Lawsuit: Raniere Demands to Speak to Suneel as Time Runs Short

One of Keith Raniere’s attorneys, Stacy Scheff, has filed a  new motion with the US District Court of Arizona in his lawsuit against the US Bureau Of Prisons.

USP Tucson has refused to let prisoner Raniere talk to his power of attorney, Suneel Chakravorty.

Raniere is suing Merrick Garland, US Attorney General, Michael Carvajal, Director Federal Bureau of Prisons, Barbara VonBlankensee, Warden USP Tucson, and Lt. Anthony Gallion.

He is suing to see and speak with Suneel.

The motion claims USP Tucson is “unlawfully hindering and obstructing Plaintiff’s First and Sixth Amendment rights to communicate via telephone with [Suneel] in the lead-up to the 3-year deadline for post-conviction relief petitions based on newly-discovered evidence on June 19, 2022.”

Raniere, a prisoner at USP Tucson, was convicted on June 19, 2019. There is a three-year deadline for filing Rule 33 motions regarding newly-discovered evidence. The time bar is June 19, 2022, less than a month away.

In addition to his Rule 33 FBI evidence tampering motion, Raniere has several more Rule 33 motions planned.

Suneel Chakravorty

Suneel is Raniere’s Power-of-Attorney and a paralegal to Raniere’s appellate attorney, Joseph Tully.

Since January 2021, Raniere’s legal team, with Suneel taking the lead, has communicated with him from within the Tucson Penitentiary to develop a strategy to attack Raniere’s conviction.

Suneel is a non-lawyer who serves as the power of attorney and an aide to Tully.

Suneel was able to call and visit Raniere during the first months of 2021. However, on May 2, 2021, Tucson prison authorities revoked Chakravorty’s in-person visitation privileges without explanation. Afterward, he was allowed to speak with Raniere only by telephone on a recorded, non-privileged phone line. 

Chakravorty continued to assist Raniere on his appeal and Rule 33 motion. In addition, he hired the California-based criminal defense firm of Tully & Weiss.

Here is a truncated version of the motion. 

Stacy Scheff

By Stacy Sheff, attorney for Keith Raniere

INTRODUCTION…

Attorney Joseph Tully is working to bring to the criminal court’s attention potential errors that corrupted the jury trial and led to Plaintiff’s conviction.
Mr. Chakravorty continues to serve a central role in the communications between and within the legal team.  While Plaintiff was able to speak with Mr. Chakravorty using a non-attorney line, the non-confidential nature of this line necessarily limited the range of discussion between the two men, and any conversations they wished to remain private had to be arranged directly with the attorneys. Consequently, Plaintiff’s lawyers are being hindered in their representation just as the deadline for post-conviction relief based on newly-discovered evidence is expiring.

Mr. Chakravorty is not merely a trusted confidant; his unique knowledge proved critical to the lawyers’ extensive factual research that culminated on May 23, 2022 with the filing of a motion for a new criminal trial pursuant to Fed.R.Crim.P. 33.

Mr. Chakravorty, a Harvard-trained mathematician with knowledge of computer science, assisted the Law Office of Tully & Weiss for several months in preparing the motion.

Among other things, Mr. Chakravorty marshaled the assistance of subject-matter experts and helped interpret complex and voluminous computer data.

Suneel retained Dr. J. Richard Kiper to investigate FBI tampering.

 

Suneel retained Steven M. Abrams, J.D., M.S

 

Suneel retained Wayne B. Norris

These unique skills allowed the team to assess the accuracy and reliability of the FBI’s computer forensic work – the foundation upon which the federal prosecutors had built their case. Mr. Chakravorty’s assistance proved so essential that the Law Office of Tully & Weiss considered him to be a member of the legal defense team and gave him the position of paralegal to the team.

 

Suneel retained Joseph Tully for Keith Raniere

In addition to searching for any additional grounds for relief before the expiration of the deadline, Plaintiff’s legal team is preparing for a hearing on the petition already filed.  Just a day after Plaintiff’s attorneys filed the petition, prison officials in Tucson informed Plaintiff that he would no longer be permitted to speak with Mr. Chakravorty on any phone line, recorded or otherwise.

At the same time, Plaintiff was informed that all of his non-attorney contacts were to be “scrubbed” – eliminated from the pre-approved list of call recipients, effectively cutting Plaintiff off from the outside world. Again, no explanation was provided.  This latest move cuts Plaintiff off from the lynchpin of his legal team in the precise moment when Plaintiff must present all new evidence of innocence or forever hold his peace….

