Ed. Note: This is the first part of Suneel Chakravorty’s challenge. I am, whenever possible, using his last name so whatever internet record he creates he can get the credit or calumny. Below is the picture of the kid.
By Suneel Chakravorty
I have challenged Frank Parlato to let me present my evidence for why I believe the photos of Camila used in the trial of Keith Raniere were falsified, tampered, and incompetent evidence.
Before I dive into this, let me be clear about one thing.
I am NOT trying to prove that Camila and Keith Raniere didn’t have a sexual relationship where they had sex.
I was not around. How can I know? Did he have underage, inappropriate relationships with her and others?
And did it include sexual intercourse or taking nude photographs in violation of federal or New York State laws?
I am not arguing what age these two began their sexual relationship. I will leave that to Mr. Morals, the guy that attacked Raniere from the day he was indicted in 2015.
Frank Parlato never needed evidence. He did not stick to any strict standard but he know demands it of me.
Very good. But I do not have proof and neither does he of Camila’s supposed abuse. All we have is Camila’s word and some very dubious evidence presented by the feds.
Now I don’t think there is any doubt they had an intimate relationship, but I don’t think there is any way to prove when it started, at least not with the evidence we have at the present moment.
Camila, who is pursuing money both in restitution and in a civil law suit, says it happened. One of her motives is money. Perhaps she is telling the truth and possibly she is not.
Keith Raniere, who I have found, in my personal interactions thus far, to be an honest man, has never admitted it. That said, he also has a motive to deny it even if it was true. His freedom.
We just do not know.
That includes Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo’s comments at Raniere’s sentencing.
It includes Camila’s unsworn victim impact statement and her sworn affidavit which Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis referenced in his restitution decision, and which, to my knowledge, is not public, so we have no access to it and is therefore unpersuasive.
An unsworn statement is meaningless and a secret sworn statement is less than what I or the public can use as evidence. It might be persuasive to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
Both of these gentlemen, Parlato and Garaufis, come from a different era, when men opened doors for women and pulled their chairs up under them so the delicate creatures would be properly pampered and kept in their gilded cages.
Garaufis was shocked and sickened by the idea that women might not be a protected species. To me, this is an antiquated viewpoint. Not necessarily bad-intended but they are living in a world that has long passed – where women need special legal protection under the law, because they are weak.
Camila, who came to court, just in time to pocket half a million in restitution, was never subject to cross-examination, but even if someone has been cross-examined, still, the human tongue is capable of articulating things that are untrue.
Someone saying something doesn’t make it true, and it doesn’t make it not true either. But perhaps with both Garaufis and Parlato and a lot of others, they only believe what they want to believe.
But we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble if we believe someone, even Cami, will not lie.
It brings to mind an episode of The Twilight Zone, “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby,” where Mr. Frisby is known to tell tall, boastful tales about himself and is overhead bragging by aliens who do not understand that humans can lie.
Consequently, they believed everything he said and kidnapped him for their zoo, because they thought he was the finest human specimen.
When he explained that his only extraordinary credential is that he is a big liar, the aliens, appearing to be confounded, ask what this term, “lie” means.
I think Judge Garaufis may be rather like that. So is Neil Glazer and Parlato. They do not believe women, like Cami, can lie.
We have to recognize that, we have to be smarter than those aliens, or the judge and the man who hosts this site.
We must comprehend that humans, even women, even supposed victims, can lie.
Fortunately for Frisby, he pulled out his harmonica and started to play, and the sound seemed to have a severe effect on the aliens’ nervous systems, like a death sound.
That is what you get when you don’t believe someone can lie.
Anybody who is foolish enough, and that includes you, Frank, not that you’re foolish, that you shouldn’t take anybody’s word, especially unsworn or uncross-examined word, as gospel, and even when some things are sworn and cross-examined, there are still lies.
I am reminded of the opening of book The Brass Verdict, written by Michael Connelly:
Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie.
A trial is a contest of lies. And everybody in the courtroom knows this. The judge knows this.
Even the jury knows this. They come into the building knowing they will be lied to. They take their seats in the box and agree to be lied to.
The trick if you are sitting at the defense table is to be patient. To wait. Not for any lie. But for the one you can grab onto and forge like hot iron into a sharpened blade. You then use that blade to rip the case open and spill its guts out on the floor.
