Part #5 Alleged FBI Tampering: Delay, Delay, and Hide the Camera Card

Part #2 Analysis of FBI Tampering Daniela and Her Relationship With Raniere and Computers

Part 3: Analysis of Alleged FBI Tampering — Camila

Part #4 Analysis of Alleged FBI Tampering: The Search of 8 Hale and the Wrong Picture of the Hard Drive

Part 5

To recap and clarity on the search warrant of 8 Hale:

2018

March 26

The FBI arrested Keith Raniere. The same day, the FBI obtained a warrant to search 8 Hale.

FBI Special Agent Michael Lever swore to an affidavit to secure the search. The Judge limited its scope based on SA Lever’s affidavit.

Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart authorized the FBI to look for DOS-related crimes. The warrant’s time scope was on or after January 1, 2015. The warrant authorized a search for evidence of four crimes. They were forced labor, sex trafficking, extortion, and racketeering.

March 27

 

.

The FBI searched 8 Hale. As reported in Part #4, the first item the FBI seized was a bag with a Canon Camera EOS 20D inside it.

They took it from under the desk in the study at 8 Hale.

SA Mills testified, “So the there’s a note there with the number one. So number one represents evidence item number one. So, in this case, this photo was taken underneath the desk or table and was assigned number one based on being the first evidence item that was found.”

There were other items under the desk the FBI would seize. That included two computer towers and a hard drive. But the FBI did not take them immediately.

The FBI secured an item on a bookshelf next. That item was evidence #2. According to the FBI’s  FD 597 receipt of the property seized, it was a black Western Digital hard drive.

FBI SA Christopher Mills seems to have taken the wrong photo. He seems to have placed evidence number card #2 on a silver LaCie hard drive.

Above is Mills’ actual photograph presented as an exhibit at trial. It is dark, and the Western Digital hard drive is hard to see.

Applying a filter to Mills’ darker photo to brighten it, it is possible to see the black Western Digital hard drive. It is between the silver LaCie hard drive and the Sony DVD player.

During the trial, the government led the jury to believe the photo for evidence item #2 was a silver hard drive.

Mills and the jury were shown Mills’ darker photo [above] on a screen.

AUSA Hajjar: Can you describe what this photograph shows?

SA Mills: Yes. So this is the still of the same office space as seen before, and item number two, which is on top of the bookshelf here, is a gray or silver hard drive.

Mills did not correct his mistake before the jury.

He did not say, “I meant to take a photo of the black Western Digital hard drive. Unfortunately, I photographed the silver one by mistake.”

Mills did not say, “the real evidence item #2 – the one where the FBI found the child porn – is the black hard drive right next to it.”

He did not say, “on our receipt of items seized, we listed the Western Digital hard drive as evidence item #2.”

 

The FBI made a mistake?

Mills should know the FBI found evidence of child porn on a black Western Digital hard drive. And it was evidence item #2.

The government led the jury to believe that evidence item #2 was silver. It was not the hard drive with child porn. But another device, a silver LaCie hard drive.

After showing Mills the photograph of evidence item #2, AUSA Hajjar brings out a physical hard drive.

Hajjar:: Your Honor, may I approach the witness?

THE COURT: Yes, you may.

Hajjar did not bring the silver LaCie hard drive Mills identified on the screen. She brings out a black hard drive. This is exhibit 503.

Hajjar: I show you what’s been marked for identification as Government Exhibit 502 [the photos]. Showing you what’s marked for identification as Government Exhibit 503. Do you recognize this exhibit?

Hajjar showed Mills a black hard drive.

Mills: Yes.

Hajjar: What is it?

Mills: This is a hard drive. The brand is, I believe, Western Digital.

***

During the search of 8 Hale, Mills photographed the silver LaCie twice. He took a second photo and placed card #37 in front of it.

The FBI appears to have moved the black Western Digital hard drive out of the way.

Mills may not have known he photographed the LaCie before as evidence item #2.  He should know that the same device cannot be two different evidence item numbers. He might have realized he did not photograph the black Western Digital hard drive. Maybe he did not. The FBI appears to have moved the LaCie.

When Mills photographed the silver LaCie as evidence item #2, it was near the end of the bookshelf. Observe the location of a computer monitor below the shelf in the photo above.

Note the location of the monitor in the photo above.  The FBI moved the LaCie about five or six inches to the left. The FBI added books and a Rubik’s Cube. Then Mills took the photo of evidence item #37.
 
The FBI entered the LaCie in the evidence receipt list as item #37. Before taking the second photo of the LaCie, the FBI appears to have swapped the Sony DVD player. This they also photographed next to the Rubik’s Cube and books. It is evidence item #36.

Dr. J. Richard Kiper

Chakravorty retained retired FBI special agent and FBI trainer of forensic examiners, Dr. J. Richard Kiper. Chakravorty asked Kiper to examine the possibility of FBI tampering.

Kiper was paid for his work.

Kiper made a report.  Within it, he addresses his view of the FBI search.

Dr. Kiper writes:

The FBI search team traversed several areas of the residence, went upstairs and straight to the office area, and then crawled under a desk to find the first piece of evidence – a camera bag containing a camera and camera card.

At this point, the case agent, SA Lever, had not yet “discovered” alleged child pornography taken with this camera, so it seems more than a strange coincidence that it was the first evidence item identified.

Another anomaly is the fact that an item number was assigned to the camera immediately upon
discovery. All the items documented in the photo log (GX 502) and represented in the
photographs (GX 502A) have item numbers, written on sticky notes photographed next to the
items.

Generally, FBI search personnel do not assign item numbers to evidence at the moment of
discovery/photography/collection, because there are multiple people working in different rooms
and it would be impossible to coordinate the numbering among them.

If any items are assigned item numbers, then it is done near the end of the search when the seizing agent collects all the evidence together and fills out the FD-597 receipt for items seized.

Therefore, in practice the item numbers rarely correspond to the order in which they were collected.

The very next item to be identified in the entire residence was an external hard drive,
located away from the desk on a shelf, and which happened to be the second of two key
pieces of digital evidence used to convict Raniere of child exploitation….

Once again, it is extremely convenient that from all the potential evidence in the residence, it was
the Western Digital hard drive – where the alleged child pornography was stored – that was the
second piece of evidence identified by the FBI on scene.

It is also important to note that the camera card (Item #1) and the hard drive (Item #2), comprised the entirety of the child exploitation digital evidence against Raniere – which supposedly was not “discovered” by the FBI for nearly a year later.

It is a coincidence.

There was only one evidence item of which the FBI did not take a clear and obvious photograph. It was the Western Digital hard drive.

This may be an innocent mistake.

How could the FBI know that 11 months later, they would find child porn on it?

It is a coincidence.

FBI SA Mills testified under oath that the photo with evidence card #2 was evidence item #2. He says, “it is a gray or silver hard drive.”

It is a coincidence.

The agent who seized it swore under oath that evidence item #2 was silver or gray. Yet it was a black hard drive that allegedly contained the child porn.

It is a coincidence.

The only other evidence item used at trial from 8 Hale is the Canon camera, which was evidence item #1.

The camera was the evidence that Raniere took the child porn pictures.

It is a coincidence.

Evidence items #1 and #2 were the first two items seized at 8 Hale and the only two used at the trial.

It is a coincidence.

The FBI accidentally discovered the child porn 11 months after they seized items #1 and #2.

They found child porn – 10 years before the time boundary of the search warrant while searching for 2015 and later crimes.

It is a coincidence.

FBI agents took the camera from under the desk, then bypassed other devices under the desk. Then they went to a bookshelf where they took the Western Digital hard drive. Then photographed it wrong.

