Keith Raniere is suing the U.S. Bureau of Prisons because he can’t call Suneel Chakravorty.
Chakravorty is his power of attorney and manages Raniere’s team of lawyers. Raniere is serving a 120-year sentence. His release date is June 27, 2120 – 99 years from now.
On May 3, 2022, Raniere filed a Rule 33 motion for a new trial in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Chakravorty spearheaded the investigation that produced evidence to support Raniere’s motion. The motion alleges the FBI tampered with digital evidence. Chakravorty is an IT expert.
Raniere claims the BOP is retaliating because he accused the FBI of tampering with evidence that was used in his trial.
The BOP scrubbed his phone contact list on the same day he filed his Rule 33 motion. The Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) and the Special Investigation Service (SIS) at USP Tucson recommended the actions against Raniere. The CTU and the SIS work with the FBI on prison investigations.
The CTU and SIS warned the warden that Chakravorty posed a danger to the security of the prison and the public. They said he was also a danger when Raniere was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn.
The SIS said Chakravorty organized exotic dancers to dance outside the Brooklyn prison. He also planned to offer coffee and donuts to the MDC staff.
Raniere came to USP Tucson in January 2021.
On prison-monitored phones, Chakravorty talked with Raniere about the alleged FBI tampering. The two men discussed waging a media and legal “war” to expose the corruption at the U.S. Department of Justice. Chakravorty recorded the calls with Raniere and plans to publish them on a podcast series.
Raniere has until midnight June 21st to file more Rule 33 motions or supplement his current one. He says he needs to talk with Chakravorty to complete his legal defense. He said Chakravorty is a paralegal for his attorney, Joseph Tully, of California. In California, a paralegal does not need a license.
Last week, Raniere filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
His attorney, Stacy Scheff, sought to restrain the prison from stopping Raniere’s calls. A federal court can issue a TRO without allowing the BOP to present its opposition if irreparable harm might befall Raniere by a delay. The judge delayed responding to Raniere’s request.
The BOP responded through Assistant US Attorney Denise Ann Faulk.
Faulk wrote that Tully did not request that Chakravorty get paralegal privileges. The BOP requires an attorney to sponsor a paralegal to get legal calls and visits. Instead of sponsoring Chakravorty, Faulk wrote that Tully asked for someone else.
Faulk submitted an affidavit from Daniel Flores, Raniere’s Correctional Counselor.
Flores’s affidavit says that Tully wrote an email to him on June 6, 2022. In the email, Tully disclosed he was “working on motions.”
Tully wrote, “I need to get Mr. Raniere’s input… Mr. Stoltz … is my eyes and ears in being able to meet with Mr. Raniere in person to go over pending motions.” Gregory Stoltz is an attorney associated with Tully.
Flores also provided a list of Raniere’s phone calls to attorneys. Flores listed 53 legal calls between October 2021 and June 10, 2022.
AUSA Fauk told the court that Raniere had six legal visits since May 19, with three more scheduled this week.
She wrote that Raniere “has not established that Mr. Chakravorty is a paralegal employed by Mr. Tully, rather than merely an ardent supporter, who was affiliated with NXIVM and is not permitted contact with Plaintiff because he poses a security threat to the institution and the public.”
It remains to be seen whether Tully will sponsor Chakravorty.
Based on the responses of Faulk and Flores, if Tully sponsors Chakravorty, he will be able to speak and visit Raniere as his paralegal and not as an “ardent supporter.” As a paralegal, the BOP won’t be able to monitor his calls to Raniere.
Even if that happens, Chakravorty won’t be permitted to bring donuts or coffee and maybe not dancing girls to dance outside USP Tucson. And the threat to the security of the prison and the outside world will be gone and peace will be restored.