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How Keith Raniere’s attorneys are pushing back against the new charges in the Nxivm case

[Keith Raniere and his attorney Marc Agnifilo]

The big news from yesterday’s court hearing was that three additional Nxivm defendants are negotiating plea deals, which, if it actually happens, would leave just Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman facing trial scheduled to begin April 29.

It was also interesting to see Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, push back at the new charges his client is facing in the prosecution’s second superseding indictment. The new charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and child pornography carry minimum sentences of 15 years in prison, and combined with the previous charges that could lead to a thirty year minimum, adds up to a pretty bad outcome for his client.

“If convicted of the brand new, four-day-old charges alone, Raniere would surely die in prison,” Agnifilo said in a motion to dismiss to Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

Agnifilo is complaining that the new charges are coming so late in the process, and that they should be handled in a separate trial because of their geographical location. The upcoming trial is being held in Brooklyn, in Eastern District of New York, where much of the Nxivm and DOS activity took place. But the new child sex allegations only occurred in the Albany area, which is in New York’s Northern District, according to federal reckoning. The government’s position, however, is that all of the charges contribute to the racketeering scheme they’re trying to prove and deserve to be heard in the Brooklyn court. We’ll see what the judge thinks as he has a lot of other issues to decide before opening statements in just a few weeks.

We have Agnifilo’s motion for you below. Also, here are some press reactions to yesterday’s hearing…

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Albany Times-Union: The new indictment honed the government’s case, and includes charges of extortion, sex trafficking, harboring of aliens for financial gain, forced labor, various conspiracy charges and wire fraud. The indictment seeks forfeiture of a Halfmoon townhouse that Raniere had called “The Library” and allegedly used as his private “sex lair,” as well as more than $520,000 in cash that was seized last year from Nancy Salzman’s Halfmoon residence. The charges allege some of the defendants took part in recruiting and grooming sexual partners for Raniere, and of using “harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack perceived enemies and critics of Raniere.”

New York Post: “Smallville” star Allison Mack is now in plea negotiations with the government over her role in upstate sex-slave cult Nxivm, prosecutors revealed Monday. Three high-ranking members of the group — Mack, Lauren Salzman and accountant Kathy Russell — are all actively engaged in discussions, a prosecutor said in Brooklyn federal court…If the three women take pleas, that will leave just Raniere and Nxivm’s benefactor, Seagram liquor heir Clare Bronfman, to stand trial — with Mack and the others potentially acting as turncoat witnesses against them. “I think at the end of the day it will be just Claire and Keith going to trial,” Bronfman’s attorney Mark Geragos said while discussing possible trial dates.

Frank Parlato: For now, Judge Garaufis is holding to April 29th as the “start date” for the trial – and he’s already lined up a prospective jury pool of 500. But given all the unresolved issues – and the current plea deal negotiations – no one should be shocked if the trial gets postponed. Given the judge’s preference for not holding trial during the summer months – and/or during holiday periods – the next possible “start date” might be right after Labor Day.

 

Nxivm Document 436 Motion t… by on Scribd

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 19, 2019 at 12:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects at The Underground Bunker. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)

 

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