Any number of coincidences can happen. We must not be quick to judge.

There is an adage. It shows that there is a mathematical possibility in any coincidence.

One million monkeys with one million typewriters type at random. They’ll eventually type the entire works of William Shakespeare in one million years.

There is also an FBI adage – enough coincidences equal a fact.

Now let’s move away from the search and onto what happened to the hard drive and the Canon camera, and as importantly – a Lexar camera card the FBI said was inside the camera card.

The FBI office in New York City has a centralized Evidence Control Unit (ECU). After FBI agents collect evidence at a search site, they write a description of the items. Then, they enter it into the FBI’s case management system.

FBI Special Agent Mike Lever

April 4

All evidence items have a chain of custody report.  FBI SA Elliot McGinnis had custody first. He kept the items for six days, then turned them over to the lead case agent, FBI SA Michael Lever.

Lever kept the devices for two days, and then delivered the camera and hard drive to ECU.

This was within the 10-day protocol.

FBI protocol requires the Computer Analysis and Response Team (CART) to make a forensic copy of the contents of all digital devices.

After it’s copied, the original device returns to ECU.

The FBI agents do not examine original devices. They review the forensic copy made by CART.

The agent can view the copy, but can’t change, alter, export, or import files on the copy. 

Raniere was in custody. On April 19, Allison Mack and Raniere were charged with Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking, Sex Trafficking and Conspiracy to Commit Forced Labor. 

May 4 

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis set a trial date of October 1, 2018. 

Raniere’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, spoke to the media outside the court. 

He told reporters there was no crime: “It was adults making decisions on their own… adult, strong-minded, free-willed women made decisions for their own lives.” 

 

Marc Agnifilo [l] and Paul DerOhanessian [r], lawyers for Keith Raniere.

June 5

Raniere applied for bail.

Agnifilo continued his consenting adults theme.  He called the DOS women “independent, smart, curious adults.” 

The government seeks to “transform… successful adult women into a helpless band of victims.” 

June 8 

The FBI had obtained a search warrant for Raniere’s Yahoo email account months ago. Attached to one of Raniere’s emails was a document of what appeared to be WhatsApp chats between him and Camila. 

The DOJ published some of these chat exchanges with Camila when she was in her mid-20s. 

Among them were these: 

October 2015.

Raniere: I think it would be good for you to own a fuck toy slave for me, that you could groom, and use as a tool, to pleasure me… 

And: 

Raniere: I feel badly each time you have to work hard for me to [orgasm]… I thought slaves could remove the burden… and I could get you fresh and not worn. 

And: 

Camila: Are these slaves for you or for us? 

Raniere: There are two types. Both types are for us. One type is in the [DOS] program: you are their Master, I am their Grand Master… The other type are very select ones you use to heal us: likely being also of the first type… 

[H]aving one or two young slaves devoted to revving my body sexual to produce more energy would help. It would be there [sic] 24/7 job. 

June 10 

Agnifilo said the DOJ “cherry-picked” the chats. They were “out of context.” Raniere had a “long-term relationship” with Camila. 

Agnifilo: “These communications are not evidence of sex trafficking or any other crime.” 

June 12 

Judge Garaufis denied Raniere’s bail motion.  He determined that Raniere was a flight risk and a danger to society.

 

FBI SA Meagan Rees

FBI SA Meagan Rees joined the investigative team in May.

July 10

SA Rees took the camera out of FBI Evidence Control. CART had not copied it yet.

Rees listed her reason as “evidence review.” 

Canon Camera
EOS 20D
A photo of a Lexar camera card similar to the one inside the Canon camera.

Inside the camera was a Lexar camera card.

Rees had custody of the camera and camera card for 17 days. It is unclear why Rees checked the camera and camera card from ECU. She was not authorized to review the contents of unexamined digital evidence. 

FBI Digital Evidence Policy: “Undocumented, ‘off the record’ searches or reviews of [digital evidence] are not permitted.” 

July 24 

The FBI arrested Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman, Nancy Salzman, and Kathy Russell. The Government added racketeering and conspiracy charges against Raniere. 

The six NXIVM defendants, Upper Row: Kathy Russell, Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman, LowerAllison Mack, Lauren Salzman, Clare Bronfman

July 25 

Status Conference

The DOJ wanted an adjournment of the trial to January 2019.

Raniere pressed the judge to keep the October 1, 2018, trial date.  The defense pushed for discovery.

The DOJ said they had produced some copies of some devices to the defense. The DOJ had not copied the camera or the black Western Digital hard drive. 

The judge adjourned the trial to January 7, 2019. 

July 27 

SA Rees returned the camera and card to evidence control, after having custody of them for 17 days.

Dr. Kiper observed: “Based on my own experience, a case agent would leave digital evidence in the ECU until a CART examiner is requested to check out and examine the evidence. For digital evidence, there is no good reason to check it out of Evidence Control, because the case agent cannot possibly gain any investigative benefit from retaining evidence that he or she cannot examine.”

August 6

Agnifilo appeared on the Today Show with Megan Kelly. 

Agnifilo: DOS is a sorority, a group of women, and it’s only women. The women of DOS… decided – we’re going to have this group of women, and we’re going to have some extreme protocols… We are going to… brand ourselves. Absolutely, 100% voluntarily… 

Kelly: We’ve spoken with women who say that they were threatened, that their personal collateral was used against them. 

Agnifilo: I look forward to cross-examining them. 

August 8 

Four months had passed since the 8 Hale search and seizure. 

SA Lever and SA Delise Jeffries took the Western Digital hard drive out of ECU and delivered it to CART to copy. They did not bring the camera or camera card to CART. 

September 11 

Five months after the search at 8 Hale, the DOJ had not produced copies of most digital devices.  

The DOJ asked the judge to delay the trial from January to March 2019.  Agnifilo tied the DOJ’s desire for the delay to their slow discovery release. 

He wrote in a filing, “the government cannot now use its neglect… to delay the trial date and keep Mr. Raniere in jail. Mr. Raniere… desires a trial immediately. Failing that, he asks only that the January 7, 2019 trial date be kept.” 

AUSA Moira Kim Penza

AUSA Moira Kim Penza responded. She referenced the search at 8 Hale Drive. 

“Within days of the execution of the warrants… the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Computer Analysis and Response Team (CART) began the time-consuming process of imaging, indexing, processing, and searching the data that was seized.” 

When she said this, CART had not imaged, indexed, or processed the Western digital hard drive. CART had not received the camera card. 

Penza said the DOJ retained an outside company to copy some electronic data. 

Penza said:

The Government has engaged a third-party vendor to manage searches… to facilitate production of electronic data in accessible, searchable formats to allow defense counsel the same ability to review the data…. 

Accordingly, the government intends to make available full discovery copies of devices seized from the Library [8 Hale] to all defendants over the next several weeks or as soon as practicable.

When she said this, the FBI had not given the camera card or hard drive to an outside vendor.

The FBI had given the hard drive to in-house CART. The CART examiner had not made a copy. 

The FBI had not turned the camera or card to a CART examiner or outside vendor to copy. The existence of the camera card remained undisclosed to the defense.

September 

The prosecution was preparing for a case with six well-funded defendants. Sixteen attorneys made notices of appearance for the defense.  

At trial, six attorneys – one for each defendant – could cross-examine every witness. It would be grueling for the DOS victims. 

Agnifilo said the prosecution had problems. They presented novel theories of sex trafficking, forced labor, and racketeering, he said. 

The DOJ asked Judge Garaufis for an adjournment. They could not be ready for trial by January. 

