One of Nicki Clyne’s tweets attracted the attention of Donald Trump Jr.
That tweet was “BREAKING: In the case of US v. Keith Raniere, three forensic experts, including a former FBI Special Agent of 20 years, have filed affidavits affirming that the FBI tampered and planted the child porn evidence presented at trial, in motion to stay appeal.”
Vinny D’Agostino, a former NY FBI agent, replied to Clyne, “Correct! It is why the judicial system is based on the premise of the presumption of innocent. A novel idea at the time. More defendants need to put the state to their burden! This is actually better for everyone, believe it or not.”
The Appeal is Going Forward Tuesday
The 2nd Circuit has decided to continue with the oral arguments for Raniere’s appeal, despite his attorney’s request for a delay.
Raniere attorney, Joseph Tully, will have five minutes to make his oral arguments on Tuesday morning. Clare Bronfman’s attorneys will also get five minutes. The prosecution will have 10 minutes to respond.
Afterward, the 2nd Circuit will decide whether Raniere was wrongly convicted, and whether Bronfman’s sentence is too long. It is unlikely the three-judge panel will decide on the spot. It may take months.
Tully’s oral argument will likely focus on his contention that Judge Nicholas Garaufis gave improper jury instructions for sex trafficking. He argues the judge wrongly told jurors that commercial sex’s “thing of value” need not involve money.
Tully argues Garaufis’ instructions to the jury “blatantly ignored” federal trafficking laws intended to address sexual exploitation for economic gain. A precedent like this could apply to almost any sex act in which a third-party benefits from someone else’s sex acts.
Raniere was convicted for sex trafficking Nicole because Allison Mack, a non-participant, was alleged to have gotten “a thing of value.” She gained improved social standing with Raniere.
Tully argues that this makes a mockery of true sex trafficking and broadens the scope of governmental power.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Hajjar told the court Raniere’s arguments were “frivolous.”
Bronfman’s attorneys will argue she was sentenced unfairly. Bronfman pleaded guilty in April 2019 to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal immigrants for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification.
She paid for Raniere and his baby mama Marinas’s use of the late Pam Cafrtiz’s American Express card.
Bronfman was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison. Based on her previous record of no prior conviction, the sentencing guidelines for the crimes she admitted committing are 21-27 months.
Bronfman’s attorneys, Ronald Sullivan and Daniel R. Koffman, argued that Bronfman is “collateral damage” to the sex-trafficking convictions.
Collateral damage could be a poor choice of words. At Bronfman’s sentencing in September 2020, the judge noted that while Bronfman was not in the DOS, she had received requests from DOS members for their collateral. Bronfman collaborated with Raniere to try to intimidate them into silence.