Moira Penza’s Complete Lecture at Binghamton University: ‘I Am First and Foremost the Trial Attorney’

On November the 1st, former NXIVM prosecutor Moira Kim Penza gave the ‘022 John and Lawrence Bonzani Memorial Law Lecture’ with the theme: ‘Takedown: Dismantling the NXIVM ‘Sex Cult’’

Moira Penza: Okay, let’s good evening, everyone. Thank you, Dean Clinton, for the generous introduction. And thank you, Andrew and family, for inviting me to be part of this lecture series. Andrew, it’s an honor to be part of the legacy that you’ve established for your brothers. Being back here at Binghamton fills me with joy and gratitude. When I applied to Binghamton, I knew the school had an excellent academic reputation, and I also knew I couldn’t afford private school. What I didn’t know was that matriculating here would be one of the best decisions of my life. I met my best friends here 20 years ago, and I learned how to develop relationships with professors, how to use office hours. I had my first legal job working as an intern at the Broom County Public Defender’s Office. At Binghamton, I developed a confidence that enabled me to excel when I went off to Cornell Law School, one of the top law schools in the country. Then Paul Weiss, one of the top law firms in the country, and then where we pick up our story at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, one of the top prosecutors offices in the country. Binghamton prepared me to succeed when measured against the best of the best, and to do so with courage, kindness, integrity, and a commitment to service – all traits that were instilled during my years. Now, on to NXIVM which is why you’re all here.

Moira Penza: So we’re going to start on October 17, 2017. So, as a lifelong New Yorker, as Dean Clinton pointed out, I am fairly religious about reading The New York Times and The New York Post on a daily basis. That morning, on the front page of the Times was this article describing a secret organization in upstate New York outside of Albany, in which women were being branded on the pubic area with a symbol that, unbeknownst to them, was a man’s initials.

A picture of Sarah Edmondson showing her brand was right below the fold. Women were brought into the organization by other women they knew under the guise of it being a female empowerment group, and provided damaging material called collateral that could be used to destroy their lives if they ever broke their commitment to the group. The women who were joining did not know that the organization was headed by a man, Keith Raniere, or that he was having the women branded with his initials.

Now, when I read this article, I had never heard of it. I had never heard of Keith Raniere, but I immediately recognized that there were potential federal crimes at play.

Moira Penza: As a member of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit, I was trained to look for organizations that had the outward appearance of legitimacy but were being used to facilitate crimes. Reading that article, something struck accord with me, and at that time, I had the power and the privilege to do something, and I did. Looking back, I recognized that decision to act as one of the most consequential of my life. So I went to the office, got on the Internet, and I fell down the NXIVM trap. My friend Tanya Jar, who sat in the office next to me, had also read the New York Times article, and she ended up going on to try the case with me. And so she also that day we spent the day really researching NXIVM and researching Keith Raniere. So for years, and this was quite shocking to me, there had been reports of how dangerous Keith Raniere and NXIVM were.

Most significantly, the Albany Times Union had done a series of investigative reports back in 2012 called ‘Secrets of NXIVM’, and that was five years prior. But there were sources going back as early as 2003. By the end of that day, I had learned that Keith Raniere had started with a failed multilevel marketing business called ‘Consumers’ Byline’ and reinvented himself as a self improvement claiming to be a scientist, philosopher and no joke, the smartest man in the world.

 Consumers’ Buyline

Moira Penza:  His followers called him Vanguard. NXIVM classes themselves operated like other multilevel marketing schemes based on recruiting new members into expensive courses. And there were reports of people having nervous breakdowns when attending courses. I also learned that Naxium was incredibly well financed by several heiresses including Pam Cafritz, who had recently died, and Clare Bronson, heiress to the Seagram’s fortune. Some of these women’s fortunes have been used to fund a litigation machine that attacked perceived enemies of the group for years. Most disturbingly, though, I read reports that Keith Raniere was a sexual predator who had abused at least two underage girls . Now, most of the time, the way a federal crime is prosecuted is it is brought to prosecutors by a federal law enforcement agency like the FBI. So the FBI will have been conducting an investigation and then come to the US. Attorney’s office once they have reason to believe crimes are being committed and need a US. Attorney’s office on board for search warrant and other next steps. This was different here, I went to a trusted supervisor who had herself brought some major victim-centric cases and we together reached out to an FBI agent that she knew, Mike Weniger, which she had just worked with, to help us investigate.

FBI Special Agent Michael Weniger.