Keith Raniere resides behind the fences at USP Tucson.

Prisoners Have a First Amendment Right to Communicate by Telephone with their Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Prisoners have a First Amendment right of access to the courts. Naturally, this right encompasses a prisoner’s right to communicate with their attorneys – particularly those attorneys whose legal assistance involves “attack[ing] their sentences, directly or collaterally[.].” Hebbe v. Pliler…

Courts within the Ninth Circuit routinely find that this First Amendment right encompasses the right to speak by telephone with one’s criminal defense attorney…. Williams v. ICC Comm

As the Second Circuit colorfully explained this point in evaluating a prison’s complex system that expressed this point, “delay in communication [with a prisoner’s attorney] caused by the prison’s Rube Goldberg rules may itself be prejudicial to a prisoner’s rights.” Davidson v. Scully… The Seventh Circuit held that denying telephone access to one’s attorney for four consecutive days violates the Sixth Amendment and “may also violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Tucker v. Randall…

This First Amendment Right Encompasses the Right of Prisoners to Speak with Paralegals [Suneel]

… A prisoner’s right to communicate with his attorney extends equally to the attorney’s paralegal. The Ninth Circuit has consistently held that paralegals and other non-attorney professionals retained by the attorney are important to the attorney’s ability to render legal advice. United States v. Sanmina Corp;… United States v. Landof… Similarly, the Ninth Circuit has held that attorneys’ not infrequent reliance on paralegals to assist in the fact-finding effort “counts as professional legal services.” United States v. Rowe…

Nowhere is this principle more elevated than when the non-attorney’s expertise is essential for the attorney to make sense of the facts in a case…

Here, Mr. Chakravorty serves precisely this role on behalf of the attorneys of Tully & Weiss. During the months that Plaintiff’s attorneys spent gathering evidence and preparing the Rule 33 petition for a new trial, Mr. Chakravorty played an essential role in interpreting computer data for the attorneys.

Most notably, Mr. Chakravorty aided in translating voluminous amounts of metadata – information that is embedded within most computer files – revealing critical information about the dates, methods, and origins of document edits and document alterations. Prior to Tully & Weiss being retained, Mr. Chakravorty and Plaintiff spent months discussing, analyzing, and theorizing about how this metadata contained in computer files affects Plaintiff’s legal case. This collaborative process between Mr. Chakravorty and Plaintiff yielded some important revelations – later confirmed by Daubert [qualified] experts – and included in the May 23 motion described above.

It is clear that Mr. Chakravorty is no garden-variety paralegal. But even if Mr. Chakravorty’s role as paralegal were limited to filling out paperwork and aiding in the communication between attorney and client, the prison would still be precluded from cutting off communication, absent a legitimate penological interest. Defendants and their agents have offered to Plaintiff no explanation, let alone a “legitimate” one.

[PRISON’S] ACTIONS AMOUNT TO A SIXTH AMENDMENT VIOLATION OF RANIERE’S RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.

Not only are Defendants’ actions in cutting off telephone communication with Mr. Chakravorty a First Amendment violation, they also amount to a Sixth Amendment violation of Plaintiff’s right to effective assistance of counsel…

Government restrictions on communication between criminal defendant and attorney violate the Sixth Amendment when imposed during a critical juncture of the legal representation. For example, the Supreme Court held that a violation of the Sixth Amendment occurs when the government prohibits a criminal defendant from communicating with his attorney for 17 hours during a critical juncture of his trial. Geders v. United States; Tucker v. Randall…

This right also includes the right to communicate with paralegals who are retained by the criminal defense attorney.  Smith v. Coughlin… Benjamin v. Fraser…

EQUITIES TIP SHARPLY IN RANIERE’S FAVOR

… Here, the answer is clear: the harm to Plaintiff outweighs any conceivable hardship to Defendants. Indeed, Defendants are already required to have a system to allow secured telephonic communications between prisoners, their attorneys, and their attorneys’ assistants.

