Part 4: Cami Pics ‘Tampered but True?’ That Cami Did Not Testify at Trial Raises Legal Questions on Pics on Appeal

Canon Camera EOS 20D

This is Part 4 of Tampered but True? series where we examine the possibility that two apparently contradictory things are both true: That a 45-year-old Keith Raniere did take nude photographs and began an abusive sexual relationship with Cami when she was 15 – and that, in order to convict him, the FBI might have tampered with dates on a camera card.

Part 1: Cami Pics Tampered but True? 

Part 2 Cami Pics Tampered but True? EXIF Data Is Hard to Change… Is It Really?

Part 3: Cami Pics Tampered but True? Cami Says It’s True; She Was Photographed at Age 15 By Raniere

This series would be of little relevance had the FBI not lost custody of the camera card by which they established the dates of the pictures. The alleged dates of the Cami pictures were November 2, 2005 and November 24, 2005 – at which time Cami was 15 years old.

Keep in mind that the hard drive where the pics were found was made in 2007.  So the original source of the dates of the pictures is the camera card, the one the FBI lost custody of and then regained custody.

According to the FBI, the pictures were taken by this model Canon camera in 2005.

 

They were stored on a Lexar camera card. Then, according to the FBI, transferred to the hard drive sometime after 2007.

Raniere’s appellate attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, made certain legal arguments in her appeal of Raniere’s conviction about Cami and the pictures.

Jennifer Bonjean authored the appeal for Keith Raniere. She addressed what she considers the appealable issues with the Cami pictures in detail.

Bonjean writes in the appeal:

“Less than 60 days before trial was scheduled to commence, the government filed a superseding indictment, charging Defendant with additional racketeering acts, including sexual exploitation of a child arising from the discovery of a number of nude of photos of Camila on a hard drive, allegedly created on November 2, 2005 and November 24, 2005 when Camila was 15 years old. (Dkt. No. 434)

“The government also charged Defendant with an act of possession of child pornography as a result of maintaining the images on the hard drive. Id.

“Camila did not testify about the circumstances under which the photographs were obtained, nor did she identify who was responsible for taking the photos that were allegedly recovered from the hard drive.

“However, the government presented testimony from FBI agent [Brian] Booth, who told the jury that through forensic examination of a camera card and hard drive recovered from 8 Hale Drive, a location utilized by the Defendant although not exclusively, he concluded that the images were taken on November 2 and November 24, 2005. (R.4873-4880)

Keith Raniere in his library at 8 Hale Drive

“In addition to admitting [as evidence] the nude photos of Camila, the government admitted, over defense objection, 167 nude photos of Defendant’s adult consensual sex partners, the vast majority of which focused on their genitalia. (R.4797-4805; 4842-4843)

“The government presented other testimony that supported its theory that the Defendant and Camila had an intimate relationship in late 2005, but the details of the genesis of the relationship were limited.

“Over defense counsel’s objection (R.3487-3490), the government introduced 1500 pages of chat messages between Defendant and Camila, mostly from 2014 when Camila was in her mid-20s. (R.3440-3675) Although approximately 3 pages of those messages intimated that Defendant and Camila began some type of relationship when she was underage, the remaining messages were introduced to show the jury the nature of Defendant and Camila’s relationship when she was an adult. Id.

“Also over defense counsel’s objection, the government was permitted to apprise the jury that Daniela, Camila, Marianna, and Pam had abortions after being impregnated by Defendant. (R.2278) Part of that evidence included Daniela and Camila’s medical records from the abortion and ultrasound images of eventually aborted fetuses. (R.3281-3282)”

In another section of the appeal entitled: Where Camila Did Not Testify, the Government Failed to Prove the Child Exploitation Charges, Allegedly Committed on November 2 and 24, 2005.

Bonjean writes:

“Defendant was charged with two acts of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography in connection with a number of nude photos of a 15-year-old Camila that were recovered from a hard drive located in the residence of 8 Hale Drive. (GX518A-U)

“Because Camila did not testify, the mere presence of photos on a back-up drive recovered from a location to which Defendant and countless others had access was insufficient to establish that Defendant intentionally induced or coerced Camila to take part in sexually explicit conduct 13 years earlier.

“Although the government allegedly discerned through forensic analysis of a camera card that the photographs recovered from a hard drive were taken on November 2 and 24, 2005, no evidence was presented at trial regarding the circumstances of how the photos came to be in existence or maintained on the hard drive.