They asked for a delay to March 18, 2019. 

Agnifilo argued Raniere had been in custody for five months. He did not want the prosecution to use the delay in copying digital devices as an excuse to delay the trial. He asked the judge to keep the January 7 date. 

The battle over discovery continued  

September 13

Magistrate Judge Vera Scanlon.

Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon held a status conference.  Two attorneys appeared for the Government: Moira Kim Penza and Tanya Hajjar. 

There were 10 attorneys for the defendants. This prompted Judge Scanlon to say to the crowded defense table, “There are a lot of people in the room. It’s a little hard to see everybody.” 

The defense proposed a November 1 deadline for discovery. 

AUSA Penza said the DOJ could have copied digital devices quicker without the metadata. But the defense wanted the metadata for the digital files. 

Penza spoke about the volume of electronic evidence – some 10 to 12 terabytes. She estimated she could complete the discovery by mid-December. 

Clare Bronfman with Susan Necheles

Bronfman’s attorney Susan Necheles objected.  

Necheles said to Penza:

Have you done the search as you were required to do by the warrant?… We’re just saying, follow the search warrant; follow the law and produce to us and tell us a schedule for this. And that’s all we’ve been asking for.  

Necheles told the judge:

We’re asking them to comply with the guidelines that have been set forth by the Department of Justice and adopted by the judges and the courts [for] production for electronic devices. 

THE COURT: What’s the government’s issue? 

AUSA PENZA:

Your Honor, I want to be crystal clear. The government has never suggested that it has not begun searches or that it has not been following through with the proper execution of the warrant. … I want to make crystal clear that the government understands its obligations and is complying with them. This is electronic discovery. It takes a long time… 

When we initially produced certain material in a way that did not have metadata… because that was the way we were able to do it in-house, we received objections… 

So the government cannot… get it out the door [fast] plus trying to do it in a way with metadata. 

Penza said producing copies of digital evidence without metadata was how the government did it in-house. 

Later, the metadata of two devices – a hard drive and camera card – became crucial evidence. The FBI produced the metadata for those devices in-house. 

Judge Scanlon asked Penza, “Why is there no… high-level conversation with all counsel…?” 

Penza turned to Necheles. 

Judge Scanlon said:

Wait, wait. Stop with the… don’t interrupt. You don’t need to turn around and face her. You can talk to me. And let’s just — this is going to be a long relationship here, so everybody be calm. 

PENZA: Your Honor — 

THE COURT: Go ahead. 

PENZA:

I just want to make clear…. The government listed out for defense counsel the items… we are willing to disclose… The search warrant returns from [8 Hale] list out each device. We also provided pictures from the searches of the individual devices… 

Readers have seen the photos for 8 Hale – including the wrong photograph of the hard drive.

Remember, no one has mentioned anything about child porn. The DOJ alleged crimes against adult women. 

*** 

THE COURT: What’s the government’s objection to… an all-counsel conversation and then coming back to me with… 

PENZA: Well, I can — 

THE COURT: Hang on. A somewhat more agreed-upon list of disputes? 

PENZA: Well, I can tell you right now that dispute is one that we are unwilling to engage, and so right now — 

THE COURT: What does that mean, you’re “unwilling to engage”? 

PENZA:

So what I’m telling you, Your Honor, is that we have already disclosed those things that are products of searches that we are willing to disclose…. This is an ongoing investigation, Your Honor. …. We expect there to be additional charges… We are not… willing to disclose everything based on… charges that have not been brought.  

Penza was right. There would be new charges. They would come six months later from an accidental discovery.  That discovery was outside the warrant. It would be found on the hard drive.

But the FBI had not yet officially searched the hard drive. She could not possibly know. 

Judge Garaufis ruled on the date of the trial. He sided with the DOJ. He pushed the trial date from January 7 to March 18, 2019. 

September 18 

Status Conference Hearing: 

AUSA Tanya Hajjar said they were trying to provide the discovery from FBI searches of 8 Hale 

AUSA Hajjar said,

The [FBI forensic] searches [of the devices] began within days of the search being executed… That is a very time-consuming process…. There is a special unit within the FBI [CART] that needs to process every single one of those pieces. 

FBI records show AUSA Hajjar was not accurate when she spoke. FBI agents had not turned in the camera card – which would later be used at the trial – but not for the charged offenses. 

The FBI’s CART had also not made a copy of the hard drive. 

The search warrant for 8 Hale was to locate DOS photos. The hard drive and camera were the first two items seized. These devices had limited files. Most files were irrelevant. Most were not photos.

Yet CART had not copied the hard drive or other devices.  

The March 2018 warrant implied an urgent need to seize. The FBI applied on the day of Raniere’s arrest. SA Lever swore in his affidavit that the FBI would likely find DOS collateral on devices at 8 Hale. This would be evidence of sex trafficking and forced labor, of crimes committed by Raniere after January 1, 2015.  

Six months passed. The FBI CART had not copied the devices. The agents could not examine until CART made a copy. 

And the failure to produce copies – with metadata – was the excuse to delay the trial. 

September 19 

The day after the hearing, CART made a forensic copy of the black Western Digital hard drive. 

Photos of hard drive taken at CART

\

A senior forensic examiner did not make the copy. Instead, an FBI trainee, Virginia Donnelly, imaged the hard drive.  She used write-blocking software to copy the hard drive. A write-blocker prevents altering data when copying digital devices. 

Using a write blocker is a “critical procedure,” according to CART SOP 4.3. 

Trainee Donnelly completed the forensic copy by 8:09 pm. 

On the day Donnelly copied the hard drive, FBI SA Lever checked the camera and card out of Evidence Control. 

The FBI handbook says agents are “strictly prohibited” from examining original digital devices. Agents can examine copies only after CART makes copies from the device. 

On that day, someone made an unauthorized search of the camera card. Whoever accessed it didn’t use a write-blocker.  

Viewing files without a write-blocker changes the access date. It allows other changes to be made undisguised. The accessed dates for all active files on the camera card changed to September 19, 2018. 

Senior Forensic Examiner Brian Booth could not say who searched the camera card when questioned at Raniere’s trial. 

Booth agreed it must have occurred on September 19. But admitted the FBI lost custody of the camera card – for a day. 

On September 19, 2018, the examination of the first two items seized at 8 Hale occurred. They were a black Western Digital hard drive and a Lexar camera card taken from the Canon camera. 

The FBI used a write blocker on one, but not on the other. They did an authorized search on the hard drive and an unauthorized search on the camera card. 

The FBI chain of custody report shows SA Lever had custody of the camera and card that day and for seven days after. On none of those days was he authorized to examine them.  

The prosecutors told the defense the day before that they had disclosed a list of all the devices from 8 Hale. That was not true. The defense was not told about the camera card. Or that the FBI accessed it without authorization. 

Later, the DOJ would use the camera card and hard drive to prove charges that the DOJ had not alleged at this time. That would come five months later – from an accidental discovery Lever made on the hard drive. Even then, he did not disclose the camera card.  

September 26 

Agnifilo continued to press the “intelligent consenting adults” argument. A story appeared on CBC. Agnifilo said, 

I think the government’s position is a tricky one. You know, because everyone here is not only an adult, they’re well-to-do adults. They’re adults that… are educated. They’re smart. They have financial opportunity. These are actresses and models, successful people and business people, people who… have aspirations. 

And these are choices — eye-open, adult-knowing, voluntary choices that these people are making. And for the government to… say, “Well, you know, they’re brainwashed. You know, they’re effectively brainwashed. I don’t think there’s such thing as brainwashing. It went out with the Cold War. It’s like a relic of the ’70s. I mean, it just doesn’t exist.

