U.S. v. Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman – Court of Appeals Will Be Live Streamed Tomorrow – Here’s How to Watch

And they did decide....

This came in from the EDNY–

Tomorrow, May 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear the oral argument of two defendants, Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman, convicted in the “NXIVM” case.

Raniere, who was the leader of the criminal enterprise, is appealing his conviction, and Bronfman is appealing her sentence of 81 months’ imprisonment.

Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman.

The oral arguments at the Circuit are scheduled for 2:00 PM (EDT); there are three cases on the calendar for the day, and U.S. v. Raniere/Bronfman will be heard last.

Appearing for the government will be Assistant United States Attorney Tanya Hajjar, who will handle the argument regarding Raniere’s appeal  – and Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Trowell, who will handle the argument regarding Bronfman’s appeal.

The Circuit Judges hearing the defendants’ appeals are Jose A. Cabranes, [Clinton Democrat], Guido Calabresi [Clinton Democrat], and Richard J. Sullivan [George W. Bush republican].

Richard J. Sullivan


Guido Calabresi


Jose A Cabranes

The oral arguments will be live-streamed at: https://ww2.ca2.uscourts.gov/court.html

The government’s brief

Raniere’s brief 

Raniere’s supplemental brief

Bronfman brief 

Joseph Tully will represent Raniere. He will have five minutes to speak.

In his supplemental brief, Tully argued the judge erred when he gave the jury instructions on sex trafficking. His example to illustrate it is interesting:

Based on Judge Garaufis’ wrong jury instruction, Tully says sex trafficking can now be interpreted as:

A husband has sex with his wife, and the next day he treats his staff to lunch. The sex act becomes a “commercial sexual act.” His employees received the value of lunch.

Or, the husband compliments his secretary, gives his HR director a high five, and offers his administrator a friendly, reassuring smile.

He indicates his employees are in his favor because of the pleasure he had with his wife the night before.

The sex act would now be a “commercial sexual act,” Tully argues.

The government charged Raniere with the sex trafficking of Nicole. The government argues that a “thing of value” need not “involve a monetary exchange.” “Things of value” are not limited to cash or cash equivalents.

Allison Mack, they argue, got advantages in setting up Nicole for Raniere to enjoy. It was a one-time event. Raniere had her blindfolded, tied, and naked on a table. Then Camila performed oral sex on Nicole. Raniere walked around the table and commented in his world’s smartest way.

Mack and Raniere and maybe Camila got something of value. Nicole is the victim.

The prosecution argued that the collateral Mack held over Nicole coerced her compliance. It met the elements of sex trafficking, the government claims. Coercion and profit. Plus, because Nicole took a train or a bus or something to get to Albany, NY, the act constituted interstate commerce.

Raniere got 40 years for the single act.

The Vanguard may have set a record. He got approximately one year of prison per minute of a sex act with Nicole. A year in prison for a minute of pleasure can only be achieved by being the smartest man in the world, I tend to think.

Being the smartest, he certainly figured out in advance that taking collateral, branding women without disclosing the brand is his initials, and expecting his slaves to order their slaves to seduce him, had no potential downside.

I’ll be tuning into court tomorrow. I hope you will too. We might even see Raniere if he is permitted to make a remote appearance.

Viva Executive Success!

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Frank Parlato


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  • On account of and because of Allen T. “Alanzo” Stanfield’s comment, I am laughing my ass off.

    “Not because she was running prostitutes and getting US Dollars for it, but because Keith ‘continued to hold her in high regard’ and she ‘kept her job’.”


    You used “because” instead of “on account,” therefore, your argument is false!

    See… I learned a lot from Tully’s legal brilliance.

    Somebody was so excited by yesterday’s court proceedings that he blew his monthly SSI check and food stamps on a massive Ring Dings® purchase at Walmart. Guess the sugar rush distorted his already confused mind. Well… at least he can survive the rest of the month on his stored calories.

    Ah… the life of a world-class vegan athlete…

    Viva Executive Success®!!!!!

    Viva Ring Dings®!!!!!

    Nice Guy Certified® Comedy Triple Platinum Award Winner 💿💿💿

  • Joseph Tully did a masterful job arguing two points on appeal in the 2nd Circuit:

    1. It was a 6th amendment violation for Judge Garaufis to cut off the cross examination of Lauren Salzman. The transcripts show Judge Garaufis stating – at the time he cut off cross examination of Lauren Salzman – that the defense could file an appeal.

    That happened today.

    2. Tully also appealed the Judge’s instructions to the jury regarding the commercial portion of the federal sex trafficking statutes. Seems Judgey G didn’t feel tethered to those, and gave the jury an instruction that violated those statutes, and was so broad anything could be defined as a commercial sex act – which is why Allsion Mack went to prison. Not because she was running prostitutes and getting US Dollars for it, but because Keith ‘continued to hold her in high regard’ and she ‘kept her job’.

    Joseph Tully argued clearly and well.

    And who were the judge’s “defense” lawyers today? The people who benefited from the judge’s violations – the government’s prosecutors.

    Make of that what you will about our federal system of appeals.

