Judge Garaufis Denies Raniere’s Motion to Disqualify Setting Stage for Decision on Rule 33 Motion for New Trial

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis sentenced Keith Raniere to a term of imprisonment of 120 years.

US District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis denied Keith Raniere’s motion for recusal and disqualification from hearing Raniere’s Rule 33 motion for a new trial. Raniere claims in his Rule 33 motion that the FBI tampered with evidence in his case.

Garaufis presided over Raniere’s six-week jury trial from May 7 to June 19, 2019.

On May 6, 2022, Raniere filed a motion asking Judge Garaufis to disqualify himself, citing three examples of alleged bias.

Judge Garaufis’ portrait 

Incident #1

An exchange between the judge and Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, occurred during and after the judge stopped his cross-examination of Lauren Salzman.

Incident #2

At Clare Bronfman’s September 30, 2020, sentencing hearing.

Raniere argued Judge Garaufis’ choice to “tripl[e] the sentence of Ms. Bronfman, a first-time offender, because she refused to ‘renounce’ Mr. Raniere and the NXIVM organization” evidenced bias.

Clare Bronfman and Keith Raniere, whom she refused to renounce

Incident #3

At Raniere’s July 20, 2021, restitution hearing.

Raniere alleged, “Judge Garaufis displayed an unacceptable bias toward Mr. Raniere’s Defense team.”

On May 9, 2022, Judge Garaufis stated he would defer deciding the Rule 33 and recusal motions until the Second Circuit resolved Raniere’s appeal of his conviction.

On January 3, 2023, the Second Circuit denied Raniere’s appeal of his conviction and Bronfman’s appeal of her sentence.

Raniere then filed with the Second Circuit a petition for a writ of mandamus, seeking the Second Circuit to order Judge Garaufis to disqualify himself on the Rule 33 motion.

On March 20, 2023, the Second Circuit denied that petition, handing the Rule 33 and recusal motions back to Garaufis.

Judge Garaufis wrote about recusal, quoting various cases.

He wrote it is not necessarily wrong for a judge to have a bad opinion of a defendant. It is not “whether the judge in question holds a ‘favorable or unfavorable disposition or opinion,’ but whether such views are ‘wrongful or inappropriate.'”

He also said it is not grounds for recusal if a judge is “short tempered,” “critical or disapproving of, or even hostile to, counsel, the parties, or their cases,” or “exceedingly ill disposed towards the defendant, who has been shown to be a thoroughly reprehensible person’ throughout the trial.”

Keith Raniere at trial with Moira Penza, showing the jury how “thoroughly reprehensible” he is.

Legal Analysis

Judge Garaufis then addressed the three incidents of alleged bias, starting with Lauren Salzman.

He pointed out that the Second Circuit denied Raniere appeal on the curtailing of Salzman’s cross-examination, and the US Supreme Court, on April 17, declined to hear Raniere’s appeal.

Judge Garaufis wrote, “Here, the court’s choice to curtail cross-examination of a witness to avoid needless harassment and attend to the witness’s wellbeing was well within the bounds of a trial judge’s discretion…

“Even if the court’s comments at times evinced not just frustration and impatience, but some sort of distaste for the defendant, no reasonable observer would, after witnessing the trial over which the court was then presiding, earnestly believe that the distaste was the result of some sort of extrajudicial bias or deep-seated antagonism.”

MK10Art’s painting of Lauren Salzman

Restitution Hearing Conduct

Judge Garaufis wrote, “any conduct evincing bias was allegedly aimed toward an attorney hired by Defendant Raniere… and there is no evidence that any disagreement between the court and that counsel reflected a broader issue between the court and the defendant… T]he allegedly biased conduct was directed only toward one of a series of lawyers representing the defendant, and never toward the defendant himself.”

Bronfman Sentencing 

Judge Garaufis wrote regarding Bronfman that he “did take into consideration Defendant Bronfman’s continued support for Defendant Raniere after learning the full extent of his criminal conduct” and that he was “primarily concerned with Bronfman’s actions after she found out about DOS in June 2017, including her reinvigorated support of Raniere….

“The court carefully articulated the ways in which Defendant Bronfman’s actions in devotion to Defendant Raniere without regard to the seriousness of his crimes had reflected a sincere lack of respect of the law…

“The Second Circuit, affirming this court in full, agreed wholeheartedly with this assessment, pointing out that her ‘conduct-before and after her indictment- readily distinguishe[d] her’ from her co-defendants, and reiterating this court’s assertion that the context for her criminal conduct set her far apart from other defendants convicted of the same offenses.”