That’s my job, to forge the blade. To sharpen it. To use it without mercy or conscience. To be the truth in a place where everybody lies.”
Don’t tell me about the sanctity or veracity of court cases because everybody lies in court cases.
So, what am I looking to prove?
That evidence presented at trial of sexual exploitation of a child, Camila, and the possession of child pornography was not good evidence. It was false, should not have been admitted, and at least some FBI agents and prosecutors must have known this.
I hold the prosecution and federal agents culpable, although I think it would have been appropriate for Raniere’s defense to have made stronger objections.
I am not saying they are not fine lawyers. I am saying they should have objected to the way evidence was admitted.
I also hold the judge responsible, in part, for not intervening to some degree and overlooking substantial procedural errors.
Below are my “Nuanced Nine” reasons why the Cami evidence fails.
Gullible readers who are in the cult of the government-can-do-no-wrong need not read any further.
1. Why Didn’t They Find It Sooner?
Let’s look at the timeline:
- On March 27, 2018 FBI agents raided 8 Hale Drive, the alleged “lair” of sex trafficking, where DOS collateral could be. They collected about a dozen electronic devices.
- On August 8, 2018 – 4.5 months later – FBI agents finally turned in the hard drive and a few other devices collected from the raid to the forensic lab for analysis.
- On February 21, 2019 – eleven months after seizure – they “discovered” the Camila photos on the hard drive.
This seizure was about DOS and naked photos. So why would you rush to look at a hard drive taken from the defendant’s so-called “sex lair”? Why would you bother looking at the hard drive where he has his hot tub and loft bed there?
You’d just toss it aside for a couple of months?
Come on all you gullible readers. The whole Raniere case was about DOS and collateral and naked photographs when it first began.
They had his hard drive taken from 8 Hale Drive, the “executive library.” You mean to tell me they didn’t scour that hard drive for 11 months?
If these agents didn’t do so, they were derelict.
With over 100 women who gave collateral, which the government wanted to locate, you’re telling me it took them 11 months to find the under-age photographs on the hard drive ?
Do you believe that? If so, I have some swampland in Brooklyn and a bridge in Florida to sell you.
There were a finite number of pictures on the hard drive – less than 4,200 photographs, if you exclude music covers and things like that.
Agents could comb through 4,200 photographs in a day, and there were only 168 in the “Studies” folder, the so-called “2005 series,” of which 22 were allegedly of Camila.
Do you mean to say that the FBI agents just stumbled upon those 22 photographs, 11 months later, in February 2019?
Did they stumble upon all 168 of the naked photos in February, or just Camila? Did they find the 168 photos earlier and didn’t identify? Or identified some of them but not Camila?
Or they identified all of them but didn’t know Camila was only 15 at the time?
The Government Had Access to Daniela, Cami’s Sister
There’s no way on God’s green earth that this group of FBI stalwarts didn’t thoroughly check this limited-in-content hard drive for 11 months. Why didn’t they find the photos of Camila sooner?
Because they weren’t there any sooner.
2. Keystone Kop Bungling of Evidence
Here are more facts:
#1: FBI protocol dictates that digital evidence should be turned into Evidence Control within ten days of being seized. (Nassar OIG).
Here, FBI case agents, including lead agent Michael Lever, held onto the hard drive for 4.5 months before turning it into the FBI Computer Analysis Response Team (CART) on August 8, 2018.
It is odd that case agents did not turn in the camera card at that same time. They continued to hold onto it.
#2: On September 19, 2018, before the camera card got to CART, but while it was in the custody of the case agents, some unknown person got into it and altered data on it (Testimony of Brian Booth, June 13, 2019, Pages 4972 – 4973)
Here is the transcript where Paul DerOhanessian, Raniere’s attorney, cross-examined FBI Senior Forensic Examiner Brian Booth:
Q The metadata for JPEGs 224, 225, 227 to 241, and 243 from Government Exhibit 524, the media card, changed after it was collected on March 27, 2018, correct?
A The access dates appear to be.
Q The metadata for Exhibit 524, the media card, reflects that the digital evidence on Exhibit 524 changed while it was in the possession of the FBI, correct?
A Which — which metadata are you specifically —
Q The date accessed.
A You’re talking from the file system?
Q I’m talking about the data that we just looked at.