Moira Penza: At the same time, I was making calls to everyone I could publicly identify and getting into setup. Within a couple of days, Mike Weniger was at my office and it was as if he had walked in from central casting. He was tall, dashing and totally committed to doing the right thing. He also brought a healthy dose of skepticism in those early days, which is very important. I can assure you, no one at the FBI or the Eastern District of New York is bringing cases based on newspaper articles.

But soon we were interviewing witnesses, and that changed everything. I won’t go through all the evidence that we were uncovering during that investigative period, because we’ll talk about some of it as we go through parts of the trial. But within a few weeks, between the interviews we were conducting and the subpoenas and search warrant returns we were getting back, including Keith Raniere’s own emails showing that he was the head of DOS and that it existed for his own nefarious desires. We knew that there were very serious crimes that had been committed, including sex crimes. Now, when you’re investigating a federal crime as a prosecutor you typically want to keep your investigation covert for as long as possible.

FBI Special Agent Mike Lever

Moira Penza: Presuming no one is in any immediate physical danger that allows you to continue to gather evidence and build the case while minimizing the risk that targets of the investigation will destroy evidence or try to flee. But by the end of 2017, the fact of our investigation was being reported by both the Albany Times Union and the New York Times. Raniere had gone off the grid to Mexico, having dropped his phone and email and we thought there was a serious threat

People were continuing to be harmed or would be imminent. By then we had enough evidence to charge some crimes, so we couldn’t wait any longer. FBI Special Agent Mike Lever, who’s here tonight was another one of the lead case agents who worked with us right from the beginning. Together we swore out a criminal complaint charging Keith Raniere with sex trafficking and forced labor as part of DOS. Mike is another Binghamton.

Alum will forgive him for being a Watson rather than a Harvard graduate. And he’s here today as a friend and he’s dashing too. You’ve probably heard the adage that when the Feds finally got out the phone, it was on tax evasion

Keith Raniere after his arrest in Mexico,

Moira Penza: For us it was very important because of the outside influence Keith had on so many people that we made clear he was being prosecuted from the outset with the worst crimes that he committed. Based on that complaint, a federal magistrate judge issued an arrest warrant and with that warrant the active hunt for Raniere began.

And about a month and a half later he was discovered in a small town on the western coast of Mexico. If you’ve seen The Vow Season Two, you know that Raniere was found by Mexican ‘Federales’ hiding in a closet, surrounded and protected by women [he was] having a sexual relationship with who comprised the first line of the secret organization DOS. In fact, at trial there was testimony from one of the women who was there that there was to be a recommitment ceremony that night where all the women were going to perform oral sex on him.

So I do get an added measure of satisfaction that that was interrupted. Raniere was deported to the United States, arraigned in Texas and a few weeks later he appeared in Brooklyn for the first time for arraignment. Now, once Raniere was arrested, we were able to go fully overt with our investigation, which meant that we could execute physical search warrants at a number of NXIVM properties.

Money found in Nancy Salzman’s house.

Moira Penza: Here’s Mike Lever leading the searches. Mike Weniger was monitoring remotely because his amazing wife was due with baby number two any day. And searches included Nancy Salzman’s house, who is the president of NXIVM. Here we found over half a million dollars in cash hidden around the house. Also there was also a search of a townhouse called 8 Hale which was technically considered the executive library, but really operated as Raniere’s sex lair.

We collected twelve terabytes of electronic information which is the equivalent of twelve library floors worth of data. And what happened with NXIVM is they recorded everything because they thought that Keith Raniere would be like having Jesus or Gandhi in your midst. And so you needed to take the opportunity to memorialize everything that she said. So at the time of Reniere’s arrest, we have been presenting evidence to the grand jury for months by then, but once he was arrested, we only had two weeks to indict him.

So we did indict him and at the same time we indicted Allison Mack along with and this really brought major publicity to the deal with because Allison Mack had starred in a television show that was actually popular when I was at Binghamton called Smallville

Allison Mack with her attorney Sean Buckley

Moira Penza: And so every time Allison Mack was in court, there would be tons of press and it was quite an event. At the same time, though, we were continuing to investigate and continuing to review the electronic data that had been stored. Then in July 2018, we superseded our indictment and indicted four additional individuals. Nancy Salzman and Claire Bronzman, who I already mentioned. And Nancy Salzman’s daughter Lauren. And Kathy Russell was a bookkeeper for NXIVM. Now, in addition to standalone crimes, we are now charging Raniere and the others with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. Racketeering is being part of a criminal enterprise, just like if you had a mob or gangster, although I use NXIVM as shorthand and will continue to do so today. The enterprise we charged was not NXIVM or DOS specifically, but rather Keith Raniere and an inner circle who together committed crimes for their own personal and financial benefits, often as part of pyramid organizations including NXIVM and DOS. We showed that the enterprise operated by using certain common means and methods, such as demanding absolute commitment to Raniere, obtaining sensitive information about members to use against them, and grooming women and girls for Raniere.

