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Under tough cross-examination, former Nxivm sex slave gains confidence

Cross-examination of former Nxivm slave Daniela began on Thursday afternoon and continued through Friday morning. Here’s Dianne Lipson’s eyewitness account.

The Thursday afternoon session began with more direct testimony from Daniela, speaking about her time in Mexico after getting away from the Nxivm organization.

Daniela spoke to her brother Adrian, nicknamed “Fluffy,” for the first time in seven years. Fluffy wanted her to tell him everything, and she did; Her relationship with Keith, going in the room, everything. Fluffy said, “It’s not that I don’t believe you, but do you have any proof?” So Dani forwarded to him some of her emails.

Dani tried to get her sister Cami to come to Mexico. She did succeed, although Nxians tried to convince her not to go, checking on her constantly. But Cami accused Dani of trying to control her, just like the environment she was leaving. Dani told Cami if she wanted to leave, Dani wouldn’t stop her. She would give her money to get where she wanted to go. Their father, Hector, came for a visit and asked Cami to find him a nice hotel. Cami went to the hotel, and subsequently she did not come home and Dani couldn’t reach her on the phone. Hector had taken Cami back. Later Cami came back to Mexico again. But Jack Levy, head of the Nxivm center in Guadalajara, offered Cami a very large salary to work for Rainbow Gardens in Mexico. Dani has been in touch with Cami since then. Whenever Dani brings up the subject of money, Cami talks around it. It looks like the promised large salary didn’t materialize, but Cami has friends, and she changed her look by cutting her hair. Daniela is planning for her to go to school.


Direct testimony was finished, and now Keith Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo began the cross-examination of Daniela.

Agnifilo asked Dani about a fake national ID that she procured for Cami to use in Mexico. Dani said it was her idea, and would enable Cami to travel by plane in Mexico. Agnifilo asked if Dani had told the government about this ID, and Dani said, yes, maybe.

Next, Agnifilo delved into the situation that led to Dani being in the room. Agnifilo said Dani had stolen many things from many people. He mentioned $6,000 that she had taken it and then gave it back. Did she steal anything form a store? Dani said she doesn’t remember. Did she steal money from people’s houses? Dani said, from her parents house, for food. Agnifilo asked did she steal from a Walmart. and Dani said “I don’t think so.” Did she steal from Marshall’s? No. Agnifilo showed a hand-written spreadsheet that Dani made while in the room. The spreadsheet showed a plan for Dani to work on her breach, and one of the amends was to pay back what she had stolen from stores such as Walmart and Marshalls. Dani did not remember this. Then why did you write this, Agnifilo asked. Dani explained that she didn’t remember this, and at the time everything was exaggerated and overblown. She was asked if she put these stores on the list even though she didn’t take anything. Dani said, “That may be.” Agnifilo brought up the money Dani stole from her father’s wallet before going to Mexico, but Dani said she gave that money back. Did she have a conversation with her father about her stealing things, and was he disappointed in her? Dani: Yes.

Agnifilo went back to Dani’s first 16-day intensive in Mexico. Why had she thought Lauren was bubbly and enthusiastic? Daniela said Lauren was cheerful, energetic, young and successful. Were there impressive people at the intensive. Dani: Yes. Regarding the math equation in the “Mission” module (class), was it mentioned that natural resources on earth were scarce, humans were taking a toll on the planet, and that we would run out of resources? Dani doesn’t remember this. Agnifilo asked what was Dani’s vision of the mission. Dani: This great man could help change the course of things.

Dani had said in direct that her first impression of Keith was that he was not normal. Dani clarified that she did not mean that in a bad way. She thought he was smart, special. Agniflo asked, “Was he soft spoken?” Dani, “Yes.” Did he have a sweet presence? Dani: Yes. Agnifilo reviewed how Mariana had been struggling in Mexico, had gotten into trouble, and was grounded. Daniela explained that grounded in her family meant that Mariana couldn’t go to parties. Agnifilo asked did Mariana do better when Pam befriended her, and after Marina moved into the house with Pam, Keith, and the other women? Daniela: I thought so, yes.