    Anyone whose conscience is not shocked by what went on in the US v Raniere trial is either a sociopath who wants people who live and believe differently destroyed, or they’re being paid to look the other way (cough! sophist lawyers!). Either way, they are a threat to the rest of us who wish to live in a free and civil society, under the rule of law.


    • I agree that categorizing what happened as sex trafficking is absurd. I also think that the subject of abortion was highly prejudicial, and at least one of the judges certainly seemed to agree. I’m very interested to hear the ruling on this appeal, and if they reject the appeal, what their reasoning is. I’m not saying Raniere was a saint, but I’ve always had a hard time grasping how what happened in DOS was classified as sex trafficking.

    • Oh, but now I remember something. Weren’t there texts or emails where Allison was asking Keith to get paid or reimbursed for something, and Keith said something like, “But when will you bring me Nicole..?” and it was implied that he was withholding pay until Allison hooked him up with Nicole? Or did I just dream that one up? If that happened, I can see where that could be interpreted as sex trafficking. IDFK. I read about that exchange here on the FR somewhere I THINK.

    • Ok, just did a little more looking into it…if this is true, as stated by the prosecution, “Congress found that trafficking in persons..includes sex acts and labor procured by force. Pub. L. No. 106–386, 114 Stat. 1466 (2000). Congress further noted that “force” can include “threats, psychological abuse, and coercion.”

      Unfortunately, coercion was definitely present here. I personally don’t believe Mack or any DOS members were ill-intentioned at all, but that doesn’t really matter. Raniere should have thought through the legal repercussions/checked with a laywer before he came up with and/or approved the collateral idea. Does anyone know if he did? I actually get why people thought collateral could be good motivation for sticking to your own self-created goals with the support of a group, but the sad reality is it could be abused OR easily interpreted as being abused, even if in reality it was not abused. IDK.

      • To answer your earlier question…

        Emails show slave Alison Mack begging her master Raniere for money Keith orders Alison to first deliver India to his sordid condo of depravity for spread eagle photos and sexual assault.

        • “Emails show slave Alison Mack begging her master Raniere for money Keith orders Alison to first deliver India to his sordid condo of depravity for spread eagle photos and sexual assault.”

          But not Nicole.

          Do you even know what sex trafficking is?

          That’s okay – neither did the jury.


      • “I personally don’t believe Mack or any DOS members were ill-intentioned at all, but that doesn’t really matter.”

        For a RICO prosecution, It does.

        That’s why in the criminal trial, as Tully explained, the defense was questioning Lauren Salzman as to her intent – which was to help people – and that does not fit with RICO statutes for a criminal organization.

        There has to be criminal intent.

        This is why Judgy G cut off the re-direct of Laren Salzman – it was going to ruin the prosecution’s star witness.

        It’s also why those same prosecutors were Judgy G’s defense attorneys in this appeal – they are on each other’s side.


        • Thanks for that explanation in a few concise words. NOW, I finally understand WHY that cut off testimony WAS very important.

          RICO’s kinda like the Patriot Act cutting into all our privacy, will help the federal govt indict many citizens who truly meant no harm. This isn’t Al Capone …

        • Ok, so ill take your word that it matters for RICO.

          But it still doesn’t matter for sex trafficking because if Nicole felt coerced due to blackmail material (which most people would agree itis reasonable to feel coerced when someone has blackmail-worthy material on you which they say they’ll expose if you renege on your agreement), it doesn’t matter re sex trafficking whether Mack sent her on the assignment with good intentions, right?

          It’s still trafficking because of coercion. It no longer seems absurd to call it sex trafficking now that I understand that coercion can define it. But maybe it’s not necessarily trafficking as part of a criminal enterprise…. ?

          • Nxivm/DOS had multiple criminals commiting many crimes in an organized and coordinated structure.

            Calling Nxivm/DOS a criminal enterprise is apt.

            From laundering money to imiigration violations, tax evasion, blackmail on a massive scale, identity theft, computer trespass… that is just a very small sampling. The list is quite lengthy.

            And that doesn’t count all the crimes for which they were not charged.

    • Anyone who thinks Keith should not be in prison for the rest of his miserable life is a sociopath and a fool. You have a very skewed perspective of right and wrong. Maybe due to your years in Scientology? Did you forget the fact Keith groomed and had sex with children? Or is that something you are cool with? Basically, what I’m saying is you are an idiot. Which I’m sure your parents could validate. GFY!

  • Thanks for this link, Frank. No video of Raniere though… Despite this, I was on the edge of my seat listening to counsel, government and the judge.
    In Raniere’s appeal, Tully focused on Lauren Salzman’s cross-examination cutoff by judge Garaufis, exchange of something of value related to the sex trafficking conviction (Nicole) and information about the abortions showed to the jury. The Judge seemed unhappy about showing abortion-related evidence to the jury as he thought it is a very prejudicial subject. Assistant DA Tanya Hajjar did a good job rebuting. She tried to make clear the abortion related material was not extensive and functional.