NXIVM was presented by prosecutors as a criminal organization.

Moira Penza: And I’ll just note, you’ll see, at the title of this lecture, sex cult was put in quotes, and certainly in the media, a lot of people were calling it a cult. And when you talk to experts in cult and highcontrol groups, certainly NXIVM does share a lot of similar traits. But for us, it was very important to present this as a criminal organization and to make sure that that was the focus. So I think, except for other people’s words, when we were at trial, we never used the word ‘cult’ to describe the organization.

So these are the charges Keith Raniere faced a trial for racketeering. You need to prove that at least two predicate acts were committed. We had twelve. The crimes included DOS related crimes, as well as crimes including identity theft, hacking into perceived enemies’ computers, tampering with evidence in another litigation, tax fraud, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of a minor – taking photographs of a 15 year old girl while she was underage. We won’t talk about all of these today. It was a six and a half week trial and frankly, I could talk about this for days straight, but I am going to talk briefly about DOS, about a woman – Daniella – who was trafficked, and about child exploitation.

Moira Penza: So starting with DOS, now there are some different recruiting techniques that were used to bring women into DOS. Typically a woman would be recruited by someone she knew and the pitch would go something like this: ‘I noticed you’ve been really struggling with your personal growth. I’m part of something that’s really helped me. It’s totally free, I think it could really help you.

Would you like to be a part of it?’ And now at this point, the person being recruited would be told that in order to join she would have to provide collateral so that they would know that she would be able to keep it in secrets. And at this point, many of these women already had been introduced generally to the concept of collateral in other NXIVM courses, with the idea being that you want to keep your promise and so this is something that is going to keep you to your promise. But the implication was certainly ‘now we have something on you that can be used against you should you ever speak out’. And so, often, because these people were recruiting from people who they knew, women would provide this first collateral.


Moira Penza: Now once someone had provided that initial collateral, they would be told about DOS. And some of the things they were told about were pretty extreme. They were told it would be an organization of masters and slaves. If people were resistant to that terminology, they were told that was a product of their own limitations and construct of the words and that was their problem. They did have to provide additional collateral in order to join that would sink their lifeboats.

So, enough stuff that it would ruin all facets of the participants, like professional, with their families. If they were deeply religious, something that would affect their religious affiliation. The women were told the collateral didn’t have to be true, just something that could ruin these aspects of their lives. So there were people who turned over their bank accounts, people who wrote letters, signed letters addressed to social services ready to be mailed, falsely accusing family members of child abuse. There were videos made to look surreptitiously recorded where people confess to crimes real or fake. And then there were lots of naked pictures and specscape where a woman’s face would be included in the picture or table.

Nxivm Brand Photo

Moira Penza: But for everything these women were told when they were recruited, they were not told the ultimate truth. They were told this was a women’s empowerment group when in fact it was headed by a man. Here you can see the structure and the first line which included Lauren and Allison and another woman, Nicki Clyne, who you may have seen on the show and is still loyal to Raniere. They were all already having sex with Raniere and had been directly recruited by him. So when they were bringing the next line into the organization, they knew exactly what they were hiding. They were selling a lie of female empowerment, when really it was an organization headed by a man having sex with all but one woman in the first line. Some of the women were told that they would get a brand, but they weren’t told that it would be Raniere’s initials, again, something that the first line knew. None of the women who were recruited by the first line were told that additional collateral would be required monthly, and none of them were told that sex would be any part of this. So the way we charge DOS-related crimes is that you have an initial fraud which caused people to turn over valuable property, including their own naked photos.

Moira Penza: And then you had extortion because once the collateral was in place, a new collateral was demanded. That new collateral was being provided under the threat of the prior collateral being released. And then there was sex trafficking and forced labor. Labor which both hindered on sex act and the other assignments that were done under the coerced threat of the release of collateral. Now, all trials involve …. And one of the biggest challenges for us was showing how the victims could be indoctrinated to NXIVM and Raniere’s manipulation such that they would even provide the initial collateral.

Most people who I speak to, their first reaction is this could never be me, this could never be my daughter, it could never be my sister. But no one joins a cult. People think that they are joining something that will help themselves or others. People join at different periods in their lives, sometimes speaking something, sometimes with different levels of vulnerability.