SA Lever returned the camera and card to evidence control. 

September 27 

Pretrial discovery hearing.

Agnifilo continued to press for discovery. AUSA Hajjar explained that discovery took longer than expected. 

Hajjar pointed to one success. She said, “an 8 Hale camera… [w]e just pulled out the pictures and gave them everything. That search is done.” 

It was not true. 

The DOJ provided the defense with actual photographs – no metadata. There were photos of Angel, Ivy, some of Raniere, and others. There were no photos of Camila or Daniela. 

The truth is they were not pulled out of the camera. The FBI downloaded the digital images from a camera card. They did not give the defense the digital files. They gave them printed pictures, but did not tell the defense the photos came from a camera card. 

The digital files with the metadata were not provided. They said they pulled them out of the camera. 

But the Canon camera EOS 20D cannot print photos. One cannot pull pictures out of it. The camera can only transfer digital files to a camera card. 

A camera card is a separate digital device. A user can install different camera cards – though only one at a time – into the Canon EOS 20D. 

An FBI agent is not authorized to pull or print photographs from a digital camera card. CART must examine and copy the camera card first. 

The DOJ misled the defense. They did not tell the defense about the existence of a camera card. The camera card stored digital photos separate from the camera. The DOJ did not say to the defense that it was a Lexar camera card that stored the images they printed. 

The DOJ did not inform the defense they had a camera card. 

“We just pulled out the pictures and gave them everything. That search is done,” said AUSA Hajjar. 

What she told the defense was inaccurate. She might not have known. The FBI took photos from a camera card, digital device – but did not turn over the digital files. 

Did they pull the photos out on September 19, when someone at the FBI accessed the camera card without a write blocker? Was this the work of incompetent amateurs? Akin to FBI SA Mills taking the wrong photograph of the hard drive? 

The Canon camera is not like a Polaroid where you just pull out pictures.

October 5

A week later, the DOJ produced a forensic copy of the hard drive to defense counsel for Raniere. They gave identical copies to the defense counsel of the other five defendants.

The government did not say to the defense that the hard drive had evidence relevant to the charges. There was no need to. Nothing on the hard drive was relevant to any charge at that time.

The indictment consisted of charges against alleged adult victims. The ones Agnifilo kept saying were intelligent adults.

In October, AUSA Penza told the judge they were contemplating more charges. Those charges would come four months later. They would come from evidence found on a copy of the hard drive and from a camera card as yet undisclosed.

The alleged victim would not be an intelligent, successful adult this time. Not at the time the crimes allegedly occurred. But a child of 15. A child who could not consent.

The defense had no clue what was to come. And if the FBI told the truth, the FBI had no knowledge.

FBI SA Lever would make an accidental discovery in four months. A stupendous find by random luck. By happenstance. Based on his sworn affidavit, it was an accidental discovery of crimes.

It was stunning and game-changing luck. Lever was looking for sex trafficking and forced labor crimes on the black Western Digital hard drive committed on or after January 1, 2015.

Lever discovered child porn and exploitation of a minor in 2005.

If the metadata was not altered, the last access date on the hard drive was February 12, 2010. Daniela was around then. She handled backups to Raniere’s hard drives from his computers, as she testified.

Lever’s accidental discovery was on February 21, 2019.

Back in October 2018, ASUA Penza said to look out. Something’s coming.

If Penza was tentative in October, she was definite by November.

AUSA Penza told Judge Garaufis, “we expect a superseding indictment.”

She did not state what the new charges would be. How could she? It would be three more months before SA Lever accidentally discovered what they were.

Part #6 will be published shortly.

 

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Frank Parlato

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  • Seems obvious to me that the camera was accessed to check for and identify the camera card.

    And after that meeting with Clare’s lawyer things got moving along a lot more quickly, lol!

    It’s no wonder the defense was presented with pictures. I think the FBI probably has a tool for that. Probably changes the access date, too.

    No doubt, for most of the rest of this, the child porn was already being substantiated by Camilla’s wonderful sister Daniella and all the vile texts that were sent by a 45 year old man to a 15 year old girl. A photograph would be the least of their concern.

  • I can’t wait until the FR attempts to pull this tangled skein of yarn into something resembling a coherent theory of tampering.

    That’s gotta be really something. Because so far all I see is a bunch of zeroes adding up to nothing. With each installment the Chakravorty / FR hypothesis just gets more bizarre and convoluted. Where does the actual evidence of tampering come in? Who did it, how did they do it, and when? And what does the silver / black kerfuffle have to do with any of it?

    The Raniere trial was complex. Lots of witnesses, terabytes of data, multiple crimes, complicated ones too like racketeering and sex trafficking. But the prosecution presented a clear picture. Raniere had his initials branded onto the bodies of women he blackmailed. He was running a cult disguised as a self-help group, a criminal organization run by him, that lured women and groomed them to be his sex slaves.

    The prosecution presented this clear picture right at the beginning of the trial in its opening remarks to the jury. It then set about proving its case with a mountain of interlocking evidence.

    Why can’t Chakravorty and the FR do the same? Because they’ve got nothing but a load of malarkey, looks like to me. As with most conspiracy theories it’s nothing but a pile of allegations based on suspicions. “Isn’t it funny that…” “what a coincidence…” And there’s never a coherent narrative behind it. How was the moon landing faked? Well, they might have done this, they might have done that, I’m not saying they did, mind you, but doesn’t it seem odd and what’s the matter with you anyway do you believe everything the government tells you?”

    Yeah. Pull the other leg, mate.

    • Mate be patient. Maybe you will be right, and if you are, I only hope Suneel will see it. If he is right, I only hope you will see it. I’m neutral. Thanks for your skepticism.

    • The branding is one clear issue. What’s in question is evidence of child porn. Those are the charges which may not be supported with credible evidence- in terms of the photos the prosecution secured that led to the superseding, more significant charges to be leveled against him.

      • All of the issues are clear.

        A jury saw all of the evidence and found Keith guilty of multiple crimes.

        The victim of the child pronography has stated that she is the child in the photographs and was sexually explicitly photographed by Keith on numerous occasions.

        It doesn’t get much more crystal clear than that…. Wait! It DOES get more clear!

        Keith sent text messages admitting bragging even about the date of his sexual assault on the child. He considered that crime and anniversary. There are medical records. There are corroborating Witnesses who testified under oath about Cami being sexually exploited by Keith.

        And then there’s Keith himself. Again. “Your honor these photographs should not be admitted because based on the date they were taken (which is a date that would make Cami under age) they are too old to be admitted as evidence.”

        Keith raised no objections and his attorneys raised no objections about the veracity of the photos and the claims that they were Cami and that she was underage. So… believe Keith if you don’t want to believe the other evidence

        Pretty much EVERY convict who is found guilty claims they are innocent.

        Almost every convict in prison claims they were framed

        Without any kind of credible proof this is going nowhere. It boils down to a cult follower trying to free their leader anyway they can without any actual evidence of wrongdoing in the trial. There is no legal path forward for their Vanguard. Keith will die in prison

      • Anonymous wrote:
        “The branding is one clear issue”

        Indeed it is. But just for yuks, let’s apply the same “inquiry” methods to the branding that Chakravorty applies to the Camila underage photos.

        First, who has actually seen these brands in question? I don’t think any of the witnesses actually showed these alleged brands in court. All anyone saw was photographs of brands. Funny that, no? (Chakravorty uses this same argument, Camila never actually testified in court and photographs are unreliable)

        Second, how do we know when those brands were applied? Maybe it was done after Raniere was arrested. (This is the Exif files metadata argument) The FBI was desperate to get a conviction, right? So they suborned testimony by threatening witnesses and faked evidence. Chakravorty claims they did just that with the child porn.

