According to sources close to him, Keith Raniere is expected to file a federal Rule 33 motion, seeking a new trial based on evidence that the FBI tampered with the hard drive found in his library which contained 22 nude photos of a Mexican girl, Camila when she was 15.
Raniere was charged with predicate acts of possession of child porn and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child based on his alleged photographing of Camila on November 2nd and November 24th in 2005.
The evidence was the photos, the FBI’s dating them forensically, the camera card showing similar photos taken by a Canon camera, and other fact and expert witness testimony. Camila did not testify.
Here is how the prosecution proved that Raniere took photos of Camila when she was 15:
Lauren Salzman Nude Photos Taken Around the Same Time
Lauren Salzman, a cooperating witness, testified that Raniere took nude photos of her towards the end of 2005.
She was examined by Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar.
Q Did there come a time when the defendant took intimate photographs of you?
Q When approximately was that?
A Somewhere before 2006. Like around 2005, I think.
And so he took, I think, two pictures. But they were like — they were looking up at me from like the angle of — it’s like an up-close crotch shot, like — like vagina looking up where you could see my whole upper body and face.
Q What kind of camera did the defendant use to take these photographs?
A Like a normal camera, like a camera with a flash. Not like phone camera, like a — like a photographer’s camera.
The prosecution was to later admit into evidence 145 nude photos, of 11 women, including Salzman, and 22 photos of Camila.
There were dated by FBI forensics as having been taken in late 2005. Six of the photos were of Salzman and were dated December 26.
Though the prosecution possessed her photos, they did not show them to Salzman to identify.
Daniela Had Evidence
Daniela, the older sister of Camila, also testified that Raniere took nude photos of her.
Daniela was examined by AUSA Moira Penza
Q Did the defendant ever take naked pictures of you?
Q Do you remember when that was?
A I remember the period of time. I think it was around — after I crossed [into the USA illegally], before the fight [with Raniere] — it would have been, like, around 2005, somewhere around 2005.
Q What do you remember about that?
A I remember he got a camera. I remember he was looking for a camera and he got a camera that Loretta was supposed to know a lot about cameras. … I think it was, like, a Cannon camera. It was a big one. Not a small one. It was a big, professional camera.
Though they possessed the photos of Daniela that she had described, the prosecution did not show them to her to identify.
Raniere told Her He Had Sex With Camila
Daniela testified that Raniere told her he had sex with Camila when she was underage.
Q Did you ever come to learn that the defendant was having sex with your sister Camilla?
A It was — some time before fall 2006.
Q How — why do you have that frame of reference?
A I have that frame of reference and that certainty because I had a conversation with Keith about that and after fall 2006, I never spoke to Keith again.
Q Can you describe the conversation that you had with the defendant?
A Yes. I asked him if he was having sex with my sister. He asked me if I minded.
Appendectomy Dates Photos
Daniela testified that Camila underwent an appendectomy when she was sixteen and that it left a visible scar on her abdomen.
THE COURT: You can stand up and show on your body where it was.
A Okay. So in her lower abdomen. (Indicating.)
THE COURT: On the right side, correct?
THE WITNESS: Yes, as I remember, on the right side.
A And like a big slit. It was, like, a slit that was wide open. It was wide open. I remember my mom used to take — may I sit down now?
Q Daniela, you’ve seen Camila’s abdomen?
Q You saw it before she had the surgery?
Q And you’ve seen it after the surgery?
Q Do you know — if you saw an image of Camila where there is no scar on her abdomen, would you know how old she was?
Q How old would she be?
A She would be 16 or younger.
The prosecution did not show the scar-less photos to Daniela for her to identify.
Abortion Helps Too
Daniela also said that Camila had an abortion.
Q So what happens after you find out that Camilla is pregnant?
A I find out she’s pregnant and I want to be there for her and it’s — I’m recruited to help.
Q Who recruits you?
Q And what is your conversation with Pam?
A That, you know, she’s going to have an abortion.
Q That Camilla is going to have an abortion?
Abortion and Appendectomy Tied Together
Elizabeth Butler, a nurse practitioner who worked at the clinic that provided an abortion to Camila was called to testify.