And when the women were being recruited into DOS, they often had been part of NXIVM classes and teachings for many years. In these classes and teaching, women were often told – that’s one of the most disturbing parts of NXIVM and Keith Raniere’s teachings – that they were loaded with these misogynistic teachings about how women behave and how women are looking always to play a victim.

Moira Penza on Raniere’s teachings: ‘Women are always displaying weakness and crying and therefore looking for men to come save them.’

Moira Penza: How women are always displaying weakness and crying and therefore looking for men to come save them. Whereas men. From being little boys and not having the privilege of being a girl. Are instilled with better values than women are. And these teachings were in almost every course that was taught in NXIVM. So when these women were being told to join this organization that’s going to free you from weaknesses, this was something that the women already accepted. And what was so dangerous about this language about not being a victim and that everything that happens to you is something that you cause, is that it makes it impossible for somebody to identify abuses. Women were told that anything bad that happened to them, including sexual assault, they had caused in some way, which exonerates anyone who wants to take advantage of this and cause harm. Now, DOS wasn’t only about sex.

Keith Raniere’s vision was an organization of blackmailed powerful women who could perform work for him and do things like influence elections. It was kind of a grand vision of what he had already been doing for years, having women operate at his behest. But here he was commanding complete loyalty.

Moira Penza: At bottom, he, Raniere was very insecure. We showed this through many, many messages. He was very jealous and he wanted to make sure no woman he was with would ever leave the organization or ever be with another man. DOS was a way to secure this, especially right around the time of the death of his primary companion, Pam Cafritz who had been the chief enabler of his crimes. But one of Raniere’s motivation for DOS was …: And what we saw was that women in DOS were being ordered to do things that were in line with what Keith Raniere found sexually pleasing. Again, not knowing Keith Raniere was part of the organization. So they would be ordered to grow out their pubic hair. They were ordered to count calories becoming exceedingly thin. They were not allowed to have sex with anyone else, which was a requirement.

When Raniere imposed on all of his sex partners, they would have to pose for pictures that served as collateral that they didn’t know were being shared with Raniere. And Raniere was known for collecting images of his partners over the years. It was astounding to see the picture of the women from DOS in 2015 were being required to take.

And they could just as easily have been the women in the photos from the 90s or early 2000s in terms of body type, pubic hair, poses, except for things like a giant cell phone in the background or VCR in the background. So before the investigation was launched, he, Raniere and NXIVM had publicly stated that Raniere had nothing to do with DOS. By the time we got to trial, he couldn’t maintain that lie anymore because we had so much evidence from his own emails and recordings where his involvement was incontroverted. I’m going to play some of the recordings from trials now.

Penza on Raniere trial – court sketch.

Moira Penza: So what was so powerful about this recording and having his own voice with Allison Mack in that recording is that we had a victim describe exactly what it was like to get branded. And then we were able to play this recording, the victim never having heard it. And we hear Keith Raniere and his own voice describing exactly what the victim had described about the branding, about how she was positioned, about what happened. Also here, he’s talking about the branding being his idea. He’s talking about collateral.

And he importantly says that women should stay ‘master, please, brand me’. So it doesn’t seem like they’re being forced. This was key because we wanted to show that to defend the trial, which was this was all consensual, was something that Raniere had been trying to plant from the early days of DOS. We had additional evidence where Raniere admitted the brand with his initials and saying that ‘it’s an initial for Albert Einstein or Abraham Lincoln’. No one would. Now, here is another example of how you keep Raniere’s own words to convict him at trial. So Raniere, here, is talking to one of the first live slaves, Camilla, who I’m going to talk more about in a second.

Nicole testifies (court sketch).

Moira Penza: And if you read them, I think it would be good for you to own a fuck toy that you could groom and use as a tool to pleasure me and then at the end, get a slave be her master. It is impossible to read these words, walk away from them and say that DOS did not exist, at least in part to groom women for sex with women. That then brings us to Nicole, one of our other key witnesses at trial. Nicole was a woman who was Raniere’s physical ideal. Even before joining the DOS. She was exceptionally thin. She was exceptionally beautiful. The reality was that although Raniere had had many women over the years, he was not getting young, beautiful women, just showing a willingness to commit to him anymore.

Nicole was a struggling actress when she was first introduced to NXIVM curriculum. Allison Mack was a mentor to her and seemed to be living the life Nicole dreamed of living as a professional actress. Working as a professional actress that they met. Nicole was suicidal. When Allison Mack was committed to them, Nicole tried to get out and Allison told her she could not and told her a story about Allison’s own master, who Nicole did not know was actual threatening release of a sex tape she had provided as collateral.

‘See the table’.