        How do we even know those are Keith Raniere’s initials? Maybe he had nothing to do with it. (I mean, it’s possible, right?)

        I pose this hypothetical to show that Chakravorty’s argument of planted evidence could be used for any evidence in the trial. It could be used for any evidence in any trial.

        The tampering hypothesis is absurd. It’s just silly.

        Any question about the veracity of the Camila photos was settled when Camila said in court, at Raniere’s sentencing, that Raniere took those pictures when she was underage. It’s part of the court record now and that, folks, is that.

  • “It is a coincidence….It is a coincidence…..It is a coincidence…..It is a coincidence…..It is a coincidence”. etc. etc. etc.
    None of these things are coincidences, Suneel. Maybe English isn’t your first language, but you really need to look this one up. These things are ‘incidents’ minus the ‘co’ – things that happened in the course of time but which are not related other than being part of a linear process.

    “Penza: ‘We expect there to be additional charges… We are not… willing to disclose everything based on… charges that have not been brought'”…”But the FBI had not yet officially searched the hard drive. She could not possibly know.”

    Quite probably they had been tipped off by someone that there was additional incriminating evidence and they were acting on that.

    “FBI records show AUSA Hajjar was not accurate when she spoke. FBI agents had not turned in the camera card”

    Doesn’t mean she was lying – that was her understanding at the time.

    “And the failure to produce copies – with metadata – was the excuse to delay the trial.”

    Again, it seems clear that the tip-off had indicated photos were there of a more incriminating nature. Copies with the exif data would have taken far more time to produce as they indicated.

    “On that day, someone made an unauthorized search of the camera card. Whoever accessed it didn’t use a write-blocker.”

    OK, so you’re asking us to believe that they changed the exif data in such a way that it was going to show up the countless anomalies the Kiper report allegedly reveals? It’s just really unlikely that they would seek to destroy their own evidence.

    “The FBI chain of custody report shows SA Lever had custody of the camera and card that day and for seven days after. On none of those days was he authorized to examine them.”

    Presumably SA Lever has since been interviewed and provided a plausible explanation for his conduct given the recent awarding of honors to the prosecution team.

    OK, to be fair, there is evidence that the FBI did not always follow their own protocols. I’m a public servant of 20 years standing, and believe me, this kind of thing goes on in all large government organizations. There is nothing particularly sinister here, and certainly no smoking gun. Look forward to the next part.

  • It’s unclear to me– Were the “confirmed” nude photos of Camila on the western digital hard drive or on the camera card? Or both?

  • If 10 of the most expensive attorneys that money can buy did not think to raise any of these points, then I would say it’s because they all knew it would be viewed as a bunch of hooey, malarkey, baloney, and poppycock. I would surmise that at least some of them had experience with cases involving digital forensic evidence and FBI chain of custody procedures. I shall defer to their inaction as a sign of authenticity.

    Slap my heinie.

    • The problem with that theory is none of the attorneys knew about the surprise discovery of child porn – in advance.

      The moment they did, they made motions to sever their clients’ trial from Raniere. The judge would not grant severance, and all five defendants took plea deals. They mentioned in their motion to sever that they could not stand trial with Raniere because of the prejudice of child sex charges.

      From 16 attorneys ready to fight the all consenting adults fight – to Raniere’s three attorneys – almost overnight. They spent zero time determining any metadata anomalies that came out later. None of the 16 lawyers knew about the camera card, for instance.

      • — They mentioned in their motion to sever that they could not stand trial with Raniere because of the prejudice of child sex charges.

        So? If Raniere wasn’t guilty they should have stood up and testified to it. Isn’t he the most ethical man in the world and aren’t they “badass” women? No. Because it’s all just lip service. Also, if he wasn’t guilty of it, his first course of action wouldn’t be to get the supposed “fake and tampered” with evidence thrown out based on the idea that it wasn’t covered by the search warrant.

      • Keith himself detailed why he believes each woman took a deal or plead guilty and none of what you’ve put forth was a factor.

        You know this to be true. You posted Keith’s creepy musings on why the codefendants pled out: Lauren. Nancy. Kathy. Allison.

        That’s the problem with being such a talky psychopath. All those words come back to haunt you.

        The point made by Ice-Nine about teams of highly paid lawyers is valid.

        Keith was responsible for his defense. Or lack thereof. If Keith were truly innocent of the child pornography charges, Keith would have raised every objection on earth. “That’s not mine. It’s not her. I’m not me.” Etc.

        Keith’s sole complaint? ” Those child porn photos I took are too old to be admissible”

        “Yes, that kiddie porn creation date is accurate. And that is why it should be thrown out.” Keith and his defense team argued.

        That was Keith’s legal objection. “Yes. It’s true. But the child pornography is too old to be admissible”

        • “Keith’s sole complaint? ‘Those child porn photos I took are too old to be admissible’

          ‘Yes, that kiddie porn creation date is accurate. And that is why it should be thrown out.’ Keith and his defense team argued.

          That was Keith’s legal objection. ‘Yes. It’s true. But the child pornography is too old to be admissible’

          EXACTAMUNDO.

          Keith and his defense team’s first and immediate objection to said photos PRESUPPOSED the accuracy and truthfulness of the evidence.

          This means Keith asserted the accuracy of the data which he is now — through his shill Suneel — taking a CONTRADICTORY stance on. In other words, he has now TRAPPED HIMSELF IN A LIE.

          A contradiction the prosecutorial agents of the government will likely point out and the appeal judges will almost certainly see.

          That’s why this entire “crusade” against the FBI for allegedly tampering with evidence is utter bullshit.

        • This is such a good point, “Anonymous 7.17.22 10:22 pm.” At no point did KR’s defense try to argue that KR DID NOT take the photos, or that he took them, but the discovered photos were of an ADULT Camila. They did not make the argument because then they would have had to actually deal with the fact that KR began his sexual relationship with Camila when she was 15 – this is child rape, is it not?

          I don’t even think the KR’s supporters are attempting to argue that KR waited until Camila was 18 to begin a sexual relationship with her – I’ve heard them mutter something about Camila being a “long-standing” partner. Yeah. In a relationship that began when she was legally a child. In New York, it’s illegal to take nude photos or to have any kind of sex with minors. Camila, at 15, was a minor. It’s that simple.

          Tully argues in a recent radio interview that the only thing that makes them child pornography is the date they were taken – Tully doesn’t actually state that KR did not take the photos – he suggests that KR took them when Camila was over 18, rather than when she was 15 (and legally unable to consent to sex with KR because she was legally a child). This is a different argument that Frank and Suneel seem to be making, which is that the FBI tampered with and/or planted evidence by changing the dates of the photos to make them appear to have been taken when Camila was 15 instead of over 18. According to theories floated by Frank and Suneel, the photos used to convict Raniere (never mind all of the other evidence, all the other crimes, etc etc). are either:

          photos of an adult Camila which were changed to make it seem as if she was still 15 – unclear who took the photos, how will we solve this mystery, I don’t know that KR has admitted to taking photos of ANY woman, let alone Camila, like what even is a camera?

          photos of an adult Daniela, taken by KR (or whoever) which were assumed to be Camila at 15 – or whoever – because Camila apparently looks similar to several other women in her pelvic region, again, how will we solve this mystery

          photos of a 15-year old Camila (or an adult Camila, or an adult Daniela, or some other adult woman) which were given to the FBI by Daniela, or planted by Daniela with the apparent cooperation of the FBI

          And then, something something, hard drive, three computers, camera card, trees, blonde hair, brown hair, something something, WHY DID THEY GO STRAIGHT TO THE CAMERA AND THE COMPUTERS? WHY DIDN’T THEY INSPECT THE PIANO OR THE KITCHEN? and you know, data is easy to change and Daniela is actually a computer hacker, Camila and Daniela actually look exactly the same, you can’t even tell them apart, the one who has the most joy wins, etc etc

          With all of these options, Camila and Daniela are painted liars since they have both stated – under oath – that KR took photos of Camila when she was 15. They are liars, the prosecution is a bunch of liars, the FBI agents are liars, or inept, or both. Although KR MAY HAVE raped Camila when she was 15, and taken nude photos of her, and he had the best defense money could buy, and a jury of his peers convicted him on a multitude of crimes, most of which didn’t have to do with the photos (using a dead person’s credit card is illegal – it just is), none of THAT matters and KR should be freed or get a new trial because this is not about HIM (or Camila, or Daniela, or anyone at all), this is about JUSTICE.