On Plaintiff’s side is his constitutional right to communicate openly with this counsel of choice in a rapidly-closing window of opportunity, aid his counsel in preparing a criminal defense, and his Sixth Amendment right to hire and utilize counsel of his choice…

To the extent that Defendants claim that Mr. Chakravorty is banned by reason of his affiliation with Plaintiff’s former organization NXIVM, this holds no weight, for several reasons. First, Mr. Chakravorty has never been a member of NXIVM, NXIVM never had members and is no longer operating… Second, NXIVM was never adjudicated to be a criminal enterprise… Third, the conditions regarding contact with certain individuals applies to supervised release and does not apply to Mr. Chakravorty…

CONCLUSION

The timing of these actions is unmistakable retaliation for attempting to overturn Plaintiff’s conviction via the proper procedures. Plaintiff Keith Raniere asks the Court to issue an Order that he be allowed to speak with Mr. Chakravorty on both the monitored and unmonitored lines and via legal visits. This matter is particularly urgent given the impending deadline to present all challenges to the criminal conviction based on newly-discovered evidence on June 19, 2022.

 

About the author

Frank Parlato

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  • Based on my experience and knowledge of the applicable statute, I believe it is highly probable that the lawsuit filed by Keith Raniere’s current lawyers against the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) et al – and the subsequent Motion for a Preliminary Injunction – will both be dismissed for the simple reason that Keith did not exhaust his available administrative remedies within USP Tucson before those filings were made. In this regard, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) mandates that U.S. District Courts dismiss such filings when the prisoner in question has not yet exhausted their administrative remedies by taking their complaint through every step of their prison’s grievance procedure – which it does not appear that Keith has done. The only exception – which is extremely unlikely to be applicable regarding Keith’s case – is when a prisoner cannot obtain the appropriate grievance forms at their prison.

    Instead of wasting time filing lawsuits that will most likely be dismissed without any hearing, it might be more fruitful for Keith’s lawyers to file a motion requesting an extension of the filing deadline for Rule 33 Motions – and indicate that Keith is in the process of working his way through the BOP’s Administrative Remedy Program (See: https://www.jailtimeconsulting.com/administrative-remedy-program/#:~:text=The%20Administrative%20Remedy%20Program%20is%20a%20Bureau%20of,which%20they%20believe%20is%20inappropriate%2C%20discriminatory%2C%20or%20incorrect).

    • Yes, but… that wouldn’t be half as impressive to his remaining followers and would have no “he’s so important this must go all the way to the US Attorney General” cachet. His own narcissism colors everything he does. At least where he is now, that narcissism’s effect on bystanders has been truncated.

  • Times Union

    NEWS
    Lawyer: Albany detectives hid evidence, corrupted 2000 sexual abuse case
    Sworn statements from women claim police knew about evidence and had sex tape that could have helped the defense of Mohammed X. Poquee, who’s served decades in prison

    Robert Gavin
    May 27, 2022
    Updated: May 27, 2022 3:38 p.m.

    [ … ]

    Robert Gavin covers state and federal courts, criminal justice issues and legal affairs for the Times Union. Contact him at rgavin@timesunion.com.

    https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Lawyer-Albany-detectives-hid-evidence-corrupted-17201975.php?IPID=Times-Union-HP-CP-spotlight

  • Love seeing, “GUILTY” next to Suneel’s photo. Because Suneel is guilty of posession and distribution of blackmail material including sexually explicit photos of a child. Suneel is guilty of lying about his identity to the BOP. And So much.more…

  • In the pics up top, Suneel looks like a bat crossed with a monkey……

    ……Which, incidentally is uglier than [redacted]

    ……Which looks like pastrami.

  • Just let Raniere see his power of attorney, who happens to be Suneel. There is no information to justify the deprivation of rights– whether you like or hate Suneel and his title of ‘paralegal’ — he is Raniere’s power of attorney. He should have access and the timeliness of it getting cut off is curious.

  • Frank, you should know better

    Suneel Chakravorty is not a paralegal for Tully

    Let Tully come make a Podcast saying he is or file a motion saying he is, and we will believe that is true

    You, Raniere or Suneel saying so is fake news

    • Tully is a better guitarist and singer than attorney.

      We can all sit back and enjoy the entertaining Bronfman-funded shit show that keeps him employed.

      At least it gives Tully something to do other than hit on under-aged mentally challenged Walmart greeters, unlike the Frank Report’s resident anti-anti-cultist guru.

