By K.R. Claviger
Legal Correspondent for the Frank Report
How Important Are the Pictures of Cami to the Overall Case?
An issue that keeps getting overlooked is the fact that the Cami pictures that were supposedly tampered with only concern three (3) of the sixteen (16) predicate acts that were part of the RICO count.
The trial jury found that the prosecution “Proved” that Keith had committed all 16 of those predicate acts.
The three acts which concerned Camila were
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child (November 2, 2005)
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child (November 24, 2005)
- Possession of Child Pornography.
Even if the findings of the jury on that three predicate acts concerning Cami were thrown out, there would still be plenty of “Proved” predicate acts to support the RICO charge.
It’s also important to remember that, in addition to the RICO charge, Keith was found guilty of committing six other crimes that had nothing to do with the pictures of Camila (These were all part of the second superseding indictment).
Keith and Allison Mack were each charged with seven (7) felony crimes: Racketeering Conspiracy, Racketeering, Forced Labor Conspiracy, Wire Fraud Conspiracy, Sex Trafficking Conspiracy, Sex Trafficking (Nicole), and Attempted Sex Trafficking (Jay).
Keith’s sentences for those six other crimes total 120-years.
Will a New Rule 33 Motion Be Successful?
Given the facts of this case, I do not believe that a second Rule 33 Motion will be successful. Many people forget that Keith already tried this gambit once – and was shot down.
The biggest problem with the new proposed Rule 33 motion is that all the alleged “tampered evidence” had been turned over to the defense team well before the trial – which means that Keith’s lawyers had plenty of time to hire experts to identify any issues with it. An exacerbating factor is that it was Keith’s defense team that insisted on starting the trial on its scheduled date even after the second superseding indictment was issued.
So, even if Keith’s new lawyer could prove that one or more pictures of Camila had been altered – which I still doubt can be done – it is extremely unlikely that Judge Garaufis will grant Keith a new trial.
Nor do I think that the Second Circuit will overrule Judge Garaufis’ determination on the matter.
Nevertheless, I am looking forward to reading the reports of the three experts who have concluded that there was evidence tampering with respect to the alleged underage photos of Cami.
Agree completely. If I recall, the standard for Rule 33 relief is “in the interests of justice.” The victim has confirmed via subsequent written affidavit that she had a sexual relationship with Raniere when she was underage. I can’t recall if she authenticates the photos in that affidavit but Lauren certainly testified that the sex occurred, that it was Cami in the pictures, that the pictures were taken in Mexico, and how old she was at the time. So there isn’t much doubt about any of that, if there was, she can be put on the stand at a retrial. The judge and the 2nd Circuit are not going to be in a hurry to do a whole new trial just to put the victim of sexual assault on the stand. Not “in the interests of justice.” At most, the child pornography charge gets dismissed, which is basically irrelevant if the sexual assault charges stay in.
Quite a few people on this blog seem to think that “interests of justice” requires a new multi-week trial for Raniere, even if the results would be exactly the same, because maybe the government did a bad thing . . . because the misconduct must be “brought to light” or the bad actors must be “held accountable.” That’s not why you have a new trial. You have a new trial because, absent the government’s misconduct, there is a reasonable possibility that the result would be different.
It may be that someone in the FBI did something wrong. The place to judge that person is at their own criminal trial, not during a redo of this one. And the remedy is to punish them, not let Raniere go.
Nice analysis…with one clarification: i.e., the Cami photos only concern the “Possession of Child Pornography” predicate act (There was a total of 16 predicate acts to support the RICO charge). So, even if those photos were to get tossed because they were proven to be altered – which, in my opinion, is extremely unlikely – I’m not sure that Keith would get a new trial because the jury found that the prosecution had “Proved” the other 15 predicate acts.
RE Crazy Aspect of Raniere’s Appeal:
The crazy thing about the hard drive evidence is that, Garaufis and the appellate judges, likely will have no understanding of the intricacies of the technological evidence in question.
How can you grant or deny an appeal based on something you don’t understand?
Great wrap and explanation of the appeal, various issues concerning the appeal, and RICO.
How Tully will do a better job than the others remains to be seen. I hope Tully demanded a fat retainer.
“An exacerbating factor is that it was Keith’s defense team that insisted on starting the trial on its scheduled date”
I had forgotten about that. Yeah, I doubt this issue of alleged evidence tampering will even get to the starting gate. It’s not new evidence. It’s not grounds for appeal. His lawyers seemed to dismiss the idea of FBI “tampering” as a non-starter and now he’s playing musical chairs looking for one who will take the idea seriously.
It’s an amateurish defense. “I have no idea where the drugs / gun / knife came from. The cops must’ve planted it”. It’s a desperate last ditch ploy and it’s supremely unimaginative.
At Raniere’s trial, his defense had no case. Aside from cross examining prosecution witnesses, and a bit of nitpicking, and quoting Winston Churchill (?) in their opening statement, they had nothing at all. It was really quite remarkable.
Raniere’s appeal seems even more hopeless. Even weaker and more desperate. No wonder his lawyers keep abandoning him.