A That file system data appears to have been changed.
Q When we say “changed,” it was changed while it was in the possession of the FBI?
A If I’m taking the dates on when we received it, it would appear so.
#3: The case agents held onto the camera card for 11 months, before turning it into CART on February 22, 2019, the day after the alleged “discovery” of child pornography. (Testimony of Brian Booth, June 13, 2019, Page 4906)
Keep in mind this timeline of court dates:
- On May 4, 2018, trial was set for October 1, 2018. (See Page 4 of the transcript of the hearing that day)
- On July 25, 2018, the government moved for a delay and the trial was delayed to January 7, 2019. (See page 8 of the transcript of the hearing that day)
- On October 15, 2018, the Court approved the government’s motion for delay and trial was delayed to March 18, 2019.
- On January 11, 2019, the government moved to delay yet again, and the Court approved it (See Dkt. 287) and the trial was set for April 29, 2019.
Every time the government had a date, the FBI agents held onto the camera card, and the government would move for a delay, and they still held onto it, then in February they made their Columbus-like discovery of America, or was it Mexico.
Each time a trial date got close, did Lever or any of the case agents think to themselves, oh gosh, we have a trial coming up, better make sure this potentially critical evidence, the camera card, is turned in and analyzed right away?
No, they didn’t. They kept holding onto it.
Do I need to pull out my harmonica here?
The only thing that makes sense is that Lever and his fellow agents knew that the trial would be delayed, because the prosecution told them. They knew they were in no rush. They knew the judge would give the prosecution everything they asked for.
The old-fashioned Garaufis, was offended by Raniere’s morality. Multiple women, allowing them to have their own decision making process, not holding the door open for them, in fact, perhaps, having them serve him.
It was too much for Garaufis and Moira Kim Penza knew it.
But why did Lever hold onto the camera card?
Was it his insurance policy, to assure a conviction?
The camera card is what connected the 22 nude photos of Camila to the camera and then to Raniere as the photographer. Without the camera card, they would have the possession charge but not the exploitation charge.
Then on February 22, 2019, the camera card is turned into the FBI CART Lab.
The agents would not be so blatant as to fool us by putting Camila’s photos on the camera card because any reasonable person would say, wouldn’t Keith have taken those damning photos off the camera card? No, they only put some of the pictures of the so-called “2005 series” on there to support the sexual exploitation charge.
The camera card was just supporting evidence for the hard drive, and the prosecution didn’t have to use it much in the trial, because Raniere’s attorneys did what many of us do: make a presumption of regularity, that the prosecutors won’t lie and federal agents won’t cheat and tamper.
But cops lie. Prosecutors lie. Etc.
Prior to trial, on April 19, 2019, the government made a motion to preclude any evidence regarding the government’s motives for prosecution (See Dkt 567).
I call it the anti-tampering defense motion:
They wrote the following:
“The Court should preclude the defendant from presenting evidence or arguments concerning the government’s alleged motive for this prosecution, alleged government misconduct in the course of this prosecution, or the existence, non-existence or outcome of any previous investigation. The defendant and his co-defendants have raised allegations of this sort in their pretrial motions,  and they are irrelevant to the question of guilt that will be before the jury at trial. See Fed. R. Evid. 401. To the extent the defendant seeks to raise these arguments or offer evidence in support of them at trial, their purpose would be to seek jury nullification, rather than to cast factual doubt on the government’s case. The probative value of such evidence would be substantially outweighed by unfair prejudice. See Fed. R. Evid. 403.”
See, e.g., DE 198 (suggesting government overreach resulting from a “firestorm of press” and the “ire of the Justice Department”); DE 283 (alleging that “prosecutors’ conduct and statements [to Kathy Russell] were misleading”).
On April 27, 2019, less than two weeks before trial Agnifilo responded (See Dkt 595):
“The defense does not intend to discuss the government’s motives for prosecution. In 29 years trying cases, I cannot think of a time that I have ever raised such an issue, as it tends to be irrelevant.”
Agnifilo tried to intimate without daring to aggravate the judge that something fishy was going on.
The prosecution made a motion. Agnifilo signed away an important part of the defense. But he had to anyway. Judge Garaufis always ruled for the prosecution.
Check that out yourself.
This is only part #1. What say you, Frank Parlato?