Towards the end of the status conference of Oct. 15 in the civil lawsuit, Sarah Edmondson Et Al v. Keith Raniere Et Al, the plaintiff’s attorney, Neil Glazer, sought the court’s approval to issue subpoenas to Suneel Chakravorty and another unnamed party, both of whom are not defendants in the case.
Though Glazer did not mention Suneel by name, we know it’s him.
From the transcript:
GLAZER: Your Honor…. we would like to address with you [issues] today because we don’t think that they can wait.
GLAZER: We’ve been receiving information that’s kind of concerning about certain individuals in possession of some very sensitive and significant evidence, particularly collateral. I don’t know if Your Honor is familiar with that, but compromising photographs, videos and other materials that were used effectively as blackmail materials with the women in DOS.
We would like Your Honor to consider authorizing us — and we would provide you with a submission to explain it — to issue subpoenas.
It’s two individuals that would be very narrowly targeted. These would be third-party subpoenas. Not asking them for the world, but just specifying what it is we believe they have or have handled in order to ascertain whether in fact they have it or have information on how it was disposed.
And one of these individuals also we believe either possesses or did possess and they know where it exists one or more computers, electronic storage devices, camcorders and paper files that were part of kind of a trove that – around the time that Mr. Raniere fled to Mexico, was stored in an apartment in Clifton Park. And when he was arrested was all gathered up and removed before the FBI could execute a search warrant and seize it. And we believe those devices may also contain equally sensitive and significant evidence and we would just like to be able to take some very limited, targeted discovery of those two individuals on this specific issue.
COURT: Those two individuals you said are non-parties?
COURT: And, you know, this may be appropriately taken up by the assigned magistrate judge in the first instance, but just tell me in two or three sentences why that would be an appropriate use of the civil subpoena power in the context of a civil tort case.
GLAZER: The materials that I’m referring to would be significant evidence in this case, particularly concerning the women who were in DOS. And we are — we were very concerned —
COURT: Who are plaintiffs I take it?
GLAZER: Yes. Yes.
COURT: So you’re saying the subjects of this collateral are —
GLAZER: Who are plaintiffs.
JAMES WAREHAM [attorney for Sara Bronfman]: Your Honor…. Judge Garaufis issued… an order to show cause directed to everybody involved [the Raniere defense attorneys to state whom they provided the hard drive and other discovery materials to] in the criminal case… It doesn’t seem to me to be sensible to have a new court get into discovery when we haven’t even sustained a motion to dismiss or even resolved some of the procedural stuff when this judge [Garaufis] seems to be a very motivated fellow and he’s out in search of this material and who’s got what and how they got it.
COURT: Do you know if the same —
GLAZER: May I address that because there are a couple of different issues and Judge Garaufis is focused on only one, which is a copy of the hard drive that was seized by the FBI that had among other things the child porn images that underlaid several of the predicate acts that Mr. Raniere was convicted of in [the] RICO action.
Separate from that — and the government did raise this in its letter with the judge — were collateral materials that were never in the government’s possession and so they were never discovery materials subject to the protective order and it does not appear that the government feels it can do much about that.
And while we certainly are concerned about the hard drive with the possible child porn on it, we’re confident that Judge Garaufis’ inquiry will either turn it up or conclude that there’s no need to be concerned, but it’s not addressing the collateral that I’ve described and it’s not addressing the other computers and electronic storage devices that I’ve described.
COURT: Are the people who would be the recipients of your subpoenas also subject to Judge Garaufis’ order to show cause?
GLAZER: Indirectly one [Suneel] is who claims to be — who claims to have been in possession of the hard drive with the child porn on it and claims to have hired three experts to be analyzing that for some sort of Rule 33 motion Mr. Raniere may be filing.
COURT: Why aren’t these recipients defendants? Was that too long and complicated an answer for this venue?
GLAZER: It is. And until these issues cropped up in the information that we received — and some of it – I mean, we’ve recovered a couple of the computers I’m talking about but there’s a lot more that’s missing — until we received this information we didn’t really feel there was any need for them to be defendants. I mean, what they’re engaged in is sort of post-NXIVM conduct that would not be part of plaintiffs’ case.
COURT: Okay. Why don’t you put it in a letter on this subject –
Analysis of Glazer’s Position
Glazer is talking about two things. Firstly, the hard drive that the prosecution used to prove the racketeering predicate acts of child porn and sexual exploitation of a minor [Camila].
Glazer claims Suneel says he had it and it may have child porn on it. Glazer is correct that Judge Nicholas Garaufis will try to determine whether anybody possesses a copy of the hard drive, and if they got it from Raniere’s defense team.