  • Suneel and the rest of the NXIVM diehards seem to be pushing the narrative that Keith is dangerous to the Powers-that-Be so he is getting special super-unconstitutional treatment in prison. I wonder if the BoP’s response to this case will show that Keith and Sunil were engaged in some sort of scheme to get around the rules and whether we’ll see that there was a clear violation of the rules and they deserved what happened. Clearly, Raniere thinks the rules don’t apply to him. And it’s common in high-control groups like NXIVM to teach that the group is so ethical that they’ve transcended the justice system of the unwashed masses of humanity. So it’s not surprising that they may think they’re smart enough to evade communications rules with impunity.

    Based on reading attorney Tully’s background, I had absolutely no idea what Raniere would hire a guy from California who didn’t seem to have much directly relevant experience. IIRC, he didn’t have the impressive resume that his trial team had. But Tully seems to be doing an extremely zealous job representing his client. I am rooting for Keith’s appeals to fail, but I must be honest in saying that Tully is really working hard and may well be far better a lawyer than the initial snap judgment of his ability.

    So that makes me wonder if this action is part of a longer game. Might Tully be trying to influence appeals court perception of Raniere as a wronged victim in building his case in the time before the BOP and DOJ provide a full reply and evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Keith & Suneel? That evidence may not even be provided in a reply brief, but may only come out when this action goes before a judge and testimony is required, far in the future. So maybe Tully gets to milk the “Keith as victim” narrative for a year or more before it is cast out.

  • Keith seems to be unaware that he’s in no position to make demands. The series of lawyers that Claire has paid for have been useless individually and as a group. It’s funny watching him play the victim. Just do the time Keith. You earned it.

  • There is news. Just arrived on Pacer.

    Edmondson v. Raniere (1:20-cv-00485)
    District Court, E.D. New York

    Last Updated: May 27, 2022, 1:43 p.m. EDT

    Document Number 186

    Date FiledDescription May 27, 2022

    Main Doc­ument

  • Kohn, Swift & Graf P.C.

    Senders Email: nglazer@kohnswift.com
    May 19, 2022

    VIA ELECTRONIC CASE FILING

    Honorable Cheryl L. Pollak
    Chief Magistrate Judge
    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
    225 Cadman Plaza East
    Brooklyn, NY 11202

    RE: Status Report – Edmondson, et al. vs. Keith Raniere, et al., No. 1:20-cv-00485

    Dear Judge Pollak:

    Pursuant to the Court’s Order at the conference on May 5, 2022 (docketed as a Minute
    Entry on May 9, 2022), Plaintiffs’ counsel and counsel for non-party Suneel Chakravorty have
    met and conferred about the entry of a protective order related to the affidavit and photographs
    (“Chakravorty Materials”), which Mr. Chakravorty submitted to the Court on April 25, 2022.
    (See Order, ECF No. 164).1
    The status of the meet and confer process is that Plaintiffs’ counsel
    awaits a response from Mr. Chakravorty’s counsel regarding Mr. Chakravorty’s position on the
    protective order and requests one additional week, until Friday, May 27, 2022, for the joint
    submission of a stipulated protective order or a final status report regarding the same.

    On May 5, 2022, Plaintiffs’ counsel emailed Mr. Chakravorty’s counsel and offered to
    prepare a stipulated protective order. On May 12, 2022, Mr. Chakravorty’s counsel informed
    Plaintiffs’ counsel that Mr. Chakravorty’s affidavit contains information which Mr. Chakravorty
    is reluctant to disclose and which he may wish to redact prior to production. Plaintiffs’ counsel
    stated that they would not agree to the redaction of any information in the affidavit provided to
    them, but that they remained willing to negotiate a protective order prohibiting disclosure of
    confidential information to third parties. Mr. Chakravorty’s counsel said she would confer

    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    1 Counsel for Defendants Clare and Sara Bronfman appeared at the May 5, 2022 conference and stated that the
    conference concerned an issue in which their clients do not have a direct interest. Plaintiffs acknowledge that they
    may not unilaterally withhold non-party discovery from Defendants, absent a Court order. Assuming Mr.
    Chakravorty agrees to negotiate an appropriate protective order, Plaintiffs will consult with Defendants prior to
    filing the proposed order so Defendants’ interests are not prejudiced.

    {00228980 }

    Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. Continuation Sheet No. 2 Hon. Cheryl L. Pollak
    May 19, 2022

    further with her client. On May 17, 2022, Plaintiffs’ counsel followed up with Mr.
    Chakravorty’s counsel, asking if she could confirm her client’s position on the affidavit. On
    May 18, 2022, Mr. Chakravorty’s counsel responded that, while she believed the matter was
    resolvable, she “d[id] not have a definitive answer yet.”