    Clare Bronfmann’s attorney did poorly in my opinion. He focused on the fact that Clare got 200% upward the guideline sentence and that the defense was unable to reply to the “willful blindness” accusation in the sentencing by Garaufis (apparently a legal breach of some sort). He also pointed at the disparity between Clare’s sentence and Mack’s, Russel’s and Salzman’s sentence. In my opinion, the government had an excellent rebuttal.

    First time I listened to an oral hearing in an appeal to the second circuit. It was formal, everybody was well prepared, including the judge, and it was done in a respectful and professional manner.

    Now we wait for the decision of the court….

  • IDK. I’m listening to it now, and I tend to agree with Tully’s point that defining what happened to Nicole as sex trafficking is absurd. I’m not saying the other crimes Keith Raniere was convicted of don’t apply, but to me it doesn’t make sense to categorize that as sex trafficking. My opinion only.

  • The live video for the US Court of Appeals for Keith Raniere’s appeal isn’t working and only audio is working! Somebody needs to report this!

  • According to Tully:

    Collecting (blackmail material) to coerce woman into sex is comparable to sharing sandwiches.

    I’m beginning to think Tully’s claim of speaking 9 languages is bullshit.

  • ‘The government argues that a “thing of value” need not “involve a monetary exchange.”’

    No, that’s not something the government “argues”. It’s how the law is written. A commercial sex act is: “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person” (source: law.cornell.edu)

    This isn’t up for dispute, it’s not up to question or interpretation. It’s the letter of the law.

    Plus, in Raniere’s case, the thing of value WAS money. Allison Mack’s back wages to be specific. In an email exchange on March 3, 2016, Mack sends a groveling request to Raniere asking him to release the money owed her from the previous year for her work on The Source. He replies with a reminder that Mack needs to get their slave India to “complete her assignment” to strip naked before him and “pose in the most revealing way” while he takes pictures.

    Sex acts for cash.

    So, Tully can spin all the fanciful scenarios about bosses and wives as he likes. The facts of this case are simple, straightforward, and have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt at the trial: Raniere paid the employees of his criminal enterprise to provide women for his sexual pleasure.

    Tully has five minutes to make his best case for granting Raniere a new trial. Looks like he’s going to squander it talking nonsense. What a clown show!

    • Aristotle’s S,

      You’ve just really upset Alanzo now! On your knees (both knees) and apologise! Don’t wait for him to log in again if you want to continue living without regrets!

  • Times Union


    In Raniere’s shadows
    Women recall manipulation, underage encounters

    James M. Odato and Jennifer Gish

    Feb. 18, 2012
    Updated: Feb. 22, 2012 12:33 p.m.

    Women who have had sex with Keith Raniere say it was billed as a spiritual experience, a transfer of his godlike energy.

    One said Raniere told her their union would make her see a blue light.

    Another recalled him explaining a threesome would cure the pain of childhood molestation — that she could then start to view sex as just sex.

    And in 1984, when a woman objected to 24-year-old Raniere having sex with her underage sister, the woman said Raniere explained her sister’s soul was much older than her biological age. The girl was 15 or 16 at the time. But according to the man who came to view himself as an enlightened being, she was a Buddhist goddess meant to be with him.

    More recently, members of his inner circle of women, some of whom work on behalf of NXIVM and serve him sexually, told a woman that doing business with Raniere means sleeping with him, too.

    Raniere, the 51-year-old founder of NXIVM, a business built on self-improvement, claims to have one of the world’s highest IQs. He holds three degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His round face is framed with a salt-and-pepper beard. At about 5-foot-7, he no longer possesses the body of the dedicated weightlifter he once was, and he has an affection for baggy shirts and sweatpants.

    Yet former follower Susan Dones described during a November 2010 deposition in her bankruptcy case how Raniere pursues many women and how those closest to him insist no one owns his body.

    Today, two women who had sex with him when they were just girls, the sister of a third underage partner of Raniere’s, and some of Raniere’s former adult lovers have come forward to tell their stories.

    They’ve said he is more than just a man with an endless sexual appetite.

    They’ve said he needs to be stopped.

    • • •

    One woman, whose name is being withheld for this story, was just a girl in 1990, a 12-year-old with feathered bangs and long blond hair who was trying to adjust to a new life following her parents’ divorce and a move from the country to Clifton Park. Her mother was a saleswoman for Raniere’s members-only buying club, Consumers’ Buyline Inc., and was trying to raise two daughters.

    She recalled her mother saying Raniere was “an Einstein.” Consumers’ Buyline, which Raniere ran through the first half of the 1990s after he left a job as a computer programmer for the state Division of Parole, was the kind of place where managers kept late hours and the culture was informal. Raniere would call staff meetings to deliver sometimes tearful, emotional messages. He frequently showed a film about a man who plants seeds in the desert to build a forest. He suggested he was that type of noble cultivator of people.

    The girl was a seedling, a kid who thought of boys as schoolyard playmates. She hadn’t even started a seventh-grader’s crush on New Kids on the Block.

    When Raniere offered free tutoring, the girl’s mother jumped at the opportunity. At the same time, that girl has recalled today, one of Raniere’s longtime girlfriends, Pamela Cafritz, hired her to walk a dog twice a day.