Moira Penza: At trial, we showed evidence of Allison communicating with Keith about making sure Nicole stayed in. And almost immediately after Nicole tried to leave DOS, Allison began giving Nicole assignments that involved her interacting with Keith Raniere. This culminated with Nicole being assigned to say that to walk with Keith Raniere and tell him that she would do anything he asked for her.

That night, Raniere blindfolded Nicole and drove her to a location where he tied her to a table. Nicole testified to her horror and terror as she realized someone else was in the room and began performing oral sex on her. Raniere circled the table while this was happening. Now, next slide. This image shows the importance of continuing to investigate not long before trial, while still ..:: with terabytes of data, we found this picture in Raniere’s email from the night of the incident. Nicole could never have known of the existence of this photo, so it was exceptional corroboration of what she said happened. See the table. You see the ties that were used to hold her down. And at trial, we proved that what you see in this room, all of the different items, including the rug and the lamps, show that this was actually Camilla’s own apartment that Keith Raniere had kept for her under a secret name. And so tying that up with the messages we just saw about Camilla grooming a sex slave for Keith Raniere.

This was very powerful evidence at trial. And even more damning was you can see that the video camera was pointed right at the… Again, something Nicole didn’t even know about other women. And DOS also received this seduction assignment. And another victim, Sylvie, who was the first witness at the trial, was also young, beautifully thin, and had avoided Raniere’s advances for years, finding him creepy. But once she was collateralized in order to seduce Raniere, she ended up with him performing oral sex on her as well. None of this was too coincidental and none of this was consensual. These women would never have been intimate with Raniere, if not for the collateral.

I realized I’m running short on time, and so I will try and move very quickly. Now, Dr. Hughes was an expert witness that we called to the trial. Her testimony was very important because it put into perspective some of the behaviors that victims often go through that may seem counterintuitive to somebody who’s not familiar with victim behavior. So in particular, in this case, we saw that there was continued communication from a lot of the victims and continuing intimacy with many of the victims.

Dr. Dawn Hughes testified for the prosecution on sexual victimization.

Moira Penza: With Raniere, we saw love messages, things like that. And what Dr. Hughes was able to explain to the jury is that these are very common, especially when there are abuses of power by somebody who has so much control over your life. I just want to quickly touch upon Daniella. Daniella is Camilla’s sister. Of all of the crimes that he’s, Raniere, committed, is the way that he destroyed Camilla and Daniella and their family really does stand out as exceptional.

Daniella is an absolutely brilliant woman. She had a scholarship to a high school in Switzerland. When her family got involved in NXIVM, she ended up being groomed by Keith Raniere. When, before she turned 18, a week after her 18th birthday, Keith Raniere had sex with her at the old Consumer BuyLine offices, on a mattress that was dirty, and she was one of the three sisters that he was having sex with. Ultimately, Daniella fell out of favor with Raniere when she became interested in a boy her age – at the time Raniere was about in his mid forties – and ultimately ended up confined to a room on Keith Raniere’s orders in her house with her parents there.

Moira Penza and Daniela at trial (court sketch).

Moira Penza: They were also very indoctrinated by Keith Raniere, and she was told that if she left the room, she would be sent back to Mexico without any papers and without any money. At this time, Daniella was illegally in the country. She was brought there illegally by Keith Raniere. And so ultimately, two years later, she does leave the room. And when she does leave the room, as he has threatened, Raniere orders that she’d be sent back down to Mexico and sent her, along with her father and also a woman, who was another one of his enablers at the time, to ensure that she actually did go down to Mexico.

Now, finally, in terms of crimes, I just want to talk briefly about another crime involving Camilla, Camilla’s involvement. But Camilla had been severely victimized by Keith, and at the time of trial, we did not have access to Camilla. So the defense did have access to Camilla, at least at a certain point in the investigation. And when we tried to have the FBI go down, the FBI did go down to Mexico to try to meet with Camilla. And when they did, the defense team had intercepted at a certain point and a lawyer paid for by Clare Bronson convinced Camilla that she should not speak to the FBI.

The camera was under the desk and hard drive on a shelf.

Moira Penza: But at trial, we did introduce the pictures of Camilla from age 15 that did constitute childhood pornography. And in addition to the metadata that was on the pictures that were found on a hard drive in the atl the sex layer that I described to you earlier, we had all of this evidence that corroborated the fact that these pictures were taken when Camilla was 15 years old. So here we didn’t have a testifying victim, but in addition to the photos themselves, we identified the victim.

