The US Bureau of Prisons [BOP] has responded to one of the recently filed motions in Keith Raniere’s lawsuit against them. In that response, t
hey offered arguments why Raniere should never talk to Suneel Chakravorty again.
Raniere is suing them so that he can resume communications with Chakravorty, who holds his power of attorney. Last month, the prison terminated Raniere’s communications with Suneel. In response, Raniere’s attorney filed a motion with the US District Court of Arizona in which he argued he has only days to file Rule 33 motions for a new trial – and he needs to have Suneel be able to meet with Raniere during the interim period so that they can develop an appropriate analytic framework for all the “new evidence” that’s been uncovered.
The motion states that Chakravorty is a paralegal for Joseph Tully’s legal team.
The BOP allows for “special visiting/correspondence status for paralegals.” But a lawyer must request it. Attorney Joseph Tully did not sponsor Chakravorty as a paralegal – and he did not ask the BOP to grant Chakravorty paralegal privileges.
Raniere says his FBI tampering motion is the reason the BOP does not want him to communicate with Chakravorty. On May 3, 2022, Tully filed a Rule 33 motion in which he alleged that the FBI tampered with evidence in Raniere’s criminal trial. That same day, USP Tucson “scrubbed” Raniere’s phone contacts.
After the “scrubbing”, only Marianna Fernandez, the mother of his youngest child, and his attorneys remained. Chakravorty was among those eliminated.
The BOP claims the prison decision to “scrub” Chakravorty from Raniere’s approved phone list had nothing to do with the FBI tampering.
Lt. Anthony Gallion, Acting Special Investigative Agent for USP Tucson, said: “I… was not aware of Raniere’s litigation regarding his conviction… All recommendations and determinations… were made for the safety… of the institution, and not in any way to hinder Raniere’s legal efforts.”
The BOP said Chakravorty “threatened the… security of the institutions and the public.” They said he and Raniere were dangerous at both the MDC in Brooklyn, NY and at USP Tucson in Arizona.
On April 29th, Raniere filed notice with the 2nd Circuit that he would be filing a Rule 33 motion regarding FBI tampering. Two days later, on May 1st, the Special Investigator Supervisor, Lt Gallion, monitored calls between Raniere and Chakravorty. Lt. Gallion wrote, “They spoke to each other about being ‘at war’ with the federal government.”
Gallion added they said it would be ‘no holds barred.’
“Even more concerning… is the fact that Raniere asked about the quality of the recordings… Chakravorty has previously recorded… with Raniere.”
On the day Raniere filed the Rule 33 motion, the SIS and the Counter Terrorism Unit [CTU] took action. The two agencies asked the USP Tucson Warden to cut Chakravorty from Raniere’s list of approved visitors and his approved list of people he can talk to on the phone (The SIS and the CTU often coordinate their work with the FBI for prison investigations).
Raniere alleged the BOP interfered with calls to his attorneys. On May 4th, for example, Raniere claims that while he was on a legal call with attorney Tully, the prison terminated the call “without warning.” Raniere alleged Tully needed to consult with him for a hearing.
The BOP responded with an affidavit from Raniere’s prison counselor, Daniel Flores, who stated that
the May 4th call was not disconnected.
Raniere also alleged that the prison “interfered and frustrated” another legal call on May 6th
by terminating a call between him and another of his attorneys, Joseph Dougherty. In response, the BOP offered the affidavit of Scotty Watson, a case manager at USP Tucson, who stated, “During the legal call, the connection was lost. I called Mr. Dougherty back, and he and Mr. Raniere resumed their call until it concluded.”
On the Phone at MDC
Part of the BOP’s argument for preventing contact between Raniere and Chakravorty is their phone calls at the Metropolitan Detention Center. They spoke many times in 2020.
The BOP selected some of their phone calls to show the danger of letting the two communicate. On one phone call, Raniere called Daniela a thief – and said her staying in her room for almost two years was a “battle of wills.” He said she “threw, like, uh, what would be a massive sort of tantrum.”