“Instead, the jury was left to complete a narrative based entirely on speculation and conjecture rather than competent evidence or fair inferences therefrom.

“Under section 2251(a), the government was required to prove, inter alia, that Defendant “employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, or coerced” Camila to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. 18 U.S.C. §2256 2(A).

“Although Defendant does not contest that the photos admitted into evidence as GX518A-U (R.4873) are photos of Camila, the photos alone, even if recovered from a hard drive to which the Defendant may have had access at some point in time, cannot establish by proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant employed, used, persuaded, enticed, coerced Camila to participate in the taking of the photographs on November 2 and 24, 2005 – over 13 years before they were recovered. (R.4305) To hold otherwise would be to conflate the offense of possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a child which requires a showing of something more than mere possession of the pornographic material.

“Without Camila’s testimony, the origins of Defendant and Camila’s relationship is simply unknown. However, the government presented some evidence through Daniela’s testimony and messages between Camila and Defendant that suggest their relationship began before her 16th birthday. But the mere fact of an inappropriate, even sexual relationship, does not satisfy the government’s burden since the record is devoid of any specific evidence regarding what, if anything, occurred on November 2 and 24, 2005.

“Courts have often remarked that a Defendant’s wrongful intent is normally demonstrated through inferences drawn from the Defendant’s conduct. “The state of a person’s mind is rarely susceptible to proof by direct evidence, and usually must be inferred from evidence of his or her acts, but is no less a question of fact for that.” United States v. Crowley, 318 F. 3d 401, 409 (2d Cir. 2003).

“In the case at bar, the government presented no evidence of Defendant’s conduct on November 2 and 24, 2005. Thus, the jury was forced to speculate not only about the conduct that occurred but whether the Defendant possessed the requisite state of mind. In short, the mere presence of nude photos of Camilla on a hard drive that untold numbers of people had access to discovered 13 years after the picture was allegedly taken simply cannot prove that Defendant took the photo in the manner and for the purpose prohibited by the statute in November 2005…

“[T]he government’s burden [is] to present evidence of the conduct prohibited by the statute and that it may not simply ask a jury to assume such conduct occurred (with the requisite mental state) because the prohibited material was found “in possession” of the Defendant 13 years later. Defendant’s alleged possession of the pornographic material is not synonymous with taking the photographs.

“As set forth in Argument III, infra, the government inundated the jury with hundreds of pages of email communications between the Defendant and Camila numerous years later, a fraction of which were arguably relevant to show that Defendant and Camila engaged in a sexual relationship when she was underage, but which shed no light on the circumstances of the photographs obtained in November 2005. The jury’s contempt for the Defendant and their hunch that he was responsible for taking the photo cannot satisfy the government’s
burden”.

End of Bonjean’s excerpt from the appeal…

Raniere May Have Taken Photos, but Government Lacked Proof

The reality may well be that the photos were of Cami when she was 15. There was testimony from her older sister, Daniela, about a lack of an appendectomy scar in the photos. As I recall, Daniela testified that Cami got her appendectomy when she was 16. The lack of a scar in the pictures seems to date the pictures to an age prior to age 16.

However, the supporters of Raniere, always ready to give an alternative argument for any kind of evidence that condemns their friend, say that scars are not always clearly visible in pictures and that the pictures might be of an older Cami, but because of light and shadow, the scars might be there, but not seen in the photo.

Another, less plausible explanation they offer, and without evidence, is that the scars were removed by photoshop or some program that can touch-up or change photos.

The Nxivm-5: Marc Elliot. Suneel Chakravorty, Michele Hatchette, Eduardo Asunsolo, and Nicki Clyne began to offer their views on the possibility of evidence tampering by the FBI in the weeks leading up to Keith Raniere’s sentencing in October 2020.

But the lingering doubt remains: the linchpin is the camera card that dated of the pics, the same camera card that the FBI seems to have lost custody of for a time.

If the FBI let the device get out of their custody on purpose, so that the IT date could be “reestablished” to conform with the dates on or around the dates they truly believed the photographs were taken – in other words, to alter the data to conform with the truth – it is still a crime and I would like to see the prosecution of those responsible just as if they would be prosecuted if they were any other species of citizen.

It is important since one of the racketeering predicate acts in the Raniere prosecution was that he and others conspired to alter a video in the Rick Ross/Morris Sutton litigation – a civil matter – and the alteration was eliminating some portions of a video where Nancy Salzman makes claims of NXIVM being able to cure or heal illnesses.

