Don’t Free Raniere; But Investigate FBI Camera Card Fraud

It might be called a debate on the reasonableness of investigating the FBI's conduct in handling the evidence in a case against a much despised defendant.  

Aristotle’s Sausage is one of our most valued commenters. He often provides what some might call the loyal opposition. If nothing else, he provides thoughtful comments.

Aristotle does not see much in the alleged FBI tampering argument.

Here are Aristotle’s Suasage’s remarks, followed by John Calvin Brooks’ comments. Brooks is no friend of Keith Raniere’s, but the FBI evidence handling troubles him handling in this case. Brooks makes his first appearance on Frank Report.

It might be called a debate on the reasonableness of investigating the FBI’s conduct in handling the evidence in a case against a much despised defendant.

A Debate

Aristotle’s Suasage

There was a second, more detailed report available, so they used it.  You find it suspicious that there were two reports.

John C. Brooks

There was no second, more detailed report available. The FBI went out of their way to produce a second report. The FBI violated evidence handling procedures to do a forbidden “reexamination” of the camera card.

It’s suspicious that their reason for doing the second report is that Forensic Examiner Stephen Flatley, who made the first report, was “out of the country.”

But he was not out of the country. He was there until June 7, 2019 – four weeks into the trial. So why didn’t they call him?

They did not call him because he ran the first report on the camera card, and it did not show a strong connection with the hard drive.
He would have testified his report was accurate.

The second reason they did not call Flatley is that he would not have lied and said EXIF data is hard to change. He had testified in the past that all metadata, including EXIF data, is easy to change.

Aristotle’s Suasage

You find it suspicious that in serving a warrant for digital images, the first item seized was a digital camera. You find everything the FBI did suspicious. To an unbiased observer, none of this is suspicious.

John C. Brooks

I find it suspicious that during the execution of the search warrant, they bypassed other evidence to grab two items – a camera and a hard drive. They later used these for child porn and exploitation charges.

But that is not what the search warrant authorized. The FBI was looking for DOS crimes. The FBI did not complete the search of the hard drive until 11 months later. They discovered this child porn evidence by accident.

They hid the camera card from the defense until after they discovered the child porn? They never turned over a forensic copy of the camera card to the defense. They only turned over FTK reports.
The first FTK camera card report has only four pictures of Angel that match the hard drive.

Then they make a second report with 37 new files, plus the four photos of Angel. The new files are just data, and the images cannot be seen except for four new files. You can see the four pictures of Angel, and you can see four thumbnails of Daniela.

Only the four thumbnails of Daniela aren’t Daniela. They’re Angel – the same four thumbnails on Angel’s four pictures. That’s evidence of manual alteration. Thumbnails don’t jump around to other files without some help.

Aristotle’s Suasage

Yours, Chakravorty’s, and Kiper’s suspicions do not constitute proof of evidence tampering. Nor are they evidence. They’re your suspicions.

Sad to say, but this eight + series reiterating the same points over and over smacks of obsession. It does little for your cause: eight articles and still no coherent story of FBI tampering.

That’s sad. Chakravorty’s hypotheses are a mess.

Where, for instance, did the FBI get those pictures they supposedly planted? Some apparently mislabeled thumbnails prove the FBI planted porn? What?? The infamous Midnight Tree?

John C. Brooks

I believe the FBI planted a directory on the hard drive and made it look like a real computer backup. They left traces of their crime with inconsistent and impossible metadata.

The photos’ creation dates on the hard drive are all 2003 – a year before the camera was manufactured.

The FBI copied and pasted photos on the camera card (specifically those of Angel, 180-183) and renamed them to match the hard drive to make the falsified data on the hard drive seem more legitimate.
Then they covered it up with FBI Forensic Examiner Brian Booth’s testimony about EXIF data being hard to change.

FBI Special Agent Christopher Mills’ falsely testified the camera was handled within FBI protocol. It was not.

Aristotle’s Suasage

Yes, the FBI made some procedural errors. The famous memory card in a baggie. How significant is that in a two-year investigation and a two-month-long trial?

John C. Brooks

The camera card is the “film” from which the alleged child porn came. It was hugely significant evidence. That it came in an UNSEALED baggie is of concern to anyone who understands that evidence needs integrity.

Aristotle’s Suasage

The Free Raniere team has done a thorough (some might say obsessively thorough) job of exposing every tiny crack in the prosecution of this case. It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

Everyone following this comedy tale needs to remember this fact: Raniere was not convicted of child pornography. It wasn’t on the indictment. The issue is irrelevant.