    Cafritz encouraged the girl’s visits to the townhouse she and Raniere shared with other women. And Raniere showered the girl with attention. She said he urged her to talk about her life. He gave her a necklace — a heart with a stone in it.

    The girl had braces and bright eyes, liked to climb trees and play with Matchbox cars. Raniere was almost 30 and dressed in business suits. He was spearheading a company that boasted of selling at least 250,000 memberships nationwide.

    He was supposed to teach her Latin and algebra. Instead, she said, he told her she hugged like a child, her arms wrapped around him but her hips pushed away.

    He taught her to hug the way adults do, pelvis-to-pelvis.

    He took her virginity.

    The girl liked being able to hang out with Raniere and the women around him. She thought sex was just part of fitting in.

    “They told me I was smart and took an interest in me; they let me spend every afternoon at their house,” she said. “It was exciting to be somewhere where people wanted me. I was perfect picking — insecure at the time… To have someone that mature and that well thought of to be interested in me, it was flattering. I was young, inexperienced, overwhelmed, out of my league.”

    Even though the girl was several years shy of the legal age for sexual consent in New York, which is 17, Raniere continued to have sex with her not only in his townhouse but in empty offices, in an elevator and in a broom closet at the plaza that housed Consumers’ Buyline, she said.

    But after several months and about 60 sexual encounters with Raniere, she said, her emotions had changed. She started skipping school and running away from home. He lived nearby, and as her uncertainty about the relationship grew, she didn’t feel safe at home.

    It wasn’t until 1993, about two years after their relationship ended, that the woman reported the sex with Raniere to police.

    Her mother confirms the story and backs up her recollections of how she was introduced to Raniere. The alleged underaged victim, now a mother herself raising children with her husband in the Capital Region, did not have an unusual response to childhood abuse, said Maureen McLeod, a Sage Colleges mental health professor who teaches criminal justice, since every victim has a different way of handling trauma. Sometimes, when they share pieces of their story with friends, family or co-workers, they’re accused of lying, and they shut down.

    A school district document from the time shows the woman had received counseling for victims of sex abuse before deciding to file a State Police report, which she’s also kept. It’s the only record of the report, since State Police officials said complaint documents from the 1990s have been purged.

    The matter may have never been forwarded to prosecutors because the girl refused to wear a wire and confront Raniere to capture incriminating statements, and the report came years after the alleged incidents, offering no opportunity to collect forensic evidence. Thomas Constantine, who was State Police superintendent at the time, has no recollection of the case and said it likely was never shared with prosecutors.

    The girl didn’t want to see Raniere again and didn’t think he would fall for a police plan to have her wear a wire, a request legal experts said would rarely be made of an underage victim today, but which was more common at a time when minors were considered shaky witnesses. She finally signed a waiver saying the claim Raniere had sex with her was true but that she was not pursuing charges. Her mother kept a carbon copy.

    After her initial complaint to police, the woman spent 20 years working to feel comfortable in relationships.

    “He took my innocence,” she said. “I can never get that back.”

    The statute of limitations has long expired on the woman’s case, but she said she has dreamed she may one day be part of a civil suit against Raniere if other women come forward with similar stories.

    • • •

    In 1984, when Raniere was living in apartments in Troy, he met Gina Melita, a 15-year-old from Cohoes who performed with him in an RPI theater group that included members of the community.

    Melita was a precocious girl with an independent streak and a longing to find meaning. Before she met Raniere, she had explored being a born-again Christian. She kept journals and wrote poetry and thought school was holding her back from discovering what life was about.

    She and Raniere, then 24, went to arcades together, where he liked to play Pac-Man and a game called Vanguard, in which destroying enemies increases the fuel in the player’s tank. He described himself as a genius and judo champion. She thought it was cool to be with an older, smart guy who might help her graduate from high school early. He took her virginity in a dark room, her T-shirt left flecked with blood. She told him it was painful, yet a short time later, he wanted more. During their four-month relationship, he hounded the 135-pound girl to lose weight and urged her to keep their relationship secret from her mother.

    After a while, she said she told Raniere she wanted to break off the relationship but he told her they should keep having sex. Even as a 15-year-old, she said, she realized Raniere didn’t care about her.

    Today, she is a 42-year-old chef in Georgia, resolved to expose the truth and still sorting through the sense of insecurity she said he planted.

    Before Melita left Raniere’s life, though, she had introduced him to a 15-year old friend from Cohoes High School named Gina Hutchinson, another girl from a broken family in the working-class town.

    Hutchinson isn’t here to tell her story. She died in 2002, when she was 33. She went to a Buddhist monastery in Woodstock and for reasons that remain unknown, shot herself in the head.

    Her sister, Heidi Hutchinson, is left to speak for her.

    It was the Christmas season of 1984 and around the time of Gina’s 16th birthday when Heidi discovered Gina was having sex with Raniere. Heidi was home from college and Raniere crawled through the window of her sister’s bedroom.

    After Gina, who was raised as a Mormon, revealed the details of their relationship, Heidi confronted Raniere. Heidi said Raniere told her she did not understand her sister’s soul was much older than her biological age. He explained Gina was a Buddhist goddess meant to be with him.

