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NXIVM: Judge denies Keith Raniere’s attempt to suppress child porn images

[Judge Nicholas Garaufis and Keith Raniere]

Nxivm leader Keith Raniere may want to rethink this notion about going to trial next week. In another blow to his chances, Judge Nicholas Garaufis has denied his attempt to suppress explicit images of a 15-year-old girl that were found on one of his hard drives after a search of a townhouse in Halfmoon, New York last year.

Raniere had argued that that home was a private residence of his, and that he had an expectation of privacy because of it. And although the FBI had a warrant that allowed them to search the premises, the warrant limited the search to material that was related to crimes that occurred after January 1, 2015. The images of the girl were from 2005, and Raniere argued that the law enforcement agents should have ignored them.

After agreeing with Raniere’s point that his objection was made in a timely manner, he destroys Raniere’s argument by saying that Raniere is misreading the warrant, which allowed the agents to search for materials from before 2015 that were evidence of racketeering that happened after 2015…

Raniere contends that, before opening the Images, the FBI agents knew they were from 2005 and were outside the scope of the 8 Hale Warrant, “which was limited to a very specific time period, namely after 2015.” … Therefore, Raniere argues, the Government’s execution of the 8 Hale Warrant violated the Fourth Amendment…
Raniere is wrong because he misreads the 8 Hale Warrant. The warrant permitted the Government to review materials created before 2015, so long as the materials were evidence, finits, or instrumentalities of Subject Offenses involving Raniere that occurred in 2015 or later.

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Although the Images were created in 2005, they are within the scope of the 8 Hale Warrant because they are evidence of multiple Subject Offenses involving Raniere that occurred in 2015 or later. First, racketeering is a Subject Offense, and the Images are the basis for three predicate acts of an alleged racketeering pattern that lasted through March 2018. Second, the female in the Images allegedly became a DOS slave and the Images share similarities with the collateral provided by other DOS
slaves, so the Images may be relevant to Raniere’s motive, intent, or modus operandi in forming DOS. Thus, the Images are “evidence regarding the formation and structure of DOS,” which makes them evidence of Subject Offenses (sex trafficking, forced labor, and extortion) occurring in 2015 or later. Even if the Images were outside the scope of the 8 Hale Warrant — e.g.. they were not evidence, fruits, or instrumentalities of Subject Offenses involving Raniere that occurred in 2015 or later — the court would not suppress them because they fall within the plain view exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

The agents, in other words, knew exactly what they were seeing when they ran across it…

Once the agents opened the two Images, they recognized the depicted nude female as a DOS slave who they believed Raniere had sex with when she was fifteen. Given what the agents knew at the time they opened the Images, “a person of ‘reasonable caution’ would have believed [the Images] constituted evidence of a crime”—specifically, sexual exploitation of children in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a) and possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(b). Therefore, the Images fall within the plain view exception.

So, now some of the most damning evidence against Raniere has been greenlighted, just days from the start of the trial. Does he still go through with it?

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on May 3, 2019 at 15:50

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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