By Eduardo Asunsolo
Did the FBI alter Camila’s photos?
Assistant US Attorney Kevin Trowel wrote, “Raniere’s assertion of government’s malfeasance’ is frivolous.”
If Trowel had let it go at that, it might have stood.
But Trowel continued, “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].'”
Of course, Trowell knows that what Camila said at Raniere’s sentencing is not evidence. The appellate judges know that too. If Trowel was sure the Rule 33 motion was frivolous, why depend on inadmissible evidence?
Is this the government’s defense?
What is damning to Trowel’s argument is that he does not deny the FBI altered the photographs. He says Camila says Raniere took naked pictures of her when she was 15.
He does not say, “The FBI did not tamper.”
His argument is a red herring.
Camila did not testify at trial. She spoke at the sentencing. The government arranged for her to come. The sentencing was a year and four months after the trial. Camila’s appearance, I think, was in response to a group of us saying the government tampered with the photos. We said it for weeks before the sentencing on October 27, 2020.
Camila had not been heard from before. But then she shows up. The judge did not swear her in. The defense did not cross-examine.
At sentencing, she said, “He first had sex with me on September 18, 2005… I was 15… During these secret meetings, when I was still 15, he took naked pictures — naked pictures of me… He would have with me some type of sexual contact during every meeting. He wanted to take a picture with no exception.”
So, Trowel argues Camila says Raniere took photos of her. So, the FBI did not tamper. Yet, Camila did NOT say the photos were authentic.
Camila might have said, “I reviewed the photos. They were photos when I was 15. I posed for Keith for these photos. The dates are accurate. November 2 and November 22, 2005. Those are the photos like the FBI said.”
But she did not.
There are more questions.
Like why Camila was not present during the trial. I am pretty sure if the government wanted Camila, they would have had her. They had no problem kidnapping Keith in Mexico.
The FBI found Camila in Mexico, but they did not want her. Camila would be the last person they wanted if they tampered with her photos.
They had her sister, Daniela. She testified for days at the trial. It troubled me that the government did not ask Daniela to identify the photos of Camila.
Daniela would have been the most reliable witness to identify photos of her sister. Instead, they used a witness who never met Camila — FBI Special Agent Michael Weniger.
The prosecution also asked Daniela if Keith took nude pictures of her in 2005. Daniela said yes. She described the photos and the camera.
The prosecution had 167 photos of 12 women, including Camila, which they alleged Keith took in 2005.
Everything depended on 2005. Because in 2005, Camila was 15.
The prosecution had nude photos of Daniela. But the prosecution did not show Daniela her photos allegedly taken in 2005.
Raniere alleges the FBI tampered with Daniela’s pictures. For example, her thumbnail photos on the hard drive are her. She is a brunette. But on the matching images on the camera card, the thumbnails are another woman, a blond.
The prosecution did not show Daniela her photos.
They got Daniela to testify that Raniere took nude photos of her in 2005. But they did not show her the photos.
Lauren Salzman, another witness, was asked about nude photos. Lauren said Raniere took them in 2005. But again, they did not show her the photos.
There is this weird disconnect of people saying Raniere took their photos. And the prosecution never showing them the photos. To confirm these photos are the right ones.
This issue is not about whether Keith took nude photos in 2005 or later. The issue is not him or Camila.
Do we tolerate American law enforcement creating or destroying evidence? For example, did the FBI tamper with Camila’s photos?
There is nothing frivolous about raising that question at all.