[Editor’s Note: This is a compilation of comments that K.R. Claviger has posted in recent days when various Frank Report readers – especially Alanzo – have argued that Keith Raniere should be given a new trial because the FBI has admitted that there was a break in the chain-of-custody regarding the camera card/flashcard that contained the nude pictures of Camila. If some of this post seems repetitive, it’s because Claviger has had to explain the same thing several times to Frank Report readers who don’t understand it the first time – and at least one Frank Report reader who simply doesn’t want to understand it.]
By K.R. Claviger
I haven’t asked Frank about his sources for the posts he’s recently written about the Rule 33 motion that is reportedly going to be filed by Keith Raniere’s latest team of attorneys.
In general, we don’t discuss our sources with one another because most of them have asked us not to disclose their name to anyone else (That’s just the way it is in this business).
I have heard from my own sources that additional analyses were being undertaken with regard to the hard drive and the pictures of Cami. But I have not seen the results of those analyses – and, like everyone else, am curious as to what they will show.
From what I can gather, the new allegations will go well beyond the original admission by the FBI that the chain-of-custody was broken with respect to the hard drive and/or the flashcard (I never considered the break in the chain-of-custody to be a big enough issue that it would result in Keith getting a new trial).
If, in addition to the break in the chain-of-custody, it can also be shown that images were placed on either the hard drive and/or the flashcard after those items were in the possession of the FBI, then that’s a major problem for the prosecution.
I’m looking forward to reading the new analyses to find out what else they claim to have found.
PS/Several months ago, Frank wrote a series of posts about this issue. And in Part 6 of that series (https://frankreport.com/2021/05/19/part-5-cami-pics-tampered-but-true-forensic-expert-fbi-grossly-mishandled-linchpin-evidence/), he wrote about an interview he had conducted with Steven M. Adams, a cyber expert, digital forensics examiner and instructor, and attorney.
I thought the most interesting thing that Abrams said in that interview was that although he was certain that the evidence had been tampered with, he didn’t necessarily think it was the FBI that did the tampering – and that the tampering could have occurred before the evidence was seized. That adds a whole new twist to this issue about the integrity of the evidence that was found on the hard drive and/or the flashcard.
Break in the Chain-of-Custody Is Not Fatal
The fact that the chain-of-custody was broken in the camera card [flashcard] is a separate issue from whether the evidence was tampered with. As of yet, I have not seen any evidence tying the two things together.
The chain-of-custody issue was revealed during the trial – and was obviously not a major problem for the jury. Once again, the fact that the chain-of-custody was broken only means that the chain-of-custody was broken. Absent additional evidence, that fact cannot be conflated to infer that the evidence was tampered with.
The statement that “If this evidence is found to be tampered with, there should be legal consequences for the prosecutors and the judge” underscores how little some people understand about the U.S. legal system.
The correct statement is that “If this evidence is found to be tampered with, there should be legal consequences for whoever tampered with it”.
“Once again, the fact that the chain-of-custody was broken only means that the chain-of-custody was broken”.
Just because someone keeps repeating that the evidence was “tainted” – and that the prosecutors and the judge knew it was “tainted” – doesn’t make it so.
A break in the chain-of-custody does not make evidence tainted.
The term “tainted evidence” is used to describe evidence that was obtained by illegal means – including, but not limited to, evidence that would not have been obtained except through an illegal search or seizure.
The only other thing I would add is that the proper time to raise objections about the break in the chain-of-custody was at the trial via the filing of a motion to suppress.
I went back and reread the transcript from Day #23 of Keith’s trial – which was when we learned that there was a break in the chain-of-custody regarding the camera card that had been seized and analyzed by the FBI – and Keith’s attorneys did not make a motion to suppress that evidence at that time.
Nor does the record indicate that they made such a motion anytime after that.
In addition, the issue of the break in the chain-of-custody was not raised in the appellant brief that was filed by Jennifer Bonjean (That likely means she considered it to be a non-appealable issue because Keith’s trial attorneys did not try to suppress the evidence during the trial).
This is undoubtedly why Bonjean planned to use a Rule 33 motion to argue that the chain-of-custody issues aside, the evidence in question was tampered with – and, therefore, should not have been admitted at trial.
The problem with such a motion is that, in addition to proving that the evidence was actually tampered with, Keith’s new attorneys, Marc Fernich and Jeffrey Lichtman, will also have to prove that there was no way for Keith’s trial attorneys to have detected that tampering before or during the trial.
My guess is that they will argue that Keith’s trial attorneys simply didn’t have time to detect the tampering because they only learned about the pictures of Cami a few weeks before the trial was scheduled to start. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Keith’s trial attorneys did to test for tampering (If they didn’t do anything, Keith will likely lose the Rule 33 motion but perhaps gain an argument that can be used when he files his separate appeal for “ineffective counsel”).
Keith’s attorneys will have to convince Judge Garuafis (a) that the evidence in question was, in fact, tampered with and (b) that there was no way for Keith’s trial attorneys to have discovered proof that the evidence was tampered with before or during the trial. Sorry but I just don’t see Keith’s attorneys winning on both of those points – especially since they were very well aware of the chain-of-custody issue and could have their own experts examine the evidence to see if there was any evidence of tampering.