I believe the best thing to do. This process had already revealed itself to be improper and destined to convict me. Had she not plead, she would have likely gotten caught in the hate and convicted also.
Kathy is innocent. Her plea was for unrelated activity and she was not required to plea to any of the charges in the indictment. She was therefore not required to plea to RICO (l suspect the prosecution also wanted to focus on just me so wanted her out of the case).
During my trial, the alleged crimes with which she was initially indicted were presented. It is hard to believe Kathy would have been found guilty (although with this hateful process, I believe it could have happened).
The first crime accused Kathy of participating in improperly capturing a person’s [James Loperfido] keystrokes on their computer, thus stealing their password, and improperly accessing their account through the internet. This person testified. He not only could not certify the alleged password was his (he said it “could have been” his), there was no data presented of improperly accessing his account or using the internet whatsoever.
In the second alleged crime, Kathy allegedly traveled to Canada give a fake Sheriff’s ID to a Mexican woman [Daniela] whose visa had expired. She allegedly crossed the border with the Mexican woman using this fake ID. This woman testified at trial to this scenario. Unfortunately for the prosecution there were no records of Kathy crossing the border either way — only a record of a person with information similar to what was on the fake ID crossing into the US by car alone. Either there were two separate mistakes at different times so that Kathy crossed the border undetected twice (very unlikely) or the story is not true.
Additionally, the Mexican woman testified Kathy was in the car with her, driving, and her papers were processed. None of this is consistent. The Mexican woman was caught in a number of critical inconsistencies throughout her testimony.
The only crime to which Kathy did plea was omitting information on an immigration report relating to a person working for NXIVM [Loreta Garza]. The person did everything (and more) sited in the immigration document, but this person’s work and ownership within another company (which I believe is a Mexican company), was not stated.
I certainly do not see the relevance of specifying this project, for the work and position specified within the documentation was accurate and true. Additionally, this person was not paid for her other work within her company, only from NXIVM as documented. From the law’s perspective, she could have been doing charity work. In the least, no one was hurt, no monies were misappropriated, and no one was even indirectly slighted. Should such a thing really be considered a crime? I am at a disadvantage for I do not know the full circumstances, but her plea, combined with what I do know of the person’s performance and job, would render the alleged crime moot if not untrue.
- (Career) Kathy is innocent. Her career is in accounting. A felony conviction will greatly diminish her possibilities of employment in her field of expertise. She plead guilty, to minimize damages, because of a coercive, corrupt system, and was able to plea to considerably less than what she was charged. Additionally, the courts often penalize a person for going to trial if they are found guilty. With all risks considered, including my highly inflammatory case, she picked the best of multiple bad worlds.
- (Quality of life) It is likely Kathy will not have to be incarcerated. This will allow her to continue her life, be with her son, and not suffer the problems of spending time in prison.
- (Trial) Her plea allowed my attorneys to present whatever defense I had without distraction. Although the result was not good, the expected fair result would have allowed for a more focused trial for me. The unprecedented inappropriateness of my trial could not have been anticipated.
- In general, I did not connect with Kathy as I should have. I did not maintain a good balance between my life, my other relationships, and my relationship with Kathy. As a result, I was often separate from Kathy, relying on her virtues to compensate lack of attention. To honor Kathy appropriately, I needed to spend far more time and effort directly within the relationship and also brought her into my life more deeply.
- (Separation) Kathy and I had issues that separated us. Because she was steadfast, I allowed the resolution of these issues to always be on a back burner. In this way I took her virtues for granted.
- (No Complaints) Kathy is not the type to complain. This is a virtue for she does not want to add to other problems especially with someone like myself who faces many challenges. She is the best teammate in this way. Here again, by not connecting with her, assuming all was acceptable (this does not mean good), I abused her virtue of patience and moral of not complaining. In my beliefs, it is the non-complainers who should often be rewarded.