In short, this means Judge Garaufis will decide on the Rule 33 motion. 


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Frank Parlato


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  • Our court system is so broken. It’s set up for government corruption. Suddenly a lawyer – is appointed to be a judge- and they are given godlike status.

    We give absolute power to judges to even check themselves.

    Is there any judge that in a high powered public case has recused himself? Said- oh, my bad, I was biased.

    In doing so the whole case would get thrown out.

    And if he doesn’t recuse himself, what is the pathway then?

    I was one who walked blindly and handed over all power thinking the court being Justice.

    It’s bad enough in civil court where they steal all your money. In criminal court they take your liberty.

    • Oh shut up deadender.

      It’s only “broken” and “unjust” because your charlatan leader who obviously broke the law got caught and convicted is now in prison.

      • Took the MF’n words right out of my mouth! Even if you cast aside the child porn, there is so much more that Vanturd is guilty of. The dead enders never acknowledge this. It is so frustrating. For the most ethical people, they leave a lot to be desired. They are right up there with the Cult of Scientology!

  • What does this means for Rule 33? We now know that the FBI tampered to get Keith. Will Judge be used as a tool of the FBI ?

  • Supposedly, Tully is a super lawyer. I don’t know who made this erroneous claim. In any case, there is nothing to the fact that Tully is a super lawyer. Where are Tully’s achievements?

  • Raniere is a buffoon. He thinks that because people allegedly hate his lifestyle, that implies that people couldn’t objectively look at the evidence. Garaufis had implied the same thing in his reprehensible qualification of Raniere and his associated statement concerning it. Newsflash: there is a “disgust” component associated with the law. If people didn’t find stealing, murder, sexual exploitation (particularly of minors), child pornography, assault, etc., reprehensible, then there likely wouldn’t be laws against them. The point is laws aren’t solely based on such emotional feelings, but they also have a rational basis to them rooted in human nature. Raniere was a sophist who merely wanted to satisfy his carnal desires — a massive hypocrite. He tried to cover the intrinsic disgust people felt towards his actions with his hack job pseudo-rationality and labels of weakness, when such healthy feelings actually reinforced the illegitimacy of them.

    • Raniere seems to be a sociopath. Most sociopaths are smart. That’s what makes them so dangerous.

      • You can be a clown and a sociopath. Haven’t you seen all of those horror movies? LOL.

        Regardless, what I was really concluding with is that Raniere isn’t as smart as he thinks, and neither were the people who were part of this cult. Had any of them understood philosophy and held any real belief in traditional values, be it from the well-known Abrahamic faiths, or even other conservative Eastern traditions, they would’ve seen through the charade of genius problem solver and ethical guru and not wasted their time. Just listening to the blowhard go on and on should’ve been sufficient to know he was a fraud.

        • So true. If statistics are right and 1 out of every 25 people is a sociopath (those without a conscience) we should probably all step back from every conversation with a stranger to watch what’s said from a bird’s eye view and sift whatever’s authentic from the manipulative. Ms. Harris’ word salads come to mind. If that’s one reason she was installed, how soon will she be president?

    • Well-stated. A judge who has no conscience does not deserve to sit on the bench. Almost every sentencing transcript in history contains some evidence of the magistrate’s disdain for the defendant’s conduct.

      “Here, the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil…”
      – Denny Chin, USDJ, Sentencing of Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff (2009)

      “Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil that you have done.”
      – George O’Toole Jr., USDJ, Sentencing of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (2015)

      “Your actions on January 6th, and in particular your attack on Officer Hodges, made you a poster child for all that was dangerous and appalling about that day…Your actions are some of the most egregious crimes committed on that dark day.”
      – Trevor McFadden, USDJ, Sentencing of January 6th insurrectionist Patrick McCaughey III (2023)

      • Hey Kids, did you see those three examples?
        I sure did and that means it’s time for a game.
        Right. So everyone pay attention carefully and you can play the game.

        One of these examples is not like the others
        One of these examples doesn’t belong
        Can you tell which example is not like the other
        By the time we finish this song?

        🎵🎶🎶 🎵🎶🎶 🎵🎶🎶🎶 🎵🎶🎶

        “Judicial power is never exercised for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the judge,
        always for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the legislature;
        or, in other words, to the will of the law.”
        — Chief Justice John Marshall

        🎵🎶🎶 🎵🎶🎶 🎵🎶🎶🎶 🎵🎶🎶

        Did you guess which of M. Novak’s examples is not like the others?
        Did you guess which example doesn’t belong?
        If you guessed the third example is not like the others
        Then you’re absolutely right!

