Keith Raniere filed a TRO against USP Tucson on Tuesday. He seeks a federal court to order USP Tucson Warden Barbara VanBlankensee to restore Suneel Chakravorty to Raniere’s list of approved callers and approve requests from Chakravorty to visit Raniere as a paralegal to attorney Joseph Tully.
The Bureau of Prisons [BOP] canceled communications between Raniere and Chakravorty in May.
Raniere says the BOP barred him from consulting with Suneel, who holds Raniere’s power of attorney, because he filed a Rule 33 motion for a new trial alleging the FBI tampered with evidence. Raniere says he may have four additional Rule 33 motions to file to challenge his conviction.
Chakravorty is helping him. The filing deadline for any Rule 33 motion is three years from the date of conviction. A federal jury convicted Raniere on June 19, 2019 — which means that June 19, 2022 is the filing deadline. Raniere has nine days left to file Rule 33 motions.
According to Raniere, he found new evidence that:
- The government withheld evidence of his innocence.
- Raniere’s trial lawyers were ineffective.
- The prosecution tampered with and intimidated witnesses.
- The government committed perjury.
A judge can grant a TRO that allows Chakravorty to meet and speak to Raniere without the BOP responding. The judge will decide if a delay will cause Raniere “irreparable harm”, which is the standard for a TRO.
Stacy Scheff, Raniere’s attorney in the BOP lawsuit, met with Raniere on Monday, June 6th.
She wrote, “Mr. Raniere articulated the urgency of the situation: Plaintiff’s criminal defense attorney, Joseph Tully, is in the process of drafting several additional post-conviction relief motions based on newly-discovered evidence, which must be filed before June 19, 2022, including Brady violations by the government, ineffective assistance of counsel, witness tampering/intimidation, and perjury.
“Mr. Tully needs Mr. Chakravorty’s assistance to perform essential and irreplaceable paralegal services for these motions. Mr. Chakravorty is extremely familiar with the history of the criminal case, and is crucial, particularly with short timeframes, to parse the enormous amounts of information for Mr. Tully, and to draft, and file these additional motions. There is no one else with the vast amount of knowledge and skills that Mr. Chakravorty possesses or could do the same work.”
Scheff seeks a hearing as soon as possible.
Raniere’s process servers have served his warden.