    This morning, Plaintiffs’ counsel conferred with Mr. Chakravorty’s counsel, who
    confirmed that she will be able to articulate her client’s position soon and proposed one
    additional week to conclude the meet and confer process. Therefore, counsel for Plaintiffs
    respectfully request that the Court enter an Order setting a deadline of Friday, May 27, 2022, for
    Plaintiffs and Mr. Chakravorty to jointly submit either a stipulated protective order governing
    production of the Chakravorty Materials or, if no agreement is reached, a report to the Court
    setting forth their respective positions.

    Respectfully yours,

    Neil L. Glazer

    cc: Deborah J. Blum, Esquire (via ECF)

    All parties (via ECF)

    {00228980 }

    • Suneel hasn’t figured out – Kieth told Nicki Clyne to honeydick the lad and keep in the *fold.

      *Hint: Fold is double entendre.

      • Nice Guy, you really need to recalibrate your gaydar. Suneel has zero interest in the *fold* between a woman’s legs. He’s all about “magical car rides” with Emiliano and Eduardo.

        At most, Nicki plays the role of Suneel’s girlfriend so he can keep his conservative family in the dark about his man-loving life.

        Everything about the guy is a lie.

  • Yet another ridiculous lawsuit by Raniere.

    Suneel is a paralegal? Hardly

    He went to Harvard so that makes him critical to Raniere defense? Was he involved in the trial in any way? No.

    Raniere had his chance to put on a defense at trial but chose not to.

    The absurdity of Raniere filing a lawsuit because he cannot talk to his bottom bitch is simply laughable

  • “Suneel is a non-lawyer who serves as the power of attorney and an aide to Tully.”

    Suneel is also an experienced wiper of Clare Bronfman’s filthy behind.

  • So, what is the beef that BOP has with Raniere to cut off his communication with a para-legal? A violation of prisoner rights is a very bad look for the BOP.

  • “Mr. Chakravorty’s assistance proved so essential that the Law Office of Tully & Weiss considered him to be a member of the legal defense team and gave him the position of paralegal to the team.”

    Hmm…not sure how T&W can lawfully designate Suneel as a paralegal when he doesn’t appear to meet the conditions specified by the California Business & Professions Code §6450(c).

    • Just to be clear,

      “Some California paralegals may voluntarily pursue official certification, although it is not required by the state.”

      As for that code 6450:

      “Pursuant to California Business & Professions Code §6450(a), “Paralegal” means a person who holds himself or herself out to be a paralegal, who is qualified by education, training, or work experience, who either contracts with or is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity, and who performs substantial legal work under the direction and supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California, as defined in Section 6060, or an attorney practicing law in the federal courts of this state, that has been specifically delegated by the attorney to him or her…”

      So you’re a paralegal if you say you’re a paralegal, work for or are associated with a lawyer or any other “entity”(!)

      Being a paralegal means absolutely nothing. Just as Power of Attorney means absolutely nothing. No qualifications are needed, no training, no certification, nothing. All you need is a pulse. It also means no powers or privileges, no special rights, no influence whatsoever.

      Maybe you get to use the photocopier if you ask nice.

  • Absolute garbage. The fake position that a dead-ender holds does not entitle them to break the prison rules repeatedly and get away with it. To lie about their identity as Suneel has been caught doing. To use burner phones. With no consequences.

    This is a completely biased post. It does not talk about any of the behavioral choices and issues that got Keith Raniere and his (currently under investigation) lackey Suneel Chakravorty into trouble with the BOP.

    By this false narrative – any other prisoner in Keith’s sex offender prison home could also break the rules repeatedly and then play victim. As Keith has done with this bogus lawsuit.

    Where is the detailed post about Suneel Chakravorty possessing, distributing, and lying about the sexual blackmail of women and a young girl?

    The “collateral” status and origins and distribution are currently pending a legal filing in the Nxivm civil case. Why not report on this important development?

  • “Demands”! 😂😂😂

    As for why Chakravorty was scrubbed from Raniere’s list of allowed contacts, I suggest we ask Isaac Edwards.

    So Atty.Tully made Chakravorty a “paralegal”, choosing someone who had been banned from contacting Raniere back in 2020 as his “paralegal” liaison with the prisoner. Why would he do this?

    To raise a stink, that’s why.

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Parlato,_Jr.

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

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