I quote from the DOJ press release of June 19, 2019:

“Keith Raniere, the founder and leader of Nxivm, was convicted today by a federal jury in Brooklyn of all seven counts of a superseding indictment charging him with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy; sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy; forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.”

So the Free Raniere club claims FBI agents risked their careers and jail to somehow – in some unknown manner – fabricate evidence proving Raniere guilty of a crime he was not actually charged with.

It makes no sense.

In a trial, the FBI wasn’t particularly interested in, until an NYT article gave them the kick in the pants. Yet the Free Raniere club claims the FBI was so “desperate” to win this case that they broke the law and faked evidence.

For a crime, Raniere wasn’t actually charged with. Huh??

John C. Brooks

Whether they called it a predicate act of RICO or child porn and sexual exploitation of a child, it was the game changer, and they knew it.  The embarrassment of losing would have made worldwide headlines.

Aristotle’s Suasage

The child porn evidence was one of three predicate acts supporting the racketeering charge. The Feds needed only two. It turned out to be superfluous. The jury found against Raniere on all 3.

It’s a minor issue, and, from a legal standpoint, irrelevant to the appeal of Raniere’s conviction. Claviger explained this months ago. You’re arguing over irrelevancies.

John C. Brooks

In a pre-trial hearing, lead prosecutor Moira Kim Penza called the newly discovered child porn charges “the heart” of the racketeering conspiracy. It wasn’t just another charge.

It’s not about freeing Raniere. What I want to investigate is whether the FBI tampered. Were they nervous that no one took a plea?
Before their 11th-hour child porn discovery, sex trafficking and forced labor were the significant charges.

But the defense was these victims were “all consenting adults.”

The child cannot consent.

Before Camila, [which caused all the other codefendants to take plea deals – as they admitted], there would be a trial with six defendants, unlimited Bronfman funds, and 16 high-powered attorneys at the defense table.

The sex trafficking charge was one incident of BDSM cunnilingus, with one affluent, white woman in her late twenties, with a history of kink, tied to a table for maybe 30 minutes.

No money changed hands. No interstate commerce was affected—no severe harm.

Nicole said she was OK with it before, during, and after.

How would a jury react? Hindsight is 20-20. But who knows if the jury would have looked at this differently, with six lawyers cross-examining Nicole?

Maybe the jury might have thought she was a grown-ass woman. She consented. She agreed. Too bad.

Once you add the child who cannot consent, it taints everything.

The forced labor by adult white women willing to be life slaves? The jury might not have sympathized with them. They might have believed Allison, Lauren, or Kathy – sympathetic characters – that they thought they were doing well.

How could they know that these adult affluent white women were incapable of consent?

The main forced labor charge was that an adult woman did some transcription for a memorial service and read some articles.

Six teams of well-paid defense lawyers could have hammered home the “all consenting adults” argument. They could have compared these adult white affluent “victims” to real sex trafficking victims. Women were sold into prostitution or real forced labor victims working at sweatshops, threatened with deportation if they did not slave away.

Not play acting DOS slaves, but real slaves.

Child porn was the game changer.

Aristotle’s Suasage

That’s why this tampering tale sounds crazy to an objective observer. It’s Q-anon level stuff. Arguing absurdities.

John C. Brooks

Booth said EXIF data is hard to change. EXIF data dates were how the FBI dated the photos. But EXIF data is easy to change. That kind of mistake is a problem.

Aristotle’s Suasage

The tale doesn’t even make sense in terms of internal cohesion. Let alone being entirely lacking in any kind of actual evidence.

But by all means, carry on. Continue with Parts nine through infinity with this nutty tale. I’m getting a good laugh and have fun deconstructing conspiracy theories.

John C. Brooks

Another commenter, Erasend, who supports you, Aristotle, in most of your tampering arguments, wrote on Frank Report:

“The FBI agents should be investigated for whatever happened with the camera card. That is some strange shit that is beyond just not following a procedure. If they have faked evidence once, they either have done it in the past, or likely will do it in the future. Rather some future dangerous or abusive person not go free because of them.”

That is what this is about.

It is not about freeing Raniere. He’s a gone goose. This won’t free him, regardless of what his friends wish or want.

This effort investigates whether the FBI is playing fast and loose with the evidence. The FBI is not above the law. No law enforcement agency is above the law.

I would expect you, Aristotle, to understand that subtle difference between supporting Raniere and not wanting the FBI to have a license to cheat.

