NXIVM: The Moira Penza Interview Part 1: Reading NY Times Story, Reaching Out to Edmondson and Collateral

A Little Bit Culty, the podcast hosted by Sarah Edmondson and her husband, Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames, is now in its second season. A recent episode featured an interview with Moira Kim Penza, the lead prosecutor in the trial of Keith Raniere.

It is an impressive interview with a lot of new information. Many thanks to Alanzo for transcribing it.  For clarity and ease of reading I have made some copy edits, eliminated some of it and added a few clarifications in [brackets and bold] to help readers understand context  better.

Sarah Edmondson and her husband Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames.

Anthony Ames:

[Moira Penza’s] one of our guardian angels [who] showed up in our life…  Moira Penza is the prosecutor who likes to show up in four inch heels. I know this because I saw it. Five to six days I was at the trial and she brought Keith Raniere to justice, as a federal prosecutor, lawyer, first chair [at] the jury trial, and obviously she crushed it because in June 2019, he [Raniere] … convicted of all counts include racketeering and sex trafficking, is now serving a 120 year sentence.

Sarah Edmondson: 

That was a very notable day in our in our lives…  when we found out he would be in jail for 120 years. [Penza’s] now in private practice as a litigator and as a partner at Wilkinson Stekloff.

Crain’s New Business named her in the 40 under 40 list [of prominent lawyers] also she was in Bloomberg laws 40 under 40 City and State’s 100 most powerful lawyers in New York. And Moira has led some of the highest stakes trials in the country…..  She truly is one of our heroes. It’s also ironic because she’s this stunning petite brunette, so stylish head to toe, Prada power suits and definitely would have been Keith’s  type.

Her legal analysis has been featured in The New York Times CNN ABC, NPR and Daily Beast. Long story short she truly is one of our heroes. It’s also ironic because she’s this stunning petite brunette so stylish head to toe Prada power suits and definitely would have been keeps type.

Ames
Yeah, I think Keith probably had impure thoughts.

Keith Alan Raniere:

Edmonson
Yeah, the fact that she she was able to take him down. I wish I could have been there in the courtroom to see her walk in and Keith…  whatever was going through his head….  There’s something perfectly beautiful about this whole picture….

[to Penza] Would you mind just bringing us back to the moment when like you’re living your life and you read The New York Times article and that or whatever started your journey with us?

Moira Kim Penza at a press conference on June 19, 2019, following the conviction of Keith Raniere.

Moira Penza

….You really were right there at the beginning of the journey, Sarah, so I was just reading the New York Times, which I do every day. I’m a lifelong New Yorker, and, front page, was this story about you! And I was immediately drawn in, as I think so many other people were, and for a number of reasons. I mean, we were right at a moment in time where people were starting to really talk about abuses of power….

I think in particular…  what stood out was that I immediately thought there is more to this story, and that there’s potential criminal activity here. Being a federal prosecutor at that point in time, I was in a position where I was able to react to that in a way that, you know, thankfully, we got a great team together, and we were able to ultimately bring together this case [against Raniere]. But it was really, starting out, just seeing what you had said had happened to you; hearing with Catherine [Oxenberg] and Mark [Vicente] were saying in that initial article, and just immediately trying to learn more.

So one of the first things that I did after reading that article was basically get on the internet and tried to learn everything I could, because in some ways, it was shocking that I had never heard about [NXIVM], given how many people have gone through Nxivm classes, given the fact that there had been this investigative reporting many years before that had uncovered a lot of wrongdoing and what looked like criminal activity. I was really surprised that I had never heard of this. And so immediately [I] start digging in, see all of the web sites for Keith Raniere, for all of these sister companies, for all of these various individuals and it was just, all of a sudden, I was truly down the rabbit hole.

And just to be clear I know that you have talked about your experience speaking with law enforcement, and you knew that we were going to talk about that today. But normally, I wouldn’t talk about my interactions with somebody who spoke to me as part of my job and as part of being a witness without their permission, but in doing it…  in this context and understanding that I have your permission to kind of talk about it. …

Edmondson
Where anything for me related, it’s all good, [an] open book at this point.

Penza 
… So one of the first things I did was… figure out who was your agent, who are your lawyers. And so I think the first people I spoke to were people who were connected to you as entertainment lawyers, not, as you know, a lawyer representing you in the context of NXIVM, the criminal organization, but really sitting down with you. That was one of the first experiences that we really had, where we started to learn more about this organization and more about what was happening and that’s really what we did right away.