If altering video evidence in a civil case is racketeering, where only money is at stake, then what is altering evidence in a criminal trial where a person’s liberty is at stake?

The allegation is there from the supporters of Raniere. I am making no claim that it is true or untrue. I am merely reviewing the evidence we have so far.

That the evidence that surrounds the lost camera card being the most important of the entire case makes it imperative to review this.

I don’t care how much anyone hates Raniere. I don’t care if everyone knows that Raniere raped Cami when she was 15.

What is far more serious is that if the government can change evidence by losing a camera card to convict a guilty man, they can do it to convict an innocent man.

In our next part, we will examine Judge Nicholas Garaufis’ view of Keith Raniere’s relationship with Cami.


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Frank Parlato

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  • You know, it’s just a weird hunch, maybe nothing more than a product of my wild imagination but part of me wonders if the FBI used “just enough” of their evidence to lock this guy up forever. Maybe they know a lot more than they are letting on and the situation is way worse than the “sex cult” headlines would indicate.

    I mean, we are talking about a guy who desired the world’s most wealthy and influential women to be numbered, branded with his initials (or Allison’s so he could shift the blame to her) and blackmailed (by their peers – more blame-shifting here). They conducted psychological terror experiments on people. He applied for a whole bunch of patents, some of them quite silly and others quite disturbing.

    I look at all this and wonder to myself, really? What was this guy trying to do? I believe he wanted mind-controlled slaves. He even wanted to implant people with devices that he could control with a virtual keyboard or mouse. Here’s the quote from that patent:

    “implanting a bio-signal sensing device in one of a region of a shoulder, a back or a neck; detecting a bio-signal of a nervous system; calibrating a bio-signal measuring unit of said bio-signal sensing device to reflect real-time conditions of a user; generating a command for operation of said electronic device; and generating said bio-signal by physically typing on a virtual keyboard.”

    The more I read it (and it’s quite funny, actually, how it uses Bluetooth, lol!), the more it sounds like he wanted to be able to either control or read what people were typing or both. Here’s another quote:

    “After a digital figure is generated from an analog for an action potential of neurons in the axillary nerve of the shoulder that send sensations to the deltoid muscle, the command unit 207 may correlate the digital figure to the first letter of the alphabet “a” for operating the electronic device 300 (step 1802 of FIG. 18). In FIG. 19, a digital figure generated from an analog for an action potential of neurons in the axillary nerve of rotator cuff that send sensations to the teres minor muscle may be correlated to the second letter of the alphabet “b” on the keyboard display screen using the command unit (step 1902).”

    I’m not saying this joke of an idea is anything to be worried about. It’s just evidence of how sick the man is that he desires this amount of control.

    It’s no secret this guy was up to absolutely no good. No question about it. Sure, maybe it’s a bit far-fetched to believe such a lazy guy who only slept and walked and had sex and played volleyball was positioning himself to become the world’s greatest human trafficker. But it certainly would explain the rainbow cultural gardens as well as the blackmail and the branding.

    • Very interesting research on the patents, 2cents, thank you. Certainly agree that the depths of Raniere’s criminal psychopathy have not been fully plumbed. What there was in the shallows was easily sufficient for prosecution.

    • Very good comment. Not far-fetched at all. I’d add KAR had or has billions at his disposal (between the Bronfman and Mexican elite fortunes) combined with an enormous data bank of hacked, stolen information that may have included tech plans such as the Telmex project I believe he lifted from my ex-husband’s “ANTICIPA” project with Carlos Slim Helu’ and the late Alvin Toffler. MIT Media Lab was also involved on the tech development side. That may have become “Keith’s” phone system patent with an evil twist. I know my sister had a key logger on our computer for a fact and so does my ex-husband, Jeff Apple. I hope other unlawful surveillance victims can and will come forward. No telling what they’ve got in those files on whom and for what no good purpose.

      • Hmm, that’s interesting, Heidi.

        So many of the patents deal with non-stop audio, video and arial surveillance.

        The hopeful part of me will continue to believe that the intelligent type of people who would be working in a lab like at MIT probably have pretty good noses and would smell this pile of turd from a mile away.

        Guy didn’t even own a shirt but he sure stuck his name on a lot of patents!

  • Bravo, Frank. This is a very valuable series, and you are handling it masterfully.

    I worked for a software company that made Property and Evidence software for police and sheriff’s departments around the country. I have been in many property and evidence rooms, walked through their security procedures, studied and discussed their all-important chain of custody protocols, met with national experts in property and evidence handling, and gone out drinking with lots of property and evidence cops.