On another phone call with Chakravorty, Raniere said, “the major witnesses all lied.”
Raniere said of Judge Garaufis, “we have to… get scrutiny on this judge… what this judge is saying… is crazy, and the judge needs to know he’s being watched by someone who is wise.”
In May, Raniere asked Chakravorty to record him for a podcast about “How much legal experience a judge has?”
Raniere “directed his supporters to develop a podcast and… a ‘contest’ [where] the public would be invited to find errors in his prosecution… in exchange for a cash prize.”
The BOP claimed other things that Raniere and Chakravorty did were worse. Not only did they record phone calls, but Raniere was “pursuing to use [them] in HBO, Netflix and Showtime.”
More threatening were the handful of dancers outside of MDC. The BOP said Raniere and Chakravorty organized women to gather – and dance – outside the prison. They were “endangering the security of the facility and the public.” The women were “dancing erotically to the delight of other inmates.” The dancers showed up “regularly” and danced “provocatively.”
Inmates could view them “through their cell windows.'”
In response, the BOP moved Raniere to another prison cell at MDC where he could not see the dancers.
Even more dangerous for the public and the MDC was what Raniere told Chakravorty. Raniere told Chakravorty about ‘the staff work schedules.” He said the dancers should offer donuts and coffee to the MDC staff as they exit the facility.'”
The BOP did not mention Raniere’s phone calls with Chakravorty discussing FBI tampering. The two men detailed the basis for their theories – and Chakravorty followed-up by working to execute the ideas they collaborated on.
The Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) concluded Raniere had “manipulative behavior.” He manifests it from inside the prison “through the help of Suneel Chakravorty. [Plaintiff’s] actions would place the safety and security of staff and the public at risk.”
The CTU recommended Chakravorty “be removed as one of Plaintiff’s approved contacts”– and the warden removed Chakravorty from Raniere’s contact list” at MDC on July 16, 2020. Raniere and Chakravorty wanted to continue discussions including investigations into tampering.
The BOP was watching. On August 11, 2020 Raniere requested a new phone contact, Isaac Edwards. The BOP approved Edwards. The prison listened in on the calls and found “Isaac Edwards” was Chakravorty.
MK10ART’s sarcastic painting of Keith Raniere and Suneel Chakravorty.
So far, the BOP has stopped Chakravorty from speaking on the phone with Raniere in 2020 and 2022.
In May 2021, the BOP also stopped Chakravorty from visiting Raniere in person based on the assertion that Chakravorty did not know Raniere until after his conviction. BOP rules state that visitors must know the prisoner before his incarceration.
Prison Knows Best
The BOP also argued to stop communications in 2022 between Chakravorty and Raniere: The judge should acknowledge the prison knows best.
“Prison administrators… and not the courts, [are] to make the difficult judgments concerning institutional operations.”
There should be “judicial deference owed to corrections officials.”
“Courts should be particularly deferential to the informed discretion of corrections officials.”
“Central to all other corrections goals is the institutional consideration of internal security within the corrections facilities themselves.”
What’s Good in the 22nd Century is Good for Tucson Now
Judge Nicholas Garaufis sentenced Raniere to 120 years in prison. After that, Raniere would go on probation – when he gets out in 100 years.
Raniere’s release date is June 20, 2120. He will be 161 if he serves his full sentence. At that time, he would begin 5-years of probation.
Judge Garaufis ordered Raniere “shall not associate…with any individual with an affiliation to… Nxivm” while on probation.
The BOP argued, “If it is dangerous for Plaintiff to have access to particular individuals once released, it is also a security risk to allow Plaintiff to have access to these same individuals while incarcerated.”
The BOP said Chakravorty is an affiliate of NXIVM and that it would be dangerous for Raniere and him to be in contact – just like Judge Garaufis said.
Complete BOP response with exhibits.
Raniere’s lawsuit seeks an injunction to permit contact with Chakravorty.
Raniere motion for a TRO.
The BOP referred to the DOJ sentencing memorandum.