    More Information
    This series

    “Secrets of NXIVM: The untold story of Keith Raniere,” is the result of a more-than-year-long examination of the self-improvement guru and conceptual founder of NXIVM, which has attracted students from Vancouver to Mexico but remains rooted in the Capital Region.

    The reporting includes scores of interviews and a review of business records, police reports and thousands of pages of court documents, which provide a window into Raniere’s world, but it comes without an interview with the elusive Raniere, who did not respond to repeated attempts to get comment. It also lacks any response from the women who surround him and serve as NXIVM’s lifeblood. They, and the lawyers who represent the organization, have refused repeated requests to speak with them.

    The four-part series – which details the grasp of mind, money and body Raniere has held over some followers – unfolds in print, online and with a special report for the iPad.

    • Part 1: An overview of Raniere and his unusual life.

    • Part 2: Relentless litigation wrought against NXIVM defectors.

    • Part 3: Raniere’s multilevel-marketing mind.

    • Part 4: A history of Raniere’s sexual conquests.

    Raniere convinced Gina to drop out of school and be tutored by him, her sister recalled. The Hutchinson family assumed they would marry.

    Gina, a good listener who would introduce herself to strangers at bus stops and who had a burning curiosity about spiritual things, worked at Consumers’ Buyline, continuing at least a friendship with Raniere for many years. Heidi doesn’t know exactly how long her sister’s sexual relationship with Raniere lasted.

    Gina studied religion and anthropology at the University at Albany and found mentors among her male professors, which her sister said Raniere didn’t like. And in those times Gina tried to break away, Heidi said, one of the women in Raniere’s inner circle would call repeatedly, urging her to return.

    When Gina killed herself, she was found with a Buddha medal in her pocket. Only a few days earlier, she had sent a friend a card that said “Never stop believing.”

    • • •

    Experts in cults say they believe NXIVM behaves like a cult, and that cult leaders often use sex to control followers. Outspoken among experts willing to share their opinions on NXIVM is Rick Ross, a cult tracker who has examined and spoken about NXIVM so extensively it spawned a lawsuit from Raniere for publicizing portions of NXIVM’s training program. Cult leaders “have sex with their followers and it has as much to do with power and control as it has to do with sex,” Ross said.

    In the final years of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas, Ross said, David Koresh used sex to control the compound.

    “He specifically broke up the group so that women who were married had to submit to him and their husbands did not have sex with them,” said Ross, who had federal officials consult with him on the Branch Davidian sect. “The only people who had sex in the Davidian sect were David Koresh and the women. … He demanded they be rail thin, that they go on a diet to be as thin as he wanted them to be. … This points to the issue of power and control that the cult leader would have over the group.”

    Raniere, according to former followers, likes the women who surround him to keep their hair long. He has stressed the importance of a vegetarian diet and has subtly suggested if they don’t eat well and exercise, it drains his own health. He has convinced them thinness is essential.

    Cult leaders often tell followers they are special in order to seize control of them, says Peter Olsson, a New Hampshire psychoanalyst and author of “Malignant Pied Pipers of Our Time: A Psychological Study of Destructive Cult Leaders From the Rev. Jim Jones to Osama bin Laden.”

    Olsson won’t speak specifically about NXIVM, but he describes the general characteristics of leaders with narcissistic personality disorders, such as Jones and Koresh, men who craved sexual adoration from attractive, blossoming girls. Those characteristics include grandiosity, fantasies of power, belief in their own status, insistence on excessive admiration, a sense of entitlement, interpersonal exploitation and lack of true empathy.

    In that context, the relationship of Raniere to many women around him that is described by the women who were once close to him is revealing.

    Raniere has instructed his inner circle of women that to be “evolved” or “empowered” is to let go of conventional ideas and attachments in relationships. Sex, the women closest to him have been told and later explained in court testimony, is no different than playing the violin or tennis.

    And when women try to break away, the inner circle sometimes tries to lure them back.

    Svetlana Kotlin, who once ran a physical therapy business beside NXIVM headquarters, ended her intimate relationship with Raniere after deciding she didn’t want to be one of many women in his life. In an October 2009 deposition filed in federal court, Barbara Bouchey, a former NXIVM associate and one of Raniere’s ex-girlfriends, explained how the circle of women closed in on Kotlin.

    “[They] started to come in to mentor [Kotlin] and tell her that it was her destiny, that Keith couldn’t start a business with her unless she was in an intimate relationship with him, and that this was her issue and an attachment, and she needed to work [on] this, and if she were to leave that she might kill him because he was now intimately connected with her.”

    The women in Raniere’s life are often smart, attractive, well-spoken and hold college degrees. But many arrive at Raniere’s feet with emotional baggage, including bad relationships or troubled childhoods.

    “The process of involvement and control is gradual,” Ross said. “There’s a spoon-feeding process, constant emphasis on the special nature of the leader, the aura of power and intellect of the leader. … It’s not unusual for women or men to fall in love with their therapist. With cult leaders, there are no boundaries. … You see the leader in godlike terms, and it’s difficult to refuse anything that the leader wants.

