The Daily Mail published the fullest account in mainstream news to date on Keith Raniere’s allegations that the FBI tampered with child porn evidence to win the case.
Frank Report broke this story originally.
Josh Boswell wrote the Daily Mail story.
There are three new video interviews – FBI forensic expert Dr. J. Richard Kiper, Nicki Clyne and Suneel Chakravorty. The latter is Raniere’s power of attorney and coordinates his legal team.
The Raniere team points to a conspiracy of not only the FBI, but also with one of Raniere’s former lovers, Daniela.
This was published in the Daily Mail about Daniela.
The Daily Mail’s summary of main points in the story:
- Forensics experts hired by Keith Raniere shared new photos and files exclusively with DailyMail.com, claiming FBI agents planted child porn used to convict him
- Raniere, the leader of notorious sex cult NXIVM, was already on trial for running a ring of ‘sex slaves’ in March 2019, when he was hit with child porn charges
- Investigators alleged they found nude images of a 15-year-old with whom the cult leader had a sexual relationship on Raniere’s camera and backup hard drive
- But in their own analysis of the evidence, Raniere’s team point to alleged inconsistencies and say some photos were backdated or altered on Photoshop
- Former FBI cyber forensics expert Richard Kiper told DailyMail.com the camera was made in 2004, but some of the timestamps the photos were from 2003
- Raniere’s team also singled FBI forensic expert Brian Booth falsely claimed to jurors a photo’s ‘EXIF data’ is hard to manipulate
- ‘I taught my grandson how to do this within a minute,’ said Kiper, adding that there’s ‘really no excuse’ for a senior forensic examiner to represent that to a jury
[From the Daily Mail story]
Sex cult leader Keith Raniere’s legal team is accusing FBI forensics experts of not being truthful and have claimed photo evidence of child porn used to convict him was photoshopped….
In an interview with DailyMail.com, a top former FBI cyber forensics expert hired by Raniere’s attorneys believes there were bungled procedures, manipulation of evidence and even an apparent effort to ‘frame’ the cult leader for his child sex conviction.
They found naked images of a 15-year-old with whom the cult leader had a sexual relationship on Raniere’s DSLR camera and backup external hard drive.
[Ed. Note: The FBI did not find Camila’s pictures on the camera or camera card. They said they found them on the hard drive.]
Prosecutors were able to prove the girl was underage by the timestamps on the photos.
Raniere’s three cyber forensic experts say the files on the camera’s memory card and the external hard drive appear to have been deliberately backdated…
Richard Kiper, who used to train the trainers of FBI cyber forensics experts before he retired in 2019, told DailyMail.com that the Canon camera was made in 2004, but the timestamps on some of the photos were from 2003.
Kiper also claimed that metadata on one of the photos shows it was manipulated in Adobe Photoshop.
Other disturbing inconsistencies highlighted in a forensics report he wrote for Raniere’s legal team include:
- The FBI conducted two forensic studies of the Raniere camera card but in the second study…. 37 photos had been added.
- The preview image for one of the photos on the camera card was a blonde woman, but the same file on the hard drive backup was a brunette, suggesting manual manipulation of the material.
- Metadata said, impossibly, some of the photos were edited before they were supposedly taken.
- While in the custody of the FBI, someone accessed the camera card without proper protections leading to dates on files being altered.
- Files on the hard drive were made to look like they were created in an automatic backup in 2009, but were in fact manually arranged and backdated, according to the report.
… Camila, testified that Raniere met her age 13, and photographed her nude and had sex with her at 15, when he was 45….
Their report points to alleged ‘anomalies with the FBI search’… [of] Raniere’s study at a home in Halfmoon, New York in March 2018.
They claim that investigators ‘bypassed’ several areas of the home and went ‘straight to a study area where, under a desk, were the very first two evidentiary items they collected: the Canon digital camera along with its camera card.’
Those two items were, ‘notably,’ the ‘only two pieces of digital evidence the government used to prove the child pornography and child exploitation RICO acts, which would stem from an allegedly accidental discovery of photos eleven months later,’ the report states.
They also singled out one FBI forensic expert, Brian Booth.
Booth told the jury that information in photo files called ‘EXIF data’, which includes creation dates, were hard to change and so the dates of the photos could be relied on.
In fact, according to Kiper: ‘I taught my grandson how to do this within a minute. Not even using a special tool, just using Windows features.’…
Booth, who conducted the prosecution’s second analysis of the camera card and hard drive in June 2019, admitted during the trial that he received the card in an unsealed evidence bag and there was an incomplete chain of custody log.
Kiper said this was a severe violation of FBI evidence handling rules, but Booth told the jury that receiving unsealed evidence was not unusual ….
The first forensic examination in April 2019 was by FBI Senior Forensic Examiner Stephen Flatley, who was then sent overseas to Ghana, preventing him from testifying, the report said….
Chakravorty told DailyMail.com… that Flatley had testified in another case that EXIF data was unreliable, contrary to Booth’s claims in court.
‘During one of the most high-profile trials of his career, the US vs Raniere… he has to go to Ghana,…’ Chakravorty said. ‘It’s very odd to me that it just so happened that the guy they scurried out of the country had a completely opposite view of the [EXIF] metadata.’
Kiper told DailyMail.com that one FBI agent, Michael Lever, allegedly broke protocol by taking the camera and card out of the evidence locker twice for a total 24 days in September 2018, before the Bureau conducted its forensic analysis.
Kiper’s report… claims that while Lever had the card, it was accessed without proper protections and some files were altered as a result….
[Clare Bronfman’s] lawyer, Duncan Levin, said the evidence of tampering by the FBI was cause to throw out all the NXIVM convictions.
‘Society cannot live in a world where law enforcement is tampering with evidence,’ he said.
‘If these allegations are true, it means that all of the defendants in the case should have all of the charges thrown out. There should be no opportunity for a do-over for the government.’