      • No one needs to know anything in advance before it becomes a matter of record and part of the court file and proceedings. That is the way of things and are completely normal. Otherwise, we would live in a paranormal world and clairvoyance would be a normal, everyday part of our lives. Resign yourself to the fact that things happened the way they did. There is no conspiracy by anyone.

      • Raniere’s attorneys didn’t object to any of this. Strange, isn’t it?

        Never even raised the claim that these pictures were planted.

        Kinda looks like Raniere knew those photos were his. That he took them and they were on his computer.

        And he only thought up this cockamamie theory later, after the trial was over, when Chakravorty visited him in prison.

        • Raniere’s attorney all but admitted the photos were underage photos. He said this at the sentencing.

          I have little doubt that Raniere took underage photos of Camila. I have some doubt that the FBI got those underage photos on the hard drive. It is hard to get people to understand that both can be true: Raniere sexually exploited Camila and the FBI did not have the evidence for a federal crime – and needed to plant it.

          I am not saying that happened. I am exploring it. Suneel believes it. I am going through the facts and presenting what I know.

          • More likely it happened slowly. Then all at once. As the trial loomed closer. Very common.

            Keith’s devoted followers are willing to stand by a now convicted child pornographer. So that ‘they got spooked by kiddie porn’ reasoning doesn’t track

            Even Keith thinks that the codefendants plead guilty for OTHER reasons.

            The reality is that the co defendants knew Keith was guilty and they knew tthat they were guilty. That is the reality.

            That other after the trial reasoning is just a fairy tale that the dead-enders tell each other.

            The Co defendants OWN WORDS are more reliable. Don’t call them liars over their best choice after many wasted years in Nxivm.

  • Continuing my time line, based on Frank’s articles. My thoughts on this article at the end:

    2002: Family with three sisters Mariana (around 19), Daniela (around 16 at time), and Camila (around 13) move 12 Wilton Court
    ? – 2005: 3 Flintlock is Raniere’s primary residence
    2003: Mariana, age 20, begins relationship with Raniere. Moves into 3 Flintlock, living with Raniere and 3 other women
    2003: Daniela, age 17, begins relationship with then 43 year old Raniere.
    2003: Daniela, age 17, begins working with Raniere at 3 Flintlock. Testified oral sex was “common occurrence” at the home. Unclear if still underage at time was performing oral sex.
    2003: November, 2: Daniela, age 18, first penetrative sex with Raniere, day after she turns 18 on November 1.

    2004, January: 8 Hale purchased by NXIVM
    2005: 8 Hale becomes Raniere’s primary residence
    2005, March 3: Daniela, age 19, sends Raniere 70 page email with catalog of his books, DVDs and CDs that she inventoried as moved them from 3 Flintlock to 8 Hale
    2005: Daniela, age 19, works at 8 Hale. Responsible for Raniere’s computers and backup of files along with creating book reports for Raniere. Continues relationship with Raniere at 8 Hale.
    2005, September 18: Camila, age 16, begins sexual relationship with Raniere, age 45, at 8 Hale.

    2005, October 17: Earliest EXIF date from a nude photo.
    2005, October 19: Nine nude photos of Daniela, age 19, taken based on EXIF data. Daniela testified nude photos taken in 2005 at 3 Flintlock, did not know exact dates.
    2005, November 2: Fourteen alleged pictures of Camila, age 15, based on metadata and EXIF data. Photos taken at 8 Hale.
    2005, November 24: Eight alleged pictures of Camila, age 15, taken based on metadata and EXIF data. Photos taken at 8 Hale.
    2005, December 30: Latest EXIF date from nude photos.

    2006: Raniere ends relationship with Daniela for kissing another man. Raniere was in sexual relationship with around 20 women at the time.
    2006-2009: Daniela continued to work at 8 Hale when Raniere not there. She digitized and backuped his music collection.
    2011: Camila, age 21, moves into townhouse near 3 Flintlock to avoid having to sneak into 8 Hale to see Raniere.
    2009-2012: Daniela, age 24, on Raniere’s orders to “make amends” for wanting to date other, is jailed for 23 months in her family’s main bedroom (father sleeps on living room couch). Little human contact as food is left outside door. Her mother also does a multi-month voluntary exile for her daughter’s “ethical breach”.
    2012, February: Daniela leaves her family jail, tries to confront Raniere but fails. Father forces her to move to Mérida, Mexico with $200 and no ID.

    2012: Pictures and whiteboard of Raniere at work, shows external hard drive on a shelf for anyone to access
    2014: 8 Hale used as storage when Raniere moves to another home
    2015: Camila attempts suicide. Found by Raniere. Nancy Salzman determines minor injuries. Camila has sex with NXIVM trainer, tells Raniere, he ends relationship.
    2015, October, 23: Raniere orders Camila to recruit a slave to seduce him via email.

    2017, June 5: Frank Reports breaks story on DOS
    2017, October 14: New York Times publishes story on DOS. Leads to FBI investigation.
    2017, November 10: Raniere moves to Mexico
    2018, January 18: FBI uses search warrant for Raniere’s Yahoo email which includes correspondence with Camila, discussions on a vow and collateral.
    2018, February 14: FBI gets warrant for Raniere for sex trafficking and forced labor. Victims are members of DOS
    2018, February 18: Frank Report publishes article on Raniere’s location as Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    2018, March 25: Raniere captured by Mexican authorities near Puerto Vallarta and flown back to the USA
    2018, March 26: Raniere arrested in Dallas by FBI. FBI get search warrant for 8 Hale.

    2018, March 27: 8 Hale raided, FBI seize WD external hard drive and camera with memory card from office. Last used in 2012 based on comparisons with pictures from then. Total of 37 items collected. Items in custody of FBI SA Elliot McGinnis.
    2018, April 4: FBI SA Elliot McGinnis turns over items to FBI SA Michael Lever
    2018, April 6: FBI SA Michael Lever to Evidence Control Unit (ECU)
    2018, April 19: Allison Mack and Raniere charged with Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking, Sex Trafficking and Conspiracy to Commit Forced Labor
    2018, May 4: Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis sets trial date for October 1, 2018.
    2018, June 12: Raniere denied bail due to being a flight risk
    2018, July 10: SA Rees removes Canon camera from ECU, contents of Lexar memory card has not been copied by Computer Analysis and Response Team (CART)
    2018, July 24: Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman, Nancy Salzman, Kathy Russell arrested for rackettering and consipriacy charges with same charges added to Raniere’s case.
    2018, July 25: During status conference, DOJ requests trial delay to January 2019, Judge pushes trial start from October 1 to January 7, 2019
    2018, July 27: Camera with card returned to ECU. Unknown if card reviewed by SA Rees during the 17 days she had the evidence.

