Keith Raniere is appealing his conviction. You can read his appeal right here.
It is now high time for me to weigh in. And I will do so in a series of posts.
I am not a lawyer, but I understand the case fairly well. My views are informed by speaking with a number of attorneys, including Marc Agnifilo, Raniere’s lead attorney at his trial.
My view is hopefully NOT informed by my role in the conviction of Raniere or my longstanding battles with him. I have every reason to dislike Raniere and if it were possible for me to actually dislike anyone, it would be Keith, for the profoundly dishonest role he had in my life.
I’d like to think of this series as one based on my regard for due process.
Before advancing my arguments, I’d like to state I admire the trial judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis, whose conduct is being judged in the appeal. I know him only from the trial, which this publication covered daily, and from his writings during the course of the case, which is still ongoing. Restitution hearings are next.
I believe he is a good man, dignified and wonderfully educated. He is, I think, rather old school, which I am myself. He can be humorous and discreet and grave. He can be subtle as hell and I witnessed him hitting attorneys over the head with a hammer when they were not as subtle as he.
My favorite quote of the judge was uttered when he addressed Agnifilo at the sentencing of Raniere and spoke about Raniere’s 14-year-old son, Gaelyn, whom I know quite well and who lived in an apartment below mine twice – in 2014-15, and again in 2019.
The judge said, “I’m just a local guy here in Brooklyn. But you’ve got a 14-year-old child who’s never been supported by his father who has been busy working the commodities markets for tens of millions of dollars and can’t find it in his heart to send a few bucks to his child. Why should anyone look upon that person as someone who is worthy of respect?”
As I wrote before, I think the judge told me more about himself in this statement than anything that he might have said in as few words.
He’s a Brooklyn guy and in Brooklyn, it’s about respect. He dismisses Keith as riff-raff or scum because what kind of a man does not support his own son?
I personally witnessed Keith terrorize his son and his son’s mother, sending private detectives to hunt them down. Then instead of serving the mother the papers for custody he told the detectives they were hired to serve once they found her, he dismissed them and then hired two actors – or possibly assassins – to befriend the mother and child and set them up, spying on them all the while.
Then he hired another detective or pseudo detective, one Michelle Gomez, to terrorize the mother with threatening texts – hundreds of texts – about me, no less. Kristin and her son were living at my house where they were safe,
Michelle, [hired by Keith] not disclosing who she was, send a barrage of threatening texts to the mother, to the effect that they were out to get me – not her – but that if she did not flee from my protection, she would come to grief alongside me.
She went to her supposed friends – the people she met who approached her on kayaks – who were hired by Keith [and paid by Clare Bronfman] to seek their help for I was out of town when the texts started coming in.
What these two planned to do was anybody’s guess, but with my help and others, the mother, Kristin Keeffe, and her and Raniere’s son escaped their clutches and slipped away leaving their home of a year and a half to flee to find another hiding place.
They had been found out.
I’m just a Buffalo guy from the West Side, but why should anyone look upon Raniere as someone who is worthy of respect who would put his son on the run, with his mother in terror?
If he had wanted custody, he could have served the papers. He wanted to terrorize her. And he did.
So, yeah, Judge Garaufis had Keith’s number. And he was not wrong about that number which I think officially is 57005-177 to which Garaufis added another figure — 120-years.
So, if you see me at times suggesting a point of view that seems to support Raniere’s appeal, that might seem to oppose the good judge, know it not to be confirmation bias.
Mine tends in the opposite direction.
Stay tuned for Part 2.