    “As I see it, people are essentially broken down, made very pliable, very malleable, it makes them an easy target for someone like Raniere,” Ross said. If Raniere had approached a woman cold, Ross said, “gone up to her in the supermarket and said, ‘I’m a great intellect. I want you to give me your money and have sex with me’ … She would slap him. This is a process.”

    • • •

    Christine Marie, a blond beauty who wore the Mrs. Michigan sash in 1995, was running a children’s educational material business and was a divorced mother of four when she hopped a train from Michigan to Albany with her 10-year-old daughter to meet Raniere. That was in 1998.

    She had converted from Methodism to Mormonism in high school. But even though she married a Mormon and went to Brigham Young University for her psychology degree, she never felt like the faith was the right fit.

    By the time she was on her way to meet Raniere, the Mormon church had excommunicated her for dating after her divorce.

    Raniere wore aviator glasses she thought were out of style, jeans and a T-shirt. She didn’t find him attractive at first. But he was charismatic and smart, and the circle of women around him confirmed what he had been telling her: He was a highly evolved human being.

    She found him gentle and wise, recalling him as a “calm master who never gets ruffled.”

    She said Raniere praised her for homeschooling such an advanced child and told her she was a gifted educator. Marie remembers him assuring her she would play a profound role in this world.

    She was hired to write marketing materials for National Health Network, Raniere’s follow-up project to Consumers’ Buyline, and later for Executive Success Programs, which would ultimately become NXIVM.

    “Keith made me feel precious to him. He touched me gently on the side of the face and told me that I was such an innocent, pure soul that I didn’t even belong on this planet,” she said. “Keith explained that it might help me if I would be physical with him.

    He explained how there was a profound event that would often happen to the women who became intimate with him, sometimes they would even see a blue light. … Ultimately I agreed to be intimate with Keith, and it was just as he said. I even saw a blue light, but I don’t think I told him so. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, my brain is really susceptible to the power of suggestion.'”

    After she slept with Raniere, she said, he “sat me down and told me I was now part of his inner circle and committed for life and I could never be physically involved with another man.”

    She said Raniere had suggested they become intimate the first time they’d met. He explained she didn’t have to be in a relationship to have sex, that skin was just skin. Another woman recalled him saying it, too, philosophizing that touching a man’s penis was no different than stroking his forearm.

    When she asked Raniere if he was involved with other women, Christine Marie remembers being surprised when he said he was. Then she saw that many of the women in Raniere’s inner circle — which at least one former follower has referred to as a “harem” — shared his townhouse.

    “I found it fascinating that these beautiful, smart women knew about each other and didn’t seem upset to share Keith. I thought they were all extraordinary women,” Christine Marie said. “Still, it seemed like secret polygamy to me, and I remember feeling sorry for them, too. As I understood it, they had to share the man they loved, they couldn’t publicly celebrate their love with a wedding, they couldn’t be with any other man, and they had to sacrifice a normal family life for what they believed was a higher cause.”

    On her second visit to Raniere’s office, she said he spoke of higher causes.

    “I remember him looking me in the eyes and touching me on the cheek and saying one day we’ll have a child together, and the child would be an avatar and the child would help change the world,” she said. “It’s a very hypnotic thing.”

    She recalled Raniere telling her she’d have a profound dream, and in it she’d see the face of the man who was destined for her.

    She had the dream, but the man wasn’t Raniere.

    In 2000, she moved to Utah, planning to rededicate herself to Mormonism. She said she soon met the man whose face she saw in her dream. He was a Utah cult leader who forced her to pass tests of faith to prove she was celestial, including funding his humanitarian organization aimed at eliminating poverty.

    When she felt she had to break away from the man, she called Raniere for help. He flew her to Albany, where she was housed by a NXIVM member and where Raniere explained how the Utah cult leader “was actually a suppressive parasite who was taking advantage of me, who was attracted to my light and wanted to destroy me while benefiting from my life work. Keith wanted me to understand that I was being exploited by a cult leader who was nothing more than a con artist. He made a lot of sense.”

    She went back to the Utah prophet once more before breaking away for good. Raniere urged her to move to Albany, she said, where they would help her establish a business, and she would be protected in a circle of “ethical people.”

    “I was leery of going from one male guru directly to another. Furthermore, I knew I was psychologically vulnerable. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I was worried about my children. I could not leave them in such an unstable situation during that critical time. [Raniere’s business partner] Nancy Salzman could not fathom why I would make my family my priority when I was so desperately in need of their thought-reform program. I felt an intense amount of pressure to go. But in the end, I did not go. I did not join NXIVM, and I did not become part of Keith Raniere’s inner circle.”

    • • •

    Toni Natalie was in a good marriage and was raising a young son when Raniere invited her to the Clifton Park headquarters of Consumers’ Buyline because she had become a top seller and had built a large network in the Rochester area.

    The first time Natalie visited, she heard Raniere’s inner circle of women asking, “Is she family? Is she family? Is it her? Is it her? Is she the one?”