She gave the date of Camila’s abortion as October 12, 2010, when Camila was 20. Based on medical forms she filled out, Camila said she was sexually active since she was 15 and that she had an appendectomy when she was 16.
Butler was examined by AUSA Penza
Q And then if we look in her medical history, family history, it says: Appendectomy, age 16; is that right?
FBI Agent and Prosecutor Read Emails and Texts
FBI Special Agent Meghan Rees and Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar recited many Camila and Raniere texts and emails, with Hajjar reading Raniere and Rees portraying Camila.
Several of these evidenced that Camila and Raniere began a sexual relationship when she was 15.
Raniere Says He Was Her Husband
Q [Hajjar reading Raniere lamenting that Camila, 24, had an affair with another man]
It is such a painful, bittersweet thing… The truth of our life together that could have been made real yet now is forever a secret and nullified… I love you so much… I’m so proud to have been your husband for 8.75 years… and shared a home for four… Yet I am also so heartbroken…
Q Now, at this time when the defendant says 8.75 years, what’s the date attached to that?
A September 4th, 2014.
This dated the start of the “husband and wife” relationship to December 2005, when Camila was 15.
Camila Counts Full Moons
Another email shows Camila dated the start of the relationship. Referring to the email, Hajjar asks Rees the following:
Q What is the e-mail address that it is to?
A It is to firstname.lastname@example.org. [Raniere’s email]
Q And what’s the date?
A February 21st, 2008.
Q And what’s the subject?
A Full moon.
Q Can you read the text, please.
A “Full moon is tomorrow and that would make it 30 full moons that we’ve been together.” Smiley face [emoji].
If the email is dated correctly Camila is wrong about the full moon. It was not “tomorrow” but that day.
If the year is correct, it does not matter much. Subtracting 30 full moons brings the date to prior to November 2005, making her 15 years old.
Child Porn Hinted At
One of the texts indicates that Raniere was in possession of the photos of Camila when she was 15. It also suggests that Camila had nude photos, possibly taken by Raniere later that 2015 on his cell phone.
[Hajjar reading Raniere] Yes, of course. You have copies? You know I guard the other pictures, right?
[Rees as Camila]: I have copies. And original.
[Hajjar as Raniere:] They’re off my phone. You know I have the others, yes?
[Rees as Camila]: From way back when?
[Hajjar as Raniere] I wanted the original forever. I thought it was truly mine. Yes, from way back.
From this point on, we go to forensics. with the jury well aware of the evidence that Raniere and Camila began a relationship when she was 15 and Raniere was fond of taking nude photos.
FBI Agent Testifies He Seized Devices
FBI Special Agent Christopher Mills testified that he seized a Canon camera, with a camera card inside, and a Western Digital hard drive from 8 Hale Drive, Raniere’s library.
FBI Forensic Examiner Gives Evidence of 2005 Date of Photos
After SA Mills testified, FBI Forensic Examiner Brian Booth testified about the forensic data on the Camila photos found on the hard drive as well as other evidence that dated the Camila photos and showed that the camera used to take the photos was the one seized at Raniere’s library.
Since Booth’s evidence is the evidence being challenged by the Rule 33 motion, we will address his testimony further in a separate post.
In short, he provided forensic evidence, relying on the fact that the EXIF data, the data put on the digital photos by the Canon camera, which, he said, is not changed when transferred to other devices, showed that the photos were taken in 2005.
He testified that the EXIF data is very hard to change on a photo.
During Booth’s testimony, the prosecution introduced 145 nude photos of 11 adult women, posed similarly. FE Booth testified as to their origin, dating them to 2005.
Separately, the following day, and carried in in a red binder by FBI SA Rees, the Camila photos were shown briefly to the jury.
When the Camila photos were shown, jurors reacted visibly; some of them turned away and others shielded their eyes.
FBI Agent Testifies He Saw No Appendectomy Scar on Photos
FBI Special Agent Michael Weniger testified that he reviewed the photos of Camila on the hard drive and there were no visible appendectomy scars.
A I determined that in the Studies folder those images do not reflect a scar where the appendectomy occurred.
Q And so what did that tell you?
A That told me that the scar — that those photographs were taken before the appendectomy surgery in 2007. I should add that the appendectomy surgery occurred when Camila was 16 years old.