We used her face, and Daniella was able to identify her own sister in the photos. We proved that Camilla had had severe appendicitis when she was 16 that caused a scar that you can see in even very recent pictures of her abdomen. And the scar was not visible in the pictures that made up child pornography charge, providing additional proof that they were taken when she was 15. The photos of Camilla were found in a label folder called Studies on this Hard Drive that also had folders of other sex partners of Keith Raniere at the time. All of the photos were similarly posed and taken around the same date.

Keith Raniere himself was in some of those photos, and two of the subjects, Daniella and Morin, testified that he took photos of them at the same time period. And then those photos were, in fact, on the hard drive. In her medical records, Camilla had said that she had had a sexual partner since she was under age and knew some other evidence that there was only one. And the lies in the medical records, there were lies about who her sexual partner was that were the same lies that Daniella and other women had been told to tell when they sought medical treatment. And I think one of the most devastating pieces of evidence on the Camilla chart was that Daniella herself testified, and she testified that this was very shameful, but that Keith Raniere himself told her that she was having sex with Camilla when Camilla was underage and that at the time,

Daniella actually felt jealousy that Keith Raniere had made her wait until she was 18. And so the impact of that to the jury of her sister actually admitting that was a really powerful piece of evidence. And then we had more admissions by Keith Raniere himself here talking to Camilla about having been her husband for 8.7 years, them talking about him having had her when she was making experience.

Moria Kim Penza.

Moira Penza: 15 year old. There were other conversations where he talked about holding on to the original photos from way back when. This didn’t even account for what we couldn’t introduce, including evidence of the other underage girls whom he had abused many years before in NXIVM, at least one of whom was prepared to testify at the trial. Judge Garaufis held that prejudice was too great to introduce that at trial. But again, Pam Crafitz had been involved in the grooming of that girl and she and Keith, for Raniere had sex with her when she was 13.

So we had another woman who was 15 when he had sex with her. So the evidence, even that wasn’t presented at trial all pointed to the fact that Keith Raniere had sexual abused Camille and then I’m going to wrap up in just a couple of minutes we had more of Keith Raniere’s own teaching about sexual abuse.

Dean Clinton: The world, right? Does the person have a certain type of understanding of where?

Moira Penza: This type of teaching, this type of excusing sexual abuse as a societal concept is something that came up frequently in NXIVM teaching. And you have to remember that these were being taught to groups of people, groups of women. And this in particular, this exact lecture. I’m going to skip ahead for a second, that exact statement that you heard from Keith Raniere. We showed a clip of a trial of Nancy Selzman actually charity words to this group of women and underage girls on the left. So these are underage Mexican girls on the left and at the time were submitting to the jury that there was continued criminality here and that Keith was looking to do the next victim. This is just another example you see here Keith Raniere’s teaching of whether if there’s no disease transfer appropriation ask the question should a child be allowed to masturbate an adult? Should the adult be allowed to masturbate a child? And let the students think for themselves. We’re raising the issues on how to think about the issue not generating. And so all of this went into the name that Keith Raniere was doing of the people in his group.

120 YEARS.

Moira Penza: So we won. Keith Raniere was convicted on every single count, every single predicate. And this was my girlfriend from Binghamton. This is our group chat. And this is in the 45 minutes of waiting for a verdict. You can see that we’re talking about whether it’s fine about the jury coming back. And they’re all saying how proud they are being. And it was just really wonderful. They were there with me from the beginning. And so being able to be here and I’m sure some of them are watching. Hello all of you.

But it’s just really wonderful to be back here because it is such a special place and my friends were there right along with me and of course my other friends might be right there along with me too. And so I know I’m way over so I’m just going to wrap it up. But I’m just very grateful to be here and I just would encourage all the students here that when there is an opportunity in your life to make a difference. When you do have the privilege of being able to act on something and that when something doesn’t feel right to you.

US Attorney Richard Donoghue with Assistant US Attorney Moira Penza at press conference following Keith Alan Raniere’s conviction.

Moira Penza: That you trust your instincts on that and that you make sure you are looking out for places where there is coercive control and where there is an intolerance for other ideas because that really is fair abuse. Thank you all so much. Sure. Anyone have a question? Yes. Yeah, I think that’s an excellent question and I think really having compassion for the situation and being very gentle about it at first is usually the most important step. I think when there’s for people so much coercive control happens because of isolation. That’s how users operate and they try and separate people from their friends and family so that they are surrounded only by people who are reinforcing the coercion or so that they are left alone in the abusive relationship. So I think spending time not trying not to attack what’s happening, even though I think that can be very difficult and really trying to keep it slow. Of course, if somebody is being physically injured, it’s very difficult to do that.