    Natalie thought it was strange. But they seemed like rich college kids to her. She figured that’s just the way bright young people acted.

    She was a classic beauty, with long dark hair, a supermodel’s cheekbones and full, wide lips. She was also a high school dropout, who was drawn in by Raniere’s offer to have her head up a new skin care line he was launching called Awaken.

    He made Natalie feel smart. He made her feel important.

    “He’s an amazing listener. He listens, and he watches, and he fills that hole,” Natalie said. “He becomes everything you want and need and more. He fills every void.”

    She said Raniere asked her a lot of questions about her relationship, and eventually convinced her that her then-husband was sleeping with their nanny, something she knows now was absurd. She said he told her she should move and he would help with her relocation.

    She had viewed him as someone who could help her. She remembered how he counseled her through childhood molestation issues by making her repeat the memories to him in detail. And he once tried to convince Natalie that a threesome would heal her from those memories that haunted her, she said. It would at last, she remembered him telling her, allow her to view sex as just sex.

    Another time, when her conservative Catholic upbringing made her reluctant to engage in oral sex, she was invited to attend a class Raniere created on the subject. She said he told the students, including Natalie, that mothers in some developing nations perform oral sex on their children to soothe them. She suspects the class was organized just for her.

    Raniere encouraged Natalie to do hundreds of EMs — “exploration of meaning” sessions — with Salzman, who describes herself as a psychotherapist, and who is a practitioner of neurolinguistic programming. It’s a technique that identifies how people have been “programmed” to think and act, and analyzes their words and body language in order to help them shed those beliefs.

    Natalie would sometimes be in a meditative state for hours in the sessions, and Salzman would report the personal details of the sessions to Raniere. Sometimes they would speak about it in front of Natalie as if she wasn’t in the room.

    It took Natalie almost nine years to realize she could never have a normal life with Raniere, that he never would be a dedicated partner who could help raise her son.

    But the breakup with Raniere wasn’t a typical one.

    He sent her a six-page typed love letter that was as condemning as it was heartsick. Although it opened with softness, requesting that while she read the letter she hold the enclosed white rose and play the soundtrack he’d recorded for her, paragraphs later he also warned she might end up in jail.

    “I told you that you could have absolutely everything you wanted once you grew. I pledged — at all costs — to help you do this: overcome your neediness and open your heart through growth. I did not tell you exactly what growth was because it was something that had to come from you. Now I will explain. Growth was simply 3 things: 1. You had to open your heart and give as much as you took. You would then never be dependent on others or need others to do things for you (be ‘do fors’) to make you feel good. 2. You had to apologize sincerely for what you had done. 3. You needed to learn to trust yourself so you could trust me completely.

    “I gave you the name ‘Tookie’ so that you might realize the first thing and waited patiently over the years for the day when you would say, ‘Oh Keith, I am truly sorry about what I did, I was wrong.'”

    Later in the note, Raniere accuses Natalie of hiding “business and money,” allegations she denied and has never been charged with, and writes, “… I later discovered this path leads to not very nice things for you and it appears my Sweetheart may well go to jail. I pray this does not happen but I don’t think my Sweetheart has anyone to help her where she is.”

    She still has a timeline of her demise that Raniere sent, warning her that she was making a huge karmic mistake. She recalled the women in his inner circle showing up at her doorstep, insisting she must come back to Raniere because she was killing him and destroying everything for everyone by walking away.

    She fled to Florida in an RV for six months, thinking it would end and she could start over when she returned.

    Instead, NXIVM held up her bankruptcy in court with motions and filings for nearly eight years and recently subpoenaed her as it pursued a mostly unsuccessful breach of confidentiality case against former NXIVM trainers Susan Dones and Kim Woolhouse.

    In August, Natalie claimed Raniere sexually attacked her before she left him in 1999, according to a court filing. NXIVM’s lawyers called the Natalie claims “scandalous, immaterial, and impertinent.”

    Natalie’s allegation came up after Dones and Woolhouse said they broke away from NXIVM after they found out Raniere was sleeping with members of the NXIVM executive board and considered his behavior a conflict of interest.

    Natalie wrote to the federal judge that she “was raped repeatedly by Raniere, each time with him telling me it was harder on him than it was on me, that we needed to be together so that I could share in his energy, and that I needed to remain silent so as to not wake up my child who was sleeping in a nearby room.”

    Natalie and the other women speaking out said sex with Raniere wasn’t a spiritual experience. It was something much darker, a way to melt them down and cast them into a mold he created.

    Raniere’s NXIVM continues to thrive from its Capital Region headquarters, drawing new believers from across North America. They’ll pay thousands for a shot at personal growth, but some of those who have bought in with mind, money and body say the cost could be even greater.

    jodato@timesunion.com • 518-454-5083 • @JamesMOdato • jgish@timesunion.com • 518-454-5089 • @Jennifer_Gish • facebook.com/JenniferGishwriter

    Best of 2022 winner
    See the winners of each category of the 2022 Best of the Capital Region contest, as determined by popular vote.
    Written By
    James M. Odato and Jennifer Gish


    • Uh oh, Frank!

      According to your logic, this comment ☝🏻should be “too long”!