    You don’t lose evidence like this by accident.

    Alanzo

    • No one at the FBI ever said it was “lost”. Booth just said HE didn’t know who accessed it.

      But I’m sure the FBI could find out very easily by checking with their employees. That the multimillion-dollar defense didn’t care to delve into this could mean that they were playing strategy here to throw doubt due to the chain of custody issue but they didn’t really want it to be investigated further because it was likely just some government employee checking the wrong piece of evidence and the FBI could easily find out who did so. They could then be recalled to testify to it if it was ever necessary. Obviously, the prosecution and the jury found it irrelevant due to much weightier evidence.

      The amount of time spent on this issue that amounts to nothing and won’t affect the appeal means that the NXIVM dead-enders are left grasping at straws.

      • The chain of custody was lost.

        For a property and evidence official, this is similar to a Brinks truck driver giving away free money in the bank parking lot “by accident” or a physician injecting his patient with rat poison from an oozing black jar with a skull & crossbones on it.

        It’s the exact opposite of the purpose of your whole job. You should never assume that something this serious was an accident.

        The prosecution, and obviously the judge, is hoping that most people who aren’t familiar with issues of chain of custody will not see this collosal “failure”. And if they do notice it, they’ll think it’s just a “clerical error”.

        “Prosecuter: Oopsie your honor. The Brinks truck driver just accidentally gave away $100k in the parking lot again!”

        “Again?? That silly-billy!”

        No. This evidence should be thrown out and the prosecutors and the judge sanctioned for even presenting and accepting it in a criminal trail.

        • That’s a terribly false equivalence, especially the second one about the doctor which is obviously not remotely close so it isn’t even worth responding to.

          The first one about the Brinks truck would only be equivalent if the camera card was given away and never returned. What would be more equivalent to the Brinks truck analogy for what the FBI did with the camera card (but still not so because the evidence never left FBI premises) is if the manager of the fleet of Brinks vehicles didn’t know which driver or crew had checked out some 100K to be delivered but for some reason didn’t deliver it and came back with intact and in full with some marks on it that didn’t affect its value.

  • As we approach the last month of spring, take a look at the flurries of stimulated human activities, and everything is more vivid and fast, quicksilver. There’s more rapidfire communicativeness happening, not only one to the other and personally, but it is reflecting worldwide.

    Danny Masterson has appeared in court for the past two days along with Mesereau, his German Shepherd. Smug in the face of his victims’ testimony, as they relive their experiences with him publicly, hoping grounds are found to bring an opportunity for some justice. Three really awful sexual crimes are being described, once again, in court.

    Then there’s Gaza aflame. This never bodes well. So seemingly complex how people will not live as neighbors. Fuck it all. But there isn’t a choice. Here it ALL is. Over and over and over again.

    Now Frank could very well be a Taurus man whose moon position upon birth was Gemini. Busy, busy, busy and especially right now? Phone calls, conversations, flirtations(?) AND it all seems faster? Faster than usual?

    And “usual” was “faster” enough already?

    Ride ’em cowboy. What else can one do or not do? Sometimes there’s barely a moment to eat or to sleep. Ah yes! If it isn’t like this already and has yet to all speed up, once it does, there’s faith. Faith that this, too shall pass! How incredibly spicy life is.

    There, so dolesome and spouting blame and pouting malevolently, sits an elephant. An elephantine heffalump, whose ass would gladly smother a young woman or a young man and hand them a life of extra special trauma and pain.

    That elephant is gigantic, and these argumentations are pinpricks into a thick, thick hide. It is not all that distracting, though.

    Raniere appears to be quite appropriately housed. That does matter. Everything is going to be all right. It looks to be a pretty cheap bet.

    Sometimes things can become temperamental, yes? This Raniere appeal is not getting to me at all, not in the least. But pick away. It’s going to happen anyway. This picking away isn’t a bad thing.

    I just see a different sort of a envisioning about the entire matter.

  • Is there evidence that the government altered evidence?

    There is also a lot more evidence of the Cami and Keith relationship that incriminates him: the scar, abortion dates, texts celebrating the first time they had sex, Daniela’s testimony, etc.
    Why is that allegedly not enough?

    Do you feel, Frank, that Suneel is brainwashing you?

    • No. Suneel is probably not brainwashing me. But I am trying to brainwash him, trying to get him to realize that Keith did have sex with underage females. He asks me for proof. That’s fair enough. I am trying to get it for him.