    2018, August 8: SA Lever and SA Delise Jeffries remove WD hard drive from ECU and deliver to CART
    2018, September 11: AUSA Moira Kim Penza asks for another delay of trial due to processing evidence and use of “third-party vendor” to facilitate reviewing the digital data. Chain of custody indicates WD hard drive and camera with card has been turned out to anyone outside of the FBI. Not indicated is if any other seized items are with third party vendor.
    2018, September 13: AUSA Penza asks for delay as discovery on 10 to 12 TB of data would not be completed until mid-December, partly due to volume of data and partly due to capturing metadata for the digital files.
    2018, September 18: Another status conference. Indications are CART has not yet processed the evidence. Not clear if this is specifically referring to evidence items 1 and 2 or any of the the 37 items collected.
    2018, September 19: Forensic copy of WD hard drive made by CART FBI trainee Virginia Donnelly uses write-blocking software per CART procedure to prevent altering data while copying. FBI SA Lever checks out camera with card from ECU. The card has not been digitially copied by CART. File access dates of 9/19/2018 indicate card examined that day. Procedure is to examine the copy of the data, not the orginial source of the data.
    2018, September 26: SA Lever returns camera and card to SCU.
    2018, September 27: During pretrial discovery hearing, AUSA Hajjar comments on camera and pictures discovered during improper examination. Only printed copies of photos of several people is provided to defense. None are of Camila or Daniela.
    2018, October 5: Digital copies of WD hard drive contents provided to defense. Not clear if this includes all digital data from all seized items.

    2019. February 21: Nude photos of 1 female child (age 15) and 11 adult women found on WD hard drive by FBI SA Lever
    2019, March 13: Due to explicit photos found on WD hard drive were prior to January 1, 2015 date, a second warrant using “plan view doctrine” was issued for the photos. Plain view was the hard drive was sitting on a shelf above Raniere’s desk that was part of the initial search.
    2019, June 10: FBI Special Agent Christopher Mills identifies the black WD hard drive under oath during Raniere’s trial after initially calling saying the hard drive was silver or gray

    Other notes on facts as presented:
    – Mariana/Raniere goes from 2003, then age 20 to his 43, to unknown date with one son born 2017.
    – Daniela/Raniere goes from 2003, her 17 to his 43, 2006, her at age 20. Ended for her kissing another man
    – Camila/Raniere goes from 2005, her 16 to his 45, to 2015, her at age 26. Ended for sex with another man.
    – Mariana and Daniela knew both were in sexual relationship with Raniere. It is not known if two sisters knew about his relationship with Camila
    – Based on folder path, computer that had photos was a Dell Dimension 8300 desktop. Series first released in 2003, but date purchased unknown. Computer was not located at 8 Hale.
    – Total of 167 nude photos found of 11 woman and 1 female child found by FBI on external hard drive at \BACKUPS\BKP.DellDimensions8300-20090330\Studies folder. Eleven of the those involved taken at 8 Hale, one at 3 Flintlock.
    – Raniere describes Daniela as his “hacker” to collect information for him. He says this proves she had the skills to help the FBI frame him.
    – Camila, who does not testify at the trial, later confirms at sentencing that nude photos were taken of her by Raniere early in their relationship. She indicated he took many pictures of her from 2005 to around 2008. Those other photos have not been found.
    – 8 Hale March 27, 2018 search warrant authorizes seizure of items related to “evidence, fruits and instrumentalities” of “sex trafficking, forced labor, extortion, and racketeering” for dates “on or after January 1, 2015”. Items do include “computers or storage media” that can also be used to store collateral. The warrant describes collateral as including “explicit photographs and videos of DOS slaves”. A evidence log from the search includes a total of 37 items removed from the home including all computers and external hard drives.
    – Evidence Item #1 is Raniere’s EOS 20D Canon camera which contains a Lexar memory card with photos
    – Evidence Item #2 is described in evidence log with special agent’s signature dated 3/27/2018 as “2) Western Digital SN: WCA581365334”. A picture taken by FBI at the time places a yellow #2 note on neighboring Lacie hard drive SN: 154107441. Both items are next to a Sony DVD drive SN: 5042648
    – Evidence Item #36 is Sony DVD drive SN: 5042648
    – Evidence Item #37 is Lacie hard drive SN: 154107441
    – Durng trial FBI Special Agent Mills identifies with nude pictures, from memory, as silver or gray. Shortly after AUSA Hajjar brings out the black WD drive which he then identifies from the scene.
    – Dr. J. Richard Kiper, consultant paid by Raniere’s team, reports what he views as critical evidence of malfeasance:
    – The camera containing and hard drive with child nude photos are first two items FBI seizes
    – Numbering of evidence is done later due to multiple rooms being searched at same time which did not happen in the 8 Hale search.
    – Seventeen days SA Rees kept camera with digital memory card is against evidence protocol as examination would have been performed by a CART examiner, not the agent.
    – Digital evidence protocol is for Computer Analysis and Response Team (CART) to make forensic copy of data. The copy is what is then reviewed during the investigation.

    My Thoughts:
    – Side note: Why special agent? Never heard understood why that designation exists. Its rather silly if think about it.
    – This article is focused on the camera with card. Unless there is a gotcha moment coming, the camera card did not contain the pedo pictures.
    – Again must reiterate, for an appeal to work, new evidence must come forward. A series of “suspicious” coincidences is not new evidence. What is being presented could have possibly played well during the trial but Raniere’s team missed their opportunity to properly confront the evidence. Their failure is not new evidence.
    – Suggestion is AUSA Moira Penza lied to the court to get trial date bumped by saying a third party vendor is engaged. Has it verified no third party vendor was engaged for any of the evidence collected, not just #1 and #2? Article is laser focused on those two items but still have to track the totality of the evidence to see where they were in the chain of custody. Considering the digitizing that Raniere had Daniela due for about a year or so, there would be a lot of data stored on his computers.
    – Delays in trials is so common its not even funny. The reasons are many, including forcing defendants to sweat it out longer in jail hoping for them to cave and confess for reduced sentence. Its shitty and sadly normal.
    – Betting card access date was changed when camera was powered on and agent began flipping through the photos. He definitely should not have done that and the second the first photo popped up, should have stopped further examination and turned camera and card back to ECU with orders to have CART examine them as soon as possible. Instead he made a copy of the file and bragged about his discovery. However, failure to do that is not proof of anything. Bears repeating, an appeal about new evidence requires hard proof. Not a series of suggestions.
    – Based on info presented, the pedo pictures were on the WD hard drive, not the camera card. The camera card evidence should not have been admitted into evidence but again that is what the defense is supposed to bring up. Raniere owned the camera, he should know how it works and told his defense team that there was a camera card. Its not the prosecution’s job to hand feed information to the defense. As would anyone that used a digital camera at anytime in the last 15 to 20 years when this became standard.
    – Games with discovery is sadly also normal. It should be noted that both sides regularly play games with discovery.
    – Its not clear there is a breakdown of chain of custody or evidence on the WD hard drive or other seized items.
    – The card doesn’t not represent the whole. There does seem to be a breakdown in how the evidence was processed and looked at by the investigating team. It seems very random rather then methodical but we are also missing a complete picture of how evidence items #3-37 were being handled and looked at during this time. It does not follow that the order of evidence logging would mean order of examination. For example if I was investigating this, I would have started with his mobile phones (where those confiscated and searched?) followed by his desktop computers since looking for evidence of collateral at that time and assumed it was provided to him electronically with many victims indicating they used their phones to collect it and send it.