      Hypocrisy much?!……..

  • Today, May 3, is World Press Freedom Day, not a Keith Raniere Freedom Day that will never arrive.

    • Frank!

      Are you going to answer this guy or you going to keep being a pussy?!

      He’s got you by the balls in this one! This looks very bad for you, Frank! Especially when you hide and don’t retort! It makes you look guilty as sin!

      • I guess old man Ginzo is too big of a bitch to answer! I honestly think he’s a commie and he’s scared shitless of Patriot God!

        He’s so fucking scared of him that anytime anybody calls out Frank’s hypocrisy with the restrictions on Patriot God (even his arch nemesis called this one out), he runs and hides!

        The point is that Ginzo KNOWS that he’s full of shit and has double standards! There’s no way he can justify this! He just selfishly does what he wants and then calls out others for the exact same sins that he hint is guilty of!

        His biggest fear is that the world will realize that he is a covert commie and oust him! That’s why he doesn’t answer because he knows we’ve caught him and he’s scared shitless of it! That’s why he censors our freedom of speech too, because he’s sacred of being publicly exposed on his own territory!

        But don’t worry!

        Ginzo will eventually have to confess and pay for his sins!

        #Free Patriot God And His Fellow Patriots!

        #If We Believe!

        #There’s A Better Way!

  • Should all the esteemed long term participants to this forum be denied seeing the defendants’ appearances, I will feel obliged to lodge an appeal with this U.S. Court of Appeals. We are no doormat to be stumped on, here at the Frank Report readers’ forum! In fact, I would go as far as to suggest we retain some high-flying attorney to set up a class action lawsuit! It’s time we make our voices heard, and not by singing while we dance in front of some concrete building!!

    I’m not taking this sitting on my office chair anymore!!

  • Frank, you should somehow record the live stream and post the full video up for the readers who failed to see it live.

      • Hey Ginzo!

        Why have you decided to be an Orwellian tyrant by starting to censor me and the patriots again?!

        Answer this!



      • The live video for the US Court of Appeals for Keith Raniere’s appeal isn’t working and only audio is working! Somebody needs to report this!

  • Just be aware its not like on TV. The judges might be contentious with all the lawyers, none of the lawyers or some combination and that doesn’t necessarily tell you their decision.

    Also, again unlike TV, the decision usually comes months later. Don’t expect anything but arguments from the lawyers, few questions from the judges, some back and forth and that is about it. Ultimately, it reads far more dramatically than it actually is.

    • RE “Besides, unlike on TV, the decision usually comes months later.”

      Certainly, having to wait a long time to see how it all turns out only adds to the suspense. But only for the clueless and those hoping for a miracle like Tully and Keith Raniere and his supporters.

      But when someone can’t get wet from the rain or walk on water, those aren’t miracles, they’re realities. But Raniere knows that he is a liar and that he cannot do any of that. For him, there are no miracles, his world is only lies, deception, coercion and violence. For him, it is over. We will see and hear it.

  • Those are simply ludicrous comparisons Tully made. Raniere is doomed.

    At least Tully doesn’t have to file any more papers tomorrow because we know that he cannot do that successfully either.

    • “Those are simply ludicrous comparisons Tully made. “

      All right. How would you make comparisons with the legal precedents set which sent Allison Mack to prison?

      Mack received no money for Keith and Cami’s coordinated assault on Nicole. So what exactly was the commercial benefit she received for her “sex trafficking”?

      How would you make sense of it with a comparison in the real world that is better than Tully’s?

      I very much doubt that you are capable of it, “Laughably Awful Arguments” because the instructions Judgy G gave the jury were so ludicrous.


      • I don’t think the comparisons were ludicrous. It’s sex trafficking because Allison Mack benefited from Keith being happy with her after she set him up with Nicole? That precedent could then be applied to so many absurd situations, like a guy who helps his buddy meet women by acting as a wing man could be guilty of sex trafficking since his buddy was grateful to him for the help. ? Or if I am wrong, can anyone explain why?

        I think the issue of coercion is separate from the issue of sex trafficking. I believe Nicole has a solid case that she was coerced. Whether she truly felt coerced at the time or not (I kind of suspect she didn’t, TBH) the evidence is there that he had blackmail on her so it logically makes sense that a person might feel coerced in that situation. But isn’t the sex trafficking issue separate from that?

        • Allison wrote asking Keith for money. Keith ordered Allison to get India over here naked and spread legged for photos and sex.

          None of these attempts to compare the structure of a husband and wife etc. have the CONTEXT of the master slave situation.

          It’s hyperbole that this will set such over the top precedent.

          In many criminal structures, women and children are chattel. This can manifest in less linear ways then money straight to a pimp for sex.

      • Alanzo,

        Two things:

        1. Here is the legal definition of “sex trafficking as written by Congress:

        “The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended (22 U.S.C. § 7102), defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:
        * Sex trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age…”

        2. Here is the definition of a commercial sex act as written by Congress:
        Commercial sex act means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. “Commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) item” means–

        You’re welcome, meathead!

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 prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, 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 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. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato


Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com