So I [had] read the article. Tanya Hajjar. who was the other prosecutor who ended up trying the case with me, she was immediately interested as well. That day, we got this incredible FBI agent, Mike Weniger assigned to the case. His colleague, [FBI Special Agent] Michael Lever, and Charlie Fontenelli, who was actually [with the] New York State Police….

AUSA Tanya Hajjar .

So we have this team right away that was incredibly invested in us. And so within weeks, we were sending out tons of subpoenas as we were meeting with witnesses and meeting with survivors and victims. There was so much, so quickly. That is not always typical of a law enforcement investigation. Because, based on what we were learning beyond The New York Times article, we had every reason to believe that there were still women in danger at that point in time, and that there would be continuing criminal activity if Keith Raniere was not stopped.

Edmondson
Wow, I got goosebumps,

Ames
…. You read the article and you have an impression… that there’s abuses of power. What was your hypothesis as to what it was?… Then compare that to what you learned and what you uncovered. Because… I knew there was some abuses going on…  but what you guys uncovered shocked me.

Penza
So right away when …  reading the original [New York Times] article to have the allegations about collateral…. That’s sort of coercion. When you hear that, that enables so much criminal activity, right? It’s not just in the NXIVM context….  What enables [illegal coercion] to happen is the ability to have that coercive control over people, whether you’re talking about the mob, whether you’re talking about a street gang… a drug cartel, once you have that source of power, you have an amazing ability to victimize people and commit different types of crimes.

So that stood out right away. And then, of course, the allegation that Keith Raniere was behind this so called women’s empowerment group {DOS} it’s just a shocking thing. Right at the outset…  that was something that, throughout the whole case, really resonated with people.

Like [it is] this fundamental fraud; that you had this man in the background, as this puppet master [of a women’s empowerment group]. I wish I could say I was shocked, but I had done a lot of victim-centric cases, a lot of sex crime cases. By the time I’d read the article in The New York Times. So by the time I’m reading about Sara’s experience, I had seen coercive control before. I had seen victims of sexual abuse and really shocking crimes already…  I almost had a reputation in the office, although I hadn’t been there that long, as the person who got these “crazy cases” or took on really these “crazy cases.”

But they weren’t crazy to me…  To me, these were the worst crimes that are being perpetuated….

About the author

Frank Parlato

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  • Penza: “So one of the first things I did was… figure out who was your agent, who are your lawyers. And so I think the first people I spoke to were people who were connected to you as entertainment lawyers, not, as you know, a lawyer representing you in the context of NXIVM.”

    She’s so brazen she doesn’t even try to hide it!

    This is all staged Hollywood drama. Sarah and Nippy are anti-cultist tribal crisis actors. Camila deserves an Oscar for her role.

    Penza saw a payday and now she’s milking it for all it’s worth. Me-too = more money for me!

    Frank, why are you amplifying this man-hating masquerading as “justice”?

      • —What’s an anti-cultist?

        Ask Alanzo! Anti-Cultist is not an individual but, an umbrella term.
        Only Alanzo can explain the intricacies, byzantine concepts, and arcane vocabulary (mostly created by Alanzo) of the anti-cultist, tribalistic-culture.

        “Anti-cultists are a bunch of haters who hate cults.”- Alanzo

        “I’m a hater of Anti-cultists haters.”-Alanzo

        “Brainwashing isn’t real. Mind control is very real.”-Alonzo

  • She truly is one of our heroes. It’s also ironic because she’s this stunning petite brunette, so stylish head to toe, Prada power suits and definitely would have been Keith’s type.

    Her legal analysis has been featured in The New York Times CNN ABC, NPR and Daily Beast. Long story short, she truly is one of our heroes. It’s also ironic because she’s this stunning petite brunette so stylish head to toe Prada power suits and definitely would have been keeps type.

    • I believe Sarah actually said “chic” and not petite.I didn’t think Frank’s transcription was all that great. I caught a few errors. For example, I think the guardian angel line was said by Sarah and not Nippy.

  • I would like to see a movie in the vein of Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, but a grown up version of The Traveling 4 Inch Heels Of Moira Penza. The context and symbolism of those heels need a full length feature movie.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg; “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson; “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been featured prominently on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and acted as lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He was credited in the Starz docuseries, 'Seduced,' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato has appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest, which was ironic since many credit Parlato as being one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Parlato,_Jr.

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083

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