  • If everything Frank and Suneel are driving at is true; that the FBI fabricated evidence, it would be helpful to have political help so that this investigation can get where it needs to go.

  • “During the trial, the government led the jury to believe the photo for evidence item #2 was a silver hard drive.”

    What a bizarre claim. It’s obviously untrue.

    This is what took place in open court before the jury:

    …Hajjar showed Mills a black Western Digital hard drive.

    Hajjar: What is it?
    Mills: This is a hard drive. The brand is, I believe, Western Digital.

    Hajjar: Is there a serial number on that exhibit?

    Mills: Yes. It is WCAS81365334

    Hajjar showed the black Western Digital drive right in front of the Jury. And far more importantly it was identified by serial number every step along the way. The serial number matches that of item #2 on the list from 8 Hale. It also matches that from ECU lab. And it was specified by agent Mills in court before the jury.

    So why did Mills say:

    Hajjar: Can you describe what this photograph shows?
    Mills: Yes. So this is the still of the same office space as seen before and item number two, which is on top of the bookshelf here, is a gray or silver hard drive.

    Probably he said this because the photograph shows a bookcase with three devices on it, a LaCie drive, the Western Digital drive, and a Sony CD reader. The silver LaCie is the most obvious of the three. Simple. No mystery, no “mistake”, no problem.

    Here’s another bizarre claim:

    “During the search of 8 Hale, Mills photographed the silver LaCie twice. He took a second photo and placed card #37 in front of it.”

    This is just plain untrue. There were two LaCie devices seized at 8 Hale. With two different serial numbers. Listed as items #14 and #37.

    What we see here is Chakravorty and the Frank Report deploying the old smoke and mirrors. Sideshow magic act misdirection. Lots of verbiage, lots of claims, sowing confusion and playing fast and loose with the truth. It’s what I expect from cult loyalist Chakravorty. I’m very disappointed in the FR though.

    The rest of this long article follows the same track. It strains at the seams to make something out of nothing. It makes assumptions about FBI rules.

    “Undocumented, ‘off the record’ searches or reviews of [digital evidence] are not permitted.” 

    “Rees had custody of the camera and camera card for 17 days. It is unclear why Rees checked the camera and camera card from ECU”

    “Rees listed her reason as “evidence review’”

    So what’s unclear about it? She was looking at evidence in the case. After properly signing it out. Anything improper, anything weird? Nope. An FBI agent working in the case looked at evidence in the case.

    A word about digital SLR cameras and their SD memory cards. I use them, have for a while. They’re not computers. While they’re technically “digital devices” they’re not really operated that way. They’re cameras and they work very much like film cameras. With a digital camera, you can review the photos you’ve taken on the little screen on the back. Like a little slideshow. That’s likely what Rees was doing. Looking at the images stored on Raniere’s camera. What’s suspicious about that?

    Well everything looks suspicious to Chakravorty and the Frank Report. They’ve got suspicion on the brain.

    To the objective observer, this “inquiry” has turned up nothing. Nada. Zero.

    • Fear not. There is more. BTW I am not for a second thinking that Raniere did not abuse Camila. I am quite certain he did.

      BTW Mills said: “So this is the still of the same office space as seen before, and item number two, which is on top of the bookshelf here, is a gray or silver hard drive.”

      That’s plain language. He said item number two is a silver hard drive. He was talking about evidence items.

      And camera cards are supposed to be copied by CART first. An agent is not supposed to look at the little screen.

      As I shall you later, the FBI did two FTK reports on the camera card. The DOJ defines digital evidence as information stored or transferred in binary form. A camera card is, by DOJ definition, digital evidence.

      BTW Ari, I am not a defund the FBI, so this analysis may help the FBI. After all, they are not above the law – no more than Raniere is.

      Here is a link in case you are still wondering if the camera card is digital or not — https://leb.fbi.gov/articles/featured-articles/digital-evidence

      • “BTW Ari, I am not a defund the FBI, so this analysis may help the FBI. After all, they are not above the law – no more than Raniere is.”

        Don’t pretend you are doing this to help the FBI help improve their internal procedures.
        BTW.

        You mention “the law”. Non of this info you present has anything to do with “the law”. It has to do with FBI internal procedures. You have proven there is room for improvement. Congratulations.

  • I don’t believe a word of it. Can’t happen. Why do the FBI agents lie? Police lie but not the FBI.

    Lawyers lie, Prosecutors, lie. Congressmen lie. Mayors lie. Raniere lies. But the FBI Never.

  • Lever and Rees should be immediately suspended pending investigation.

    What’s the point of having FBI protocols if you allow your agents to violate them – more than once, over time?

    The government is accountable to the people. If we don’t demand accountability they’ll be no Justice.

    This has zero to do with Raniete- he’s secondary. FBI – integrity- there is none in this investigation.

    • Instead of “we”. Why not “you”? If YOU believe strongly in this alleged tampering than contact the FBI.

      If not you? Who?

      If not now? When?

      I think it’s bullshit. So there’s no “we”. Just a “you”.

      So do it! Demand accountability in this matter.

      Who’s stopping YOU?

        • Because I do not know for certain that there was tampering. I am simply presenting the facts. I believe Suneel is convinced it occurred. I believe the attorney he retained filed a Rule 33 motion and is asking for a hearing.

          If the FBI did tamper I do not know if going to the Fox and asking him to investigate his henhouse would be effective.

          • Because I do not know if there was tampering. I think it is possible. Let’s air it out. If there was none, then what will Suneel hang on to. If there was no tampering, perhaps Suneel and the others will move along in their lives. If there was tampering, then the public should know about it.

            That there was tampering does not mean Raniere did not abuse Camila. I think he did.

  • FBI “agent” Rees just decided to hang out with the camera and camera card for 17 days? WTF? That’s enough. Blatant failure to follow protocol — who knows what could have been done or tampered with during that time. This is a shitshow. Raniere is guilty, but due process is required. Get Cami back from Mexico and give him a proper, fair trial. Camila’s testimony will demonstrate the rape of a child. Raniere will rightfully be put in prison, and the FBI “agents” should be charged and have their day in court.

    At the very least, actions of agents in question should be put on suspension pending further investigation. Rees should be suspended immediately. Lever is next.

    • What should the FBI agents be charged with? There’s no proof of any wrongdoing. Keith is not the only Criminal the courts are massively overburdened but he still had not only a speedy trial date it would have been even sooner if Keith hadn’t delayed it. That is not a large amount of time to pass considering all of the other simultaneous cases that are being worked on. You dead Enders are absolutely dreaming. Keith is never getting out of prison. He is never getting a new trial. It’s over.

      • They should be charged with following a tip on what devices to zero in on and going to a room full of computers first. That is ludicrous behaviour and criminal in some people’s minds. Also charge them with incorrect labelling and forgetting about said incorrect labelling when it eventually went to trial years later.

        • Yeah but why did they not be open about it? Why lie about not finding the evidence for 11 months. They got a tip
          On the hard drive and camera but they don’t look at the hard drive for almost a year ???

          • “Yeah but…”

            There is no point. You’re stuck.

            Why don’t you write the FBI and ask them? Not commenters on Frank Report?

            Would anything that any one showed you or explained to you make any difference? No.

            It’s the arguement of immaturity.

            “Yeah but”

            I WANT it to be true. I want I want want!

            But it’s not the truth. No fit you throw will make it so. No dancing at prisons. No twitter garbage. It’s just not reality.

            You’re stuck.

Frank Parlato

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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