      • “No. Suneel is not brainwashing me.”

        That’s exactly what someone getting brainwashed would say!

        Poor bastard, it’s already too late.

      • Had a feeling that’s what you were up to, Frank, and bless your kind heart.

        In defense of all people, it’s scary to think that child pornography could somehow be planted and a person charged as a result. I believe John Tighe has a claim that this happened to him. I’ve read about it on this blog.

        I’m not really sure if technology will ever be able to prove 100% anything, ever. Maybe not till blockchain rules our every single moment. Like, everywhere you go and every movement you make is cross-verified.

        Until then, I think it up to humanity to exercise good judgment, fairness and common sense. In our current state, these are some of the best tools that we have.

        I come from the outside and really don’t understand why due process and 100% fact is so important to Suneel and his friends given the larger context. People (including possibly yourself, Frank?) seem to view the single photo as a lynchpin. The most damnable piece of evidence in the whole entire trial. I so disagree. All it really takes is to look at the gross amount of cash stored in Nancy Salzman’s house, the litany of lawsuits, the binder of vulvas, the quantity of forced labor complaints, etc. This guy was a crime boss, for sure.

        But I appreciate you for trying to obtain the hardest version of the truth. I’m also really hoping that somehow a “total verification” (yes or no) can happen but I doubt that it will.

        If it can’t? Should the charge be thrown out? I’m not so sure. I don’t know much about the law but I have a human heart.

        I think if there were zero evidence that Keith was ever anything other than the celibate he claimed to be? That there was no other evidence of impropriety? Then this single picture should be dismissed, absolutely!

        But since this is not the case, I think it ought to remain as an artifact of reasonable doubt. I think the FBI somewhat admitted that it’s very hard to prove for sure what happened with this photo. But the jury understood this and still convicted him anyway. It’s because of the context. It is no stretch of the imagination to believe that Keith 100% took that photo of Cami.

        Anyway, thank you so much for your work. I really enjoy your thought-provoking content and being able to share back and forth with others in this forum.

        • Let me, once again, remind all Frank Report readers that the charge of Possession of Child Pornography was dismissed by Judge Garaufis for lack of jurisdiction — and referred to the Northern District of New York for prosecution (The fact that the NDNY will never do anything with this charge is frustrating but irrelevant for the purpose of this discussion).

          What the nude picture of Cami at the age of 15 was used for in Keith’s trial was to support three (3) of the sixteen (16) predicate acts that were the basis of the charge of Racketeering. And since the jury found that the prosecution had “Proved” that Keith committed all 16 of those predicate acts, I think it’s safe to say that they still would have found him guilty of committing the other 13 unrelated predicate acts.

          Does anyone seriously believe that the jury would have found Keith “Not Guilty” of Racketeering if three of the alleged predicate acts were thrown out? If so, then they probably also believe that Keith is going to win on appeal, be offered a plea deal where he is sentenced to “time served’ or simply not re-tried at all, and that he will return to Clifton Park to resume his mission to save the world.

          C’mon people, you’re better than that!

    • Mexican Lady,

      Regarding your question to Frank;
      if Frank is truly brainwashed, we should expect him to immediately/steadfastly deny it.

      In other words, Frank will be defensive.

  • I’m really getting tired about reading about this singular camera issue! Keith Raniere has devoted his life to hustling and taking advantage of people in so many more ways than taking enough photos of his nude conquests to fill probably several albums. Let’s see more articles or blogs about just how broad Raniere”s crimes were for so many years and stop printing srtories about how he might get off on some off the wall left field camera technicality!!!

    • I enthusiastically agree, Anon above. (My Lords, do not post this comment beneath or anywhere near they who bespeak the joys of May/February Union.).

      This camera card biz is all droning on and on beyond distraction. Which is what it is IHMO (In Her Majesty’s Opinion.) A HUGE DISTRACTION that is wrought of DELUSION.

      Get back on the money, FR. The root of all evil writhes and rots in the putrid swamps of the Evil Empire State. …Off with their heads!

  • It is very easy to adopt the mob mentality of let’s burn him at the stake because everyone knows he is guilty. I firmly believe that he’s guilty. I also firmly believe in due process. If the monster is set free, it is the fault of the government. Losing the camera card was a stupid mistake that could cause the conviction to be overturned. Pretending to lose the card so that the images could be altered is criminal and should be prosecuted.

    I continue to hope that this monster stays right where he is.

About Frank Parlato

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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