I do not support Raniere, and I do not support the insane theory that the FBI can cheat if it is an evil man. That slippery slope I never wish to slide down.



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  • Harping on the unsealed evidence bag is ridiculous. The FBI is going to plant evidence according to the dead Enders.

    Why wouldn’t they just lie about whether or not an Evidence bag was sealed? Or why not just put it new bag or reseal it? It’s just absolutely silly. With no proof whatsoever The Cult dead Enders make a really serious allegation that FBI agents lied on a witness stand under oath. So the specific FBI employees allegedly were willing to go on the stand and testify under oath. But the dead Enders are surmising the FBI draw the line at tampering with an Evidence bag to make things look as by the book as possible? It’s laughable.

    The FBI allegedly are going to plant evidence and act out a far-reaching conspiracy that would have to involve civilians like Camilla and foreign countries even and they’re going to lie allegedly on the witness stand but they’re not just going to reseal a bag? That’s just a step too far for the FBI in this cockamami completely far-fetched unsupported conspiracy theory?

    LOL no not the bag! Plant the evidence lie on the witness stand but not the bag don’t reseal the bag that’s just taking things too far! LOL

  • Interesting that my “loyal opposition” statement gets snipped into pieces, each one disparaged by lengthy rebuttals from a member of the Free Raniere Club.

    While Chakravorty’s statement posted just before gets presented uncut and without commentary.

    Unbiased inquiry, eh?

    Keep in mind that the FR on last Nov. 8 called for Raniere’s conviction to be vacated as “the proper remedy for government cheating.” And the FR now considers it established fact that the government cheated.

    It’s time this “I’m not saying Raniere is innocent, but…” position was exposed for what it is. Chakravorty wants his Vanguard freed and he’s the one who cooked up this cockamamie evidence tampering tale. You can’t push for Raniere’s conviction to be vacated and then claim you don’t want him freed from prison.

    Not that it matters. Raniere is in Federal prison and there he will remain. The FR along with Chakravorty and Clyne and John C. Brooks and the rest of the Free Raniere Club can’t do squat about that.

    Nobody cares. Nobody believes these threadbare conspiracy theories. I enjoyed making fun of them, but I always knew they were going nowhere. Because they’re absurd.

    Just like the jury who convicted him, Raniere’s appeal will be heard (read) by rational people guided by evidence and logic. And just as he was sent to prison he will remain in prison.

    This little kerfuffle matters not at all. This is all a comedy, and comedies have a happy ending.

  • Important clarification:

    For his friends, its entirely about freeing him. There is no moral stand they are taking. They are pretending its about morality, but its not. They have made it clear that the cloak of “consent” absolves all sins and what’s some naked pictures and confessions? Him pursuing two underage sisters, no biggie because they were for it. Locking one up? BFD, the family consented. Getting women to send naked pictures and record confessions, nothing wrong with that, they consented. No, they have made their lack of morality very clear. They just want their hero pedo free.

    For most of us, including me, this is all just a thought exercise. This appeals process has literal years to go. It is unlikely to end in anything but the appeals being rejected. No trial, no investigation, no public shaming or whatever it is people are expecting. A whimper of nothing. The “proof” of fake pictures is just weird enough that it should be looked into properly but I have zero expectations of that happening. At most some FBI admin will send a memo to remind people of the digital evidence procedure and that will be the extent of Raniere and his pedo lovers’ influence.

    • The way the dead enders try to minimize KR’s behavior is disgusting. They have no integrity and seem to be incapable of having an HONEST discussion about what occurred. “Out of over 100 women, only one or two complained…” So? So what? How is it any less wrong if Keith Raniere sex trafficked and/or raped ONE woman versus more? NXIVM was operating a slavery ring – my understanding is that slavery is illegal – it doesn’t matter if you enslave ONE person, or many. On top of that, the dead enders never talk about ALL OF THE OTHER CRIMES KR WAS CONVICTED OF. They seem to actually believe that he is innocent of everything, including the fraud charges, of which there was very clear, obvious evidence. It’s absurd. I’m curious as to what the dead enders think an appropriate sentence is for someone who commits “actual” sex trafficking or “actual” fraud, or who “actually” made child porn with the 15-year old minor he was statutorily raping.

      If everything was so amazing at NXIVM it would still be operating. A legitimate organization does not end with the leader in prison as well as others ending up in prison. Further, there would be no civil litigation if there was nothing to litigate.

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.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

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 premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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