The second thing Glazer is talking about is collateral — in this case adult nude photos of Camila that Glazer wants info about, as it may relate to the civil case.
Before we hear from Suneel, I think it’s appropriate to state that Suneel does not have a hard drive with child porn on it.
On March 27, 2018, the FBI seized the hard drive from 8 Hale, according to a receipt of the search and seizure.
On October 5, 2018, the government produced the Western Digital hard-drive to the defense and recalled it, based on the discovery of alleged child porn.
On March 21, 2019, the government produced a new copy of the back-up hard drive (DSCV_00000061).
On April 3, 2019, Raniere’s counsel informed the government that cached photographs that the government designated as child porn were still on the hard drive and returned the hard drive to the government.
On April 6, 2019, the government produced a “clean” copy of the hard drive for the defense, that is a copy without the alleged child porn.
Here is Suneel’s comment:
I didn’t get involved with Raniere’s defense until after the trial, by which time the only hard drive in the defense’s possession was the one without the alleged child pornography.
Mr. Glazer should know that the government’s evidentiary protocols would not permit me to have a copy of the hard drive with alleged child porn on it. By the time I had gotten involved in the case, after the trial the government had long before taken back the original copy of the hard drive from the defense and the only copy the defense had was the copy of the hard drive without the alleged child porn on it.
I certainly couldn’t have had the original hard drive. In fact, I never got a copy of the hard drive, with or without the photos of Camila.
Mr. Glazer’s references to ‘child porn’ are inaccurate. He told the judge that I am a person ‘who claims to have been in possession of the hard drive with the child porn on it.’
I also do not possess any ‘collateral.’ I believe the photographs Mr. Glazer is referring to are photos of Camila taken in 2017 when she was 27 years old. I have never seen the original photos. I have only seen redacted [blurred] versions of the photos, which show the lack of any visible appendectomy scar.
This, I understand, may be used as evidence in a post-trial motion in the Raniere criminal case because it undermines the prosecution’s contention that the lack of an appendectomy scar in the pictures of Camila proved she was under the age of 16 since she had an appendectomy when she was 16.
The fact that she posed for nude pictures, photos which I do not possess, nor have I ever seen except for blurred-out photos, does not mean I possess collateral. I do not.
What it does prove is that the whole notion of no appendectomy scar absolutely dating the original Camila photos to her being 16 years or less is dubious and not dispositive.
I do not know if Mr. Raniere took the photos of Camila when she was 15. I have never seen the photos used on evidence by the prosecution and even if I had, I would not have been able to ascertain how old Camila was or even if it was Camila.
Parlato’s Statement on the Photos
I was shown, I believe, two of the photos in question, in September of this year. The dates of the original photos, I was told, were April and June 2017. I was not given the photos to possess but only to look at while they were in the possession of one of Raniere’s supporters.
In the photos, Camila is posing with other first-line DOS masters. She was a first-line master herself. She recruited at least one slave, knew that Raniere was the leader of DOS, and that the brand was his initials.
In the photos I was shown, Camila is clearly over the age of 16. In at least one of them, as I recall, she is wearing glasses. She is smiling or laughing and in one photo she appears to be dancing or jumping about. She is nude, but I only saw blurred versions where her breasts and genitals were obscured.
Her abdomen was not blurred and though the photos appeared to be high resolution, I could not see any evidence of a scar. I believe the scars do exist, however, but because of the way the lighting was, or the way she was posing, or the way her skin may have been folding, or any combination of the above, the scar was invisible.
Of course, the photos I saw could have been photoshopped. I was told by Suneel that the photos in their original form were provided to a forensic expert who wrote a report that the photos were not altered. I have not seen that report, as I recall.
I do not think Suneel possesses a copy of the hard drive with Camila’s pictures. I think it would be impossible for him to possess it.
I also doubt he has a copy of the hard drive without the Camila pictures since I doubt any of Raniere’s attorneys would have released it to him since he did not, as the prosecution points out, sign the protective order needed to get the copy released.
He also claims he does not have any collateral. And he says he does not possess the adult Camila photos.
I can’t know for certain whether the adult photos of Camila taken with the other first-line masters qualify as collateral. I think they do not, since the first line masters knew that Raniere was their master and their brand was his initials. They were dedicated to Raniere to the extent that they seemed to love to pose nude for him. I do not believe they were coerced into taking nude photos for him.
The first line masters, including Camila, seemed to voluntarily choose to form DOS and helped devise with Raniere photoshoots of them all nude and smiling. This plan of joint nude photos was passed on to their own slaves.
As for the collateral, primarily of the lower ranking DOS slaves – those under the first line masters, I have an idea of what happened to most of it. This forms the subject matter of an upcoming post in the series, “Where Is the Collateral?”