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NXIVM: Keith Raniere poses no threat, his lawyer says, so witnesses should be named fully

[Glenn Marcus and Keith Raniere]

Nxivm leader Keith Raniere, through his attorney Marc Agnifilo, struck back at a motion in limine by prosecutors that sought to set some last-minute ground rules for Raniere’s trial, which is scheduled to begin on May 7.

Raniere does not want witnesses to go by first names only or by nicknames, as the government had proposed to allay fears by witnesses of media hounding or retaliation by Raniere.

“First, allowing this highly unusual and dubious practice would violate Mr. Raniere’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation and would moreover unfairly signal to the jury that, in the Court’s view, the witness is a victim of a sex crime who is in danger,” Agnifilo’s response reads.

Not only is it important to give the impression that Raniere is harmless, it’s also true in fact, he goes on to say.

There has been NO evidence in this case whatsoever that Keith Raniere has posed a danger to any witness. In March 2018, he was arrested and put in prison. He has served over thirteen months as a model prisoner and citizen. He has done nothing untoward to anyone and he does not deserve the draconian and constitutionally-dubious remedy of having witnesses against him in a case where a life sentence is a real possibility to testify under false or partial identities.


(As for the press hounding witnesses, they’re all a bunch of media whores who have already run to the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and elsewhere, Agnifilo argues.)

To make his point that Raniere poses no danger to witnesses, Agnifilo compares his client favorably to a much worse sex fiend.

We’re serious, just bear with us.

Prosecutors had cited a case involving an S&M freak named Glenn Marcus. In that trial witnesses had been given nicknames to protect them from Marcus. But Agnifilo points out that Marcus had forced his victim to “wear butt plugs and nipple clamps for long periods of time,” and carved the word “slave” on her stomach with a knife.

By comparison, Nxivm starving women and branding them on their pubic regions was harmless, consensual playtime — or at least that seems to be the point Agnifilo is making here.

In the Marcus case, Agnifilo says, the government was concerned that the defendant was still actively “looking to locate a witness against him by offering something of value to anyone to the BDSM community, a community that included the witness. The same concern simply does not exist here.”

Hang on, wasn’t it Agnifilo himself who just a few weeks ago was arguing that the jury members should not be anonymous so Raniere could investigate them?

But that’s OK, because Raniere isn’t looking for retaliation, that’s just not going to happen…

The acts Mr. Raniere is accused of pale in comparison. The government’s indictment does not allege violent acts such as those detailed within Marcus and, in fact, the evidence the government has thus far set forth indicates that Mr. Raniere knew the phone numbers, email addresses and location of the DOS members and did not retaliate against them. Indeed, the worst the government will be able to say he did was send cease and desist letters to a select number of DOS members.

This, of course, is part of Agnifilo’s defense that DOS and Nxivm were merely consenting adults agreeing to a slightly unusual lifestyle. And just ignore the fact that Raniere, with Clare Bronfman’s money, spent 14 years trying to destroy Rick Ross and several others through harassment and in the courts for daring to speak up about him.

What a misunderstood genius Vanguard is.

Another interesting thing Agnifilo revealed in this document was that he doesn’t plan to put on any witnesses for the defense. Raniere’s entire attempt to stay out of prison will rely on the cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses. And Raniere himself won’t testify (which is usually wise in criminal cases).

What do you think? Will Agnifilo’s tough questioning of the prosecution’s witnesses be enough to put a reasonable doubt into the minds of the jury members?

And will having to be fully identified scare off some of the prosecution’s witnesses?

More interesting decisions for Judge Nicholas Garaufis to make before next week’s opening statements.

Here’s the document…

Nxivm Doc 595: Response to Motion in Limine by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 29, 2019 at 12:00

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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 (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


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