Today at noon in Chelsea, NYC, Marc Elliot made a presentation: “Who’s Next — The Rise of Character Assassination and the Loss of Human Decency.”
Elliot writes, “This talk is not about Keith’s innocence or guilt or the legal case.” Instead, Elliot tells his story of “overcoming Tourettes’s with NXIVM.”
“I saw character assassination destroy something that could help millions,” he said. He refers to how character assassination manifested in “cancel culture and trial by media” and toppled Keith Raniere.
Marc says he wants to “inspire a message of kindness and civility, no matter how great our differences are.”
He originally planned to present Who’s Next in June 2019, right after a federal jury convicted his mentor, Raniere.
He said AUSA Moira Kim Penza, fresh off of putting Raniere behind bars, scared him off.
At the age of nine, Marc explains, he was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. He said, it “interfered with every aspect of my life. It was estimated I ticced around 25 million times, and every medical professional concluded my condition was uncontrollable and incurable.”
Then Marc was introduced to Executive Success Program (ESP).
“I found the courses profound, life-changing, and moved me in such a way to be a better person,” Marc said.
After two years of steady courses, Marc became a trainer in ESP. From 2009, he dedicated his life to being “the best version of myself.”
Starting in 2012, he worked with NXIVM to help himself and others with Tourette’s overcome their symptoms. In 2013, Marc claims he “completely overcame” Tourette’s.
“By drawing from innovations from courses in emotional intelligence taught by NXIVM, ” he said, “using only mind over body, and sheer will.”
The Day the FBI Came to Town
Fast forward five years.
Marc lived in Albany with HIS brothers, Justin and Brian. One day FBI agents came to their door. Something there is that doesn’t like an unannounced visit from the FBI. And the reason soon became plain.
The agents had news for the brothers. They had arrested Keith Raniere.
Marc was silent. He was in shock. If the FBI agents had the manners of the angels in heaven, they would have felt it enough.
All three brothers worked for NXIVM. All three thought they would benefit millions through Raniere’s teachings.
Had the FBI agents the patience of angels, they would have fluttered away on satiny feathers. And come back another day. But, no, the FBI agents didn’t give the brothers a moment to bear the grief.
With reptilian-like manners, the agents did not pause to think that three men’s lives changed that day. FBI agents rely on bone-like armor. Their weapons of transport are sinewy or made of metal.
They lacked the emotional intelligence taught by Raniere. The FBI handed the brothers some beautiful but deadly papers.
They were subpoenas for them to appear before a grand jury in Brooklyn.
When the intrusive agents left, the brothers retained a former Assistant US Attorney to represent them.
The attorney advised them and then told the lead prosecutor, AUSA Moira Kim Penza, that he would not let the Elliot brothers speak to the Grand Jury. Too much risk in that. They would all – all three of them – take the 5th.
Marc tells what happened next.
The attorney called and said, “Moira Penza was furious… He said in the past, every time he told the government his clients would take the 5th, they excused his client’s appearance, since it was a waste of time and resources.”
“Instead, Ms. Penza insisted we appear,” Marc said, “knowing we would plead the fifth in response to every question.”
Marc continues the story himself:
I printed out a piece of paper with the exact phrase I would say every time the prosecutor asked a question. Although I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, I felt afraid.
At the grand jury, the situation felt intense. My brothers and I waited in a small room, while one of us would go in front of the grand jury.
As I sat on the stand, Mrs. Penza’s tone was tense. She asked me questions about my life and participation in NXIVM. She asked about my Tourette’s, my speaking career, and other things that seemed unrelated to any possible criminal activity.
Her line of questioning about my Tourette’s suggested she thought I might be making it up.
Towards the end of the day, Ms. Penza got noticeably upset with our attorney. He said he never saw anything like this in his career. She was upset that we invoked our Fifth Amendment rights and didn’t answer any questions.
Rather than leaving early, Ms. Penza prolonged the day and brought us in front of a judge, where she complained about us.
I left that day scared and confused by what had happened and Ms. Penza’s intemperance. It seemed aberrant, according to my attorney.
After the trial, Brian helped Marc plan a public speech.
On June 18, 2019, the day before the jury would begin its deliberations, Marc published a Facebook post promoting a speaking presentation. It was entitled, “Who’s Next? The Rise of Character Assassination and Loss of Human Decency.”
The subtitle read, “Inspired by Marc’s journey of beating Tourette’s syndrome with the help of NXIVM, a group misrepresented as a sex cult in the media.”
Marc was quick to blame the Frank Report.
He said, “I launched this presentation in response to hateful blog posts against me on the Frank Report…. I believed the character assassination of NXIVM… was a false media narrative. I thought the way to deal with this was through love. I intended to also talk about the teachings of non-violence notable figures, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other notable thinkers.”
Like the greatest thinker of them all.
On June 19, 2019, the jury rendered a guilty verdict for Raniere.
On June 24, 2019, the brothers’ attorney called.
Marc says Moira Threatened Him
Talk about pleading the 5th…
The attorney said Ms. Penza called him to say she took my Facebook post about the presentation as ‘a personal attack on her integrity.’
She said she would have already arrested me if it were not for the First Amendment.
My attorney said if I proceeded with the presentation, Ms. Penza said there was a high likelihood I would be arrested. I was not told on what charge.
I asked my lawyer if she knew that my talk was about my story of beating Tourette’s. He said he mentioned that to her, and she responded, ‘Sounds like recruitment to me.’
Goodbye NYC, Hello Tucson
The threat terrified the brothers. They canceled the talk and moved out of New York City.
Brian severed ties with longtime friends involved with NXIVM. Justin moved down south. Marc worked as a soldier fighting for justice to be blind – for Raniere.
Three years passed. Now Marc is back in NYC to make the same speech he wanted to make before being threatened.
Then he goes to his new hometown – Tuscon.
The Sonoran Desert makes life pretty hot in Tucson in summer. Like 100 days of 100 degrees or better. Getting in the car is dangerous. Everything metal or plastic is burning hot. Wear gloves. Never thin clothes. You can burn the flesh right through your clothes on the car seats. Ass pads are advisable.
The concrete around a pool can be so hot it can burn the skin of your feet off. So, wear boots when you go swimming. A full hazmat suit is best. Wear a sombrero and sunglasses. Stay indoors as much as possible.
During July, Tucson enjoys daily short outbursts of rain and thunder. You will get drenched if it catches you unawares, and you’re more than a minute from shelter. Carry a change of clothes, including undergarments and shoes – in a plastic waterproof bag and a towel.
Yes, a poet said it well: Tucson in summer has all the disadvantages of hell, with none of the advantages. Most people leave during summer. Arizona U is a ghost town. All the snowbirds have vamoosed. Restaurants and stores close.
But some cannot leave. Such as prisoners at USP Tucson. One of them is 57-005-177. Some know him as Grandmaster. Others as Vanguard. His friends call him Keith Alan Raniere.
Yes, as most are leaving, one man is stuck in the heat. He would go if he could. At the same time, the summer wind came blowing in and brought with it another man. He’s no fickle friend. Tucson has one new resident coming for summer.
Tuscon welcomes Marc Elliot. He has relocated to Tucson, AZ.