And I think that’s why we needed law enforcement to get involved earlier in situations like we saw was happening. Next one. But I think in many situations, really just having that compassion for the individual and spending time and gently bringing those resources to the person so that they don’t back away and retreat further to be coerced.

‘I am first and foremost the trial attorney’.

Moira Penza: When I describe what type of lawyer I am, I am first and foremost the trial attorney. And so what you really have to do when you are putting together a trial is to really engage in some editing. And so you’re not going to just dump every single possible witness at a trial, right? You’re really trying to figure out who do I need to prove the elements of the charges that I’ve brought? Who is going to help create a compelling narrative without overwhelming the journey? We already were at a six and a half week trial. I think sometimes people ask, well, you didn’t talk about this, you didn’t talk about that. But that wasn’t my job, I wasn’t making a job. I was very much moving up the crimes that we had charged. And so that’s really how we ended up choosing the witnesses. They were the ones that we thought would be the most impactful.

Dean Clinton: So I guess if anybody in this room still has questions, please stay and ask. Both of you. Wonder will mingle some of the recession appreciate everybody being here.

Moira Penza: And thank you.

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Paul Serran


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  • Re Moira Penza & JUUL:

    She took down a rapist-pedophile and then defended the makers of JUUL. JUUL has destroyed the lungs of over 50,000 young people.

    Did she mention JUUL in her speech?

    Moira Penza is proud of defending JUUL which is as disgusting as Nicki Clyne’s defense of Raniere.

    “In June 2021, I was back at trial (remotely) handling examinations of the science witnesses in our defense of Altria in FTC litigation related to its investment in JUUL. A ruling will follow post-trial briefing.”
    -Moira Penza

    Defending an organization that’s HOOKING KIDS on nicotine is a disgusting thing to do.

    It’s not much better than being a Vanguard.

    Alteria deaths and lung disease: from JUUL:

    • If you happened to read my comment and checked the link here’s an EXPLANATION;

      Penza and her law firm helped to shield two companies which are destroying the lungs of young people. The FTC filed a lawsuit with no merit. Defending this company in any form is like helping the Devil.
      Penza helped to protect a company that basically kills people. That’s my point. Her legal work was not directly tied to defending any lawsuit. I wanted to make a point.

      Penza did great work prosecuting
      Kieth Raniere. She just falls short when it comes to ethics and morality.

  • ” We proved that Camilla had had severe appendicitis when she was 16 that caused a scar that you can see in even very recent pictures of her abdomen. And the scar was not visible in the pictures that made up child pornography charge, providing additional proof that they were taken when she was 15. ”
    This should end the conspiracy theory that the photos were tampered with.

    • The conspiracy shouldn’t have started given he didn’t deny taking them at trial, practically admitted it as his attorney tried to get them thrown out due to them being taken a long time ago

  • The Democrat Party and the Biden White House are Criminal Organizations.
    Tucker Carlson: Twitter was permanently censoring users at the request of the DNC and Biden campaign

  • FBI Held ‘Weekly Meetings’ With Big Tech Ahead of 2020 Election, ‘Sent Lists of URLs and Accounts’ to be Censored
    by Chris Menahan | Information Liberation
    The FBI held “weekly meetings” with social media giants ahead of the 2020 election and sent in “lists of URLs and accounts” for them to take down in the name of fighting “foreign influence operations,” an FBI agent revealed Tuesday while under oath.

    Defund and Dismantle the Communist run FBI.

  • Journalist Matt Taibbi is about to reveal FBI interference in the 2020 election on behalf of Joe Biden.
    A jaw-dropping bombshell.

  • hahaha, everything goes backwards for poor Keith, he prepared Allison to take the blame, but Allison’s fame made all the reflectors fall on him too, Nicky wants to be the defender of Keith and the brotherhood and still does not recognize that It was her stupidity that allowed her master/boyfriend to be found, she tries to show that everything is a misunderstood philosophy and it wasn’t a cult, but she herself looks like a warning sign.

  • Contrary to the false narrative of the cult dead-enders the FBI was “skeptical” and needed to be convinced that there was probable cause to pursue investigationing a criminal case against Keith Raniere.

    The FBI needed valid proof of criminality BEFORE opening a case on Keith Raniere. As opposed to the FBI having a burning desire to arrest vanguard and then creating false evidence. Which is the ass backward nonsense the Keith loyalists spin.

  • Fascinating account. Doesn’t seem she’s the least bit concerned about the “FBI tampering” assertions, and quite a lot of detail that I hadn’t come across on the evidence front. Moira rocks!

    • Don’t get too excited, that’s all old stuff – nothing new there except Musk is even crazier then we thought!

