Within hours of Keith Raniere’s attorney filing a motion to suspend his appeal, the US Attorney’s Office responded with its own filing. Assistant US Attorney Kevin Trowel called Raniere’s claims of FBI tampering “frivolous.”
Raniere’s lawyer, Joseph Tully, filed a motion before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit seeking a delay of his appeal based on Raniere’s allegation that the FBI tampered with photos of Camila and other women in his criminal trial.
All appeal briefs and replies have been filed with the Appellate Court. Only oral arguments remain before the three-judge panel will deliberate and make a final decision. The oral arguments are scheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd.
Tully seeks to bring Raniere’s Rule 33 motion for a new trial first. A Rule 33 motion is brought before the District Court.
When Tully filed his motion to stay the appeal, he checked the box that indicates the government does not oppose his motion to postpone.
Assistant US Attorney Trowel disagreed, writing, “Raniere’s motion incorrectly states that his motion is ‘unopposed.’ For the avoidance of doubt, the government strongly opposes his motion to stay his appeal.”
Tampering Motion Is ‘Frivolous’
Trowel continued, “There is no legal or factual basis to stay the appeal, much less to stay it just two business days before oral argument. Raniere’s assertion of government ‘malfeasance’ is frivolous, and the government will address that assertion on the merits at such time as Raniere makes the motion in the appropriate forum, and the government is directed to respond to it.
“The crux of Raniere’s argument appears to be that the Federal Bureau of Investigation manipulated ‘computer images and photographs’ of Raniere’s victim Camila ‘to make it appear that these photographs were taken in 2005: i.e., when Camila was a minor.
“But, as noted in the government’s brief on appeal, Camila appeared at Raniere’s sentencing and herself confirmed that ‘in September 2005, ‘when she was still fifteen, [Raniere] took naked pictures of [her].’”
Trowel also believes that the motion under Rule 33 is inappropriate. He wrote that a Rule 37 motion is the better mechanism.
Trowel wrote, “the appropriate mechanism by which Raniere may seek relief is Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 37. If Raniere files his motion in the district court, Rule 37 provides that the district court may defer the motion, deny the motion or ‘state either that it would grant the motion if the court of appeals remands for that purpose or that the motion raises a substantial issue.
“Further, even if the district court were to issue an ‘indicative ruling’ under Rule 37, this Court ‘may’ — not ‘must’ — remand for further proceedings while retaining jurisdiction.
“The Court should reject Raniere’s effort to bypass these procedural mechanisms and thereby defer resolution of the issues that the parties are prepared to argue before the Court on May 3, 2022.”
With Rule 37, Trowel argues, Judge Garaufis has the option of
- Denying the motion
- Defer the motion until the appeal is resolved,
- He could tell the Court of Appeals that if it sent the case back to him, he would grant Raniere a new trial.
- He could tell the Court of Appeals that the Rule 37 motion raises a significant issue, which means he could call for a hearing on the evidence.
Tully Wants to Argue From California
Meanwhile, Tully hopes not to appear in person in NYC on May 3rd if the appeal goes forward on Tuesday with oral arguments. The Appellate Court gives him five minutes to make oral arguments. Clare Bronfman, who appeals her sentence, is also given five minutes. Her lawyer, Duncan Levin, has offices in NYC. The government is given ten minutes to rebut both defendants. They are in Brooklyn, NY
Tully lives in California.
He wrote, “I am set to orally argue on behalf of Mr. Keith Raniere in this matter. I am writing to request permission to appear and argue remotely.
“Good cause exists for remote oral argument, as I am located in California, and appearing in person would necessitate over fifteen hours of travel, all during our current pandemic as COVID-19 continues to be present and infectious.
“The total time allotted for this hearing is twenty minutes, with five minutes for each defense counsel and ten minutes for the government. The health risk weighed against a short argument provides good cause to allow me on behalf of Mr. Raniere to argue orally remotely, especially in light of an absence of prejudice to this Court or any party.
“Neither the government nor Ms. Bronfman’s counsel objects to me arguing remotely, as long as they are both permitted to argue before this Honorable Court in person. Therefore, I respectfully request that this Honorable Court allow this argument to be a hybrid of in-person and remote appearances.
“Mr. Raniere also respectfully requests to appear remotely. He is presently incarcerated at a United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona.
Therefore, I respectfully request that the Court grant this request and allow me to argue remotely on May 3, 2022.”
The court may have to rule early on Monday. Otherwise Tully may have to fly out later on Monday to be on time for his appearance for the oral arguments on Tuesday morning.
Clare Wants Her Passport
Bronfman is in the maximum security, Philadelphia Detention Center. However, her lawyers said in a filing that she would be transferred to the Federal Penitentiary in Danbury. USP Danbury is a low security prison.
Her release date is June 29, 2026.