This is not one where you want it to go away via a technicality.
The Rule 33 motion, expected to be filed by Keith Raniere’s attorneys, is one of the most interesting aspects of the criminal case against him.
Either it is a fabricated, last-ditch, fully disprovable bunch of hogwash, or there is something very insidious, very devious, very dangerous going on.
In order to find out, and I am reluctant to jump to any conclusions until I have seen the evidence, there might be a needed period of investigation. That’s what Frank Report does.
It may become clear and apparent, once the evidence is in, that there is nothing to the allegations that the FBI tampered with the most important evidence in the case against Raniere – the naked pictures of a 15-year-old Camila.
If there is a particle of truth to the alleged tampering, however, this is a matter of grave concern, even though the alleged victim is the despicable Keith Raniere.
If FBI agents did not tamper with the evidence, they will easily withstand scrutiny, just as an innocent man indicted withstands the scrutiny of trial.
If this is a last-ditch, hopeless effort to get Raniere freed, his last before closing the doors of his prison cell as if it were a sepulcher, then that too is of interest – for we shall see how his Rule 33 shapes up and how it fails and how gloom settles into doom for him and his followers. And the FBI agents will be exonerated.
Be assured that whatever cyber experts Raniere retained – and I understand he has retained three new ones, including one who was a forensic specialist with the FBI – they will come under scrutiny.
If these experts are scrutinized for their reports, challenged honestly on the truth of their findings, this is welcomed. If they are challenged on their right to challenge the FBI, if attempts are made to intimidate them and get them to back down, or because Raniere is a villain or guilty anyway, so this should die without the truth being known, then I expect there was tampering.
What impresses me is, I am told by Raniere supporters, that the cyber experts expressly state tampering occurred by the FBI.
Either they are lying or telling the truth or they are misinformed or mistaken or they know not what they are talking about. Either that or they do.
It is not easy for a cyber expert, who depends on the goodwill of clients and her/his reputation in the field, to make a claim of FBI tampering.
All of the experts, I am told, make their living in the cyber field. One of them is a longtime veteran of the FBI, a top cyber expert and knows the protocol of the FBI. Another is a cyber attorney whose work in New York and other states has been hailed as top of profession. He is one of few attorneys who understand the intricacies of computers and the applicability of the law.
The third expert, I am told, is one of the deans of the cyber industry, a pioneer in the field. He has been called as an expert witness in possibly more cases than any other person in America.
All three are Americans. All three say the FBI tampered with evidence, according to the Raniere sources.
It is true these experts were paid by the defense and, therefore, the question is were their opinions purchased and slanted because of that?
I have not seen the receipts but perhaps they should be produced as part of the Rule 33 motion process. I am told the experts were paid their standard fee – no more, no less – which are billed at an hourly rate.
If this is true, we are talking about people who depend on their reputation as experts and if they got paid what they normally charge, it is fair to ask would they risk their reputation to lie for Raniere?
These experts are not members of NXIVM, according to my source. They have no connection whatsoever to Raniere – and never met him or took a NXIVM class.
One expert was with the FBI when Raniere was arrested and convicted.
Assuming the experts are independent and competent – and that their reports are valid – we have to explore this. If there was tampering by the FBI with the hard drive and camera card, even if the judge chooses to dismiss this on a technicality, I would not be inclined to let it go.
The technicality I can imagine this being tossed out over is that lawyers for Raniere failed to find the tampering evidence before or during his trial. A Rule 33 motion requires that evidence be newly discovered and not available through due diligence during or before trial.
I can hear the argument for tossing it out revolving around the fact that Raniere’s attorneys should have called cyber experts during the trial.
But is this a lack of due diligence?
If tampering did occur, how could anyone expect defense lawyers to detect it? They are not cyber experts, nor do they have the color of law at their back.
According to Raniere sources, the defense never received the camera card or a forensic image, and the government reports provided at trial were created the day before FBI Examiner Brian Booth’s testimony [June 12], just days before the trial ended. It seems hard to imagine how anyone could expect Raniere’s attorneys to get an expert to evaluate the evidence in time to challenge it
Reports of tampering require significant study and when the FBI is being accused, it requires 10 times the amount of study and extra caution for they bite back.
Then again, who expects tampering from the FBI? This is not to claim it does not occur or that it did, but that it might be unreasonable to expect due diligence to include detection of FBI tampering during a trial with last-minute submissions of evidence by the prosecution.
I am told the camera card changed. There were 37 pictures added to it. That the camera card changed under FBI watch is the allegation expected to be presented, among other findings in the Rule 33 motion. The pictures were not there before and, according to what I’ve been told, the experts claim this is provable. But the evidence of these camera card changes were not submitted to the defense.
There are other findings, some of them apparently complicated – like a parent backup folder which is younger than the files it contained, or how alleged tampering could be the only cause of botched up labels and reversed names and pictures of at least two of the nude women’s pictures.
According to the source, times and dates of files made impossible changes, impossible to attribute to some glitch – but simple to understand that every change supported the government’s narrative.
Of course, I can hear the echoes of readers howling, saying you know damn well he sexually abused Cami when she was 15. What are you trying to do, get a criminal off?
I suspect it is true. I suspect Raniere did have sex with Cami when she was 15. She says it is true. The FBI believes it.
But that would not give them the right to plant evidence if they did plant evidence.
Questions arise, such as why did the FBI agents not turn in the camera card and the hard drive for months after they seized it to the evidence room? How was it that they only discovered Cami’s pictures a month before trial was scheduled and delayed giving the evidence to the defense until the eve of jury selection?
Who identified the pictures? Suppose that same person also had pictures or access to 8 Hale for years? Suppose they really were the Cami pictures when she was 15 but not found on a hard drive at Raniere’s library, with supporting evidence on the camera card.
If that was the case, if Raniere took the pictures but did not have possession, they would need Camila to testify. She would not testify during the trial.
He may be guilty but they could not prove it. But I do not care how guilty he is. There is due process – and if the FBI cheated to get a guilty person convicted, then it won’t be long before they cheat to get innocent people convicted.
If the FBI tampered, no expectation of due diligence should prevent this evidence from being presented to the world.
No one can be diligent enough to detect law enforcement tampering, for they have control of the evidence and the ability to lose custody or modify evidence at will and time to tamper if they so desire.
That law enforcement can tamper and get away with it if the defense does not immediately discover it during trial is a recipe for tampering.
Only a complete and thorough investigation of the claim of tampering will settle this. An evidentiary hearing is required, the experts must be called and the agents must be called. They might refuse to testify on 5th amendment grounds.
That does not prove they are guilty. The FBI agents are entitled to the full protection afforded by all of their due process rights. Even if they breached Raniere’s due process – and I have no idea if they did or did not until I see the evidence – they are still entitled to due process.
Let us see the evidence and examine it thoroughly.
And let us not accept the dismissal of the investigation of this via a technicality. This is too serious to fail to either prove it is false, just another lie by Raniere or, that to get a bad man, the FBI used even worse measures.
I think we will soon know the truth.