  • Penza summarizes the case beautifully. Elegant, concise, factual. It’s great to have it all laid out so logically and precisely.

    Compare this to the mush the Raniere apologists spew forth. Convoluted speculation and a conspiracy theory, Kevin’s whataboutery, Clyne’s misdirection and Chakravorty’s fuzzy allegations.

    A lot of the FR has been given over to the “other” side. It’s good to see some attention paid to the right side, the side of fact, reason, and justice.

  • The same Dr Dawn Hughes from the Raniere trial was an expert witness for Amber Heard in the Depp/Heard trial. Her diagnosis was debunked by Dr Shannon Curry. Moira Penza just signed the open letter on behalf of Amber.

  • 13? Sex with a 13 year old??! What a sickening glob of a man. I can’t stand this. He is so incredibly disgusting

      • That’s easy. How about the people who took these serious allegations and packaged them into prime time entertainment on two cable networks, for profit and for personal and professional gain, without taking any responsibility for being high ranking executives in the organization for years?

        Who are now the lead plantiffs in the civil suit in which they accuse lower ranking members who never made money in the organization (Clyne and Roberts) of things that the plaintiffs themselves did to the defendants, and others (such as conducting EMs, and profitting from the pyramid structure of the organization as recruiters)?

        • “In these classes and teaching, women were often told that they were loaded with these misogynistic teachings about how women behave and how women are looking always to play a victim. How women are always displaying weakness and crying and therefore looking for men to come save them…So when these women were being told to join this organization that’s going to free you from weaknesses, this was something that the women already accepted. And what was so dangerous about this language about not being a victim and that everything that happens to you is something that you cause, is that it makes it impossible for somebody to identify abuses. Women were told that anything bad that happened to them, including sexual assault, they had caused in some way, which exonerates anyone who wants to take advantage of this and cause harm.”

        • Oh hi Kevin. Fancy you springing up here. Sorry it’s reignited the obsession with Sarah Edmondson. Have you got anything relevant to say on this article?

          • Anonymous @9:14 am
            Thanks for the response about Nicki’s Nxivm finances.

            The takeaway is that Kevin is incorrect (again) In stating that Nickii Ciyne never made any money from the cult organization.

            Nicki made money from Claire and continues to draw a salary from Claire now.

            Ethically all of the arguments from Kevin about Sarah profiting and that therefore makes her evil versus people who did not profit who by virtue of being broke ass and less successful are better people in Kevin’s opinion are crap.

            It’s like the old joke where they person is asked if they would have sex with someone for a million dollars and they answer in the affirmative.

            And then they’re asked if they would have sex with someone for $100 and they respond, “No. What do you think I am a whore?”

            And the answer is, “We’ve already established that you’re a whore, now we’re just haggling over the price”.

            Plenty of the loyalist dead-enderr crew did profit from the Nxivm cult.

            Just because someone like Nickii was less skilled or a bad salesperson doesn’t make her anymore altruistic or a inherently a better person than Sarah it just makes Nicki worse at business.

            It’s pretty disgusting to let your friend pay all your legal bills like Nicki has done and then make no attempt to repay them by getting any kind of job and instead spend your time posting selfies and trying to get positive reinforcement on Twitter.

            The dead-enders are just leaching off of a wealthy, vulnerable person.
            And that’s not what “friends” do.

        • Wow Nicki worked for the organization for over a decade and never made any money? How did she live? Howw did Nicki survive? How did she finance and pay for a sorority house with a dungeon in the basement if she wasn’t making any money for so many years? Off of Claire’s money like she’s doing now?

          Speaking of Nicki. Kevin how do you know Sarah Edmonson called her mom? You’ve never clarified how without knowing any of these people you know about all these personal phone calls.

        • They are suing, along with about 70 other plaintiffs, to get money back from bogus classes. People spent loads of money and deserve to get it back.

          As far as tv/books go, Sarah and others are just doing what is smart. Giving voice to their story and speaking out. Something Nicki and others try as they might, except that no one wants to hear what they have to say, Kevin.

  • Very interesting to hear from the true “master” herself!

    She says Sylvie was “beautifully thin” which is a little bid odd in this context, I have to say.

    She also said:
    “ In fact, at trial there was testimony from one of the women who was there that there was to be a recommitment ceremony that night where all the women were going to perform oral sex on him.

    So I do get an added measure of satisfaction that that was interrupted.”

    We had a laugh about Keith’s karma on the FR and apparently Penza enjoyed this nugget too!

    Imagine in the morning looking forward to a group blowjob in a seaside villa and then finding yourself in a Mexican prison in the evening. Priceless!

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083