        Because the first two were…
        Justified and righteous opinions in the fair administration of justice

        And the other one was
        *rubber ducky squeaks*
        Like Ernie’s rubber ducky dressed as the J6 set-up.

        The opinion of the judge in the third case is irrelevant compared to opinions of the first two judges who exercised proper judicial discretion.

        • Anonymous 6:51

          Well kids, perhaps it’s time to play a different game called how did Trevor McFadden become a judge?

          On June 7, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated McFadden to serve as a United States District Judge. So perhaps you should take up your complaint with Mr. Trump.

        • Marshall was a proud slave owner who – legend has it – attempted to resurrect himself in order to cast another majority vote in Dred Scott v. Sandford.

  • Judge Garaufis should consider signing up for an ESP intensive. Apparently on day 5 you experience a shift. Which centres are still open?

  • The only one of these with possible merit was the stopping of Lauren Salzman’s cross. However, Agnifilo waived that since he never requested that he be allowed to continue the following day.

  • Denied, denied, denied. One after another Raniere’s frivolous motions, hopeless appeals, and silly filings collapse into dust. It’s good to see justice done in this manner. Cool, rational justice.

    I like methodical truth-seeking. Judge Garaufis’ ruling is a fine example. Ignore Raniere’s hand-waving, what are the facts? What are the legal precedents? Precedent is important, because judgement and decision making should be consistent. Being consistent is an essential part of being rational.

    I applaud Judge Garaufis for his reasoned and erudite decision.

  • “There has also been a great deal of speculation in Mexico about the exact nature of Raul Salinas’ close friendship with former President George Bush’s son, Jeb. It is well known here that for many years the two families spent vacations together — the Salinases at Jeb Bush’s home in Miami, the Bushes at Raul’s ranch, Las Mendocinas, under the volcano in Puebla. There are many in Mexico who believe that the relationship became a back channel for delicate and crucial negotiations between the two governments, leading up to President Bush’s sponsorship of NAFTA.”

    Houston Chronicle, 9 March 1995

  • “Another swing and a miss.”
    – Phil Rizzuto (1917-2007)

    I wonder if Tully has a back-up career plan.

    • There will be no baseball talk on FR. FR readers don’t like or understand sports.

      “I like radio better than television because if you make a mistake on radio, they don’t know. You can make up anything on the radio.” Phil Rizzuto

  • I hope Judge Garaufis knows how dangerous the NXIVM project was for America, Mexico, Canada and the entire Western Hemisphere. The old colonialists stole property and killed people. NXIVM was in the process of destroying everyone and everything.

  • Another motion bites the dust.
    2nd Circuit already said no, no, no, this one.
    Supreme Court could give a shit about Raniere.
    Tully should be out looking for new clients; he’s about to lose his cash cow.
    Vegas give bad odds Raniere get anywhere with his Rule 33 – why, Raniere hasn’t won shit.

  • It wil be interesting to see whether Garaufis denies the rule 33 motion, and if he does, how he will motivate his decision.

    He’ll need advisers to respond to the technical details of the tampering allegations.

    I suppose his decision can be appealed to the second circuit and ultimately to the Supreme Court. Clare could offer Clarence Thomas an all expenses paid luxury vacation to her resort in Fiji.

  • “the Defendant exhibits a foundational misunderstanding of what constitutes personal, extra-judicial bias, rather than honestly held viewpoints gained throughout presiding over a trial. Here, there is no indication whatsoever that this court harbored any animosity or “personal bias” toward Defendant Raniere prior to the trial, during which many unsavory facts about Mr. Raniere were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

  • I think I love His Honor! I just wish that Scientology would come across a judge with some balls. They are all disgustingly afraid 😨!

    • Many in official offices have been understandably afraid, not “disgustingly afraid”. They’re understandably afraid because of the sinister politics that ruled the world until now.

      There’s actually talk of a few people establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to handle the rampant corruption and conflicts of interest in American politics. Now that we’ve seen how much control blackmail, money and “secret societies” have over society, good people in positions of power have more power with all the new transparency. The JFK files show what happened. That massive pandemic exercise looks more and more like it wasn’t what we were told it was. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission will allow anyone who wants to be a hero to come clean, be a hero and save America. Sounds over-the-top, but it’s actually where we are at this point in history. #RFKJr2024 🇺🇸

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com