When Dani approached Keith to say she wasn’t satisfied with her work, was Keith attentive, asked Agnifilo. Dani said yes. Agnifilo asked what she thought her work would be like. Dani mentioned learning programming, and being able to contribute. Agnifilo: Did Keith ask you about your plans, your education, about math? Dani: Yes. Agnifilo asked, “Did you steal the $6,000 before or after this exchange with Keith?” Daniela didn’t remember exactly. Agnifilo asked why she told Keith about it. Daniela: I knew what I had done was wrong beyond giving it back. I couldn’t understand why I was capable of doing that. I saw Keith as a man who knew human nature better than I did. Agnifilo: What is the reason you told him you took it? Dani: I was struggling to understand the reason. Agnifilo: Keith didn’t yell, there was no harsh tone. Daniela agreed that Keith had been understanding.

Agnifilo asked if Dani remembered the “honor cup” at the cafe. People were on their honor to put money in the cup for what they purchased, if no cashier was there. Daniela did not remember it. (As I recall, Daniela had been accused of stealing from the honor cup, around the time she began being punished.)

Agnifilo spoke of when Dani and Mariana discovered they were both having sex with Keith, and how they went to a cafe to discuss “ground rules.” What did they want to accomplish by discussing ground rules? Daniela said she didn’t know, because they never got to it. (Keith entered the cafe unexpectedly, and left with Mariana before Dani and Mariana could have this conversation.) Agnifilo made much of the fact that they had planned to write “ground rules.” He repeated the phrase a few times in different questions.

Agnifilo asked about Mariana being treated better (than Dani or other women.) Daniela clarified that Dani was treated differently. For instance, Keith did sexual things to her in front of other people. But Daniela felt that Keith loved Mariana. He gave her preferential treatment, which was in contrast to his philosophy.

Agnifilo spoke of how smart Keith thought she was, she was one of the few people he could discuss certain concepts with, concepts that were difficult to grasp. Daniela said she understood that she might be taught. And maybe become head of the Ethical Science Foundation. (I believe Clare ended up as head of the Ethical Science Foundation, for which the sick ‘human fright experiments’ were conducted.)

The next subject was about Dani having her visa taken away in Atlanta, and having to wait one year before re-applying. Dani acknowledged that she didn’t want to wait that long, and she subsequently crossed the border illegally with Kathy Russell. Agnifilo asked, wasn’t the plan to meet both Kristin Keeffe and Kathy Russell in Canada? Danila: No. Agnifilo went over how the Border Control Agent was staring at her very bad fake Sheriff’s Department ID, how Dani was nervous, and she successfully distracted him by asking about the weather. Agnifilo: Because you wanted to enter the US, even with a fake ID card, you did not confess that you did not really work in the Sheriff’s department? The prosecution objected, and there was a sidebar. Subsequently Agnifilo asked if she knew where the ID came from. Dani: Not exactly. Agnifilo (paraphrase) “You didn’t say ‘that’s a false ID?’ No, you said what’s the weather ahead? And it works?” Annifilo asked was Kristin Keeffe in the car going across the border? Dani: No, it was just Kathy. Agnifilo: You were happy you got in? Dani: Yes.

(In direct, Dani recounted that at the house at Flintlock, Keith suggest that Dani and Mariana take a nap with him. But once upstairs, Keith tried to turn it into something sexual. Both sisters began to cry, and Keith stopped. Mariana was crying uncontrollably, and Keith left with Mariana for Hale Drive.) Agnifilo brought up the events of that night. Agnifilo: At Flintlock, Keith and Mariana went upstairs and you followed them? Dani: No. Agnifilo: They went to Hale because you were following them? Dani: No.

Agnifilo showed a couple of emails which seemed to suggest that Daniela had taken a year to do the book report for the complex book “Systems Theory.” He asked if Keith wanted Dani to read such complex books because he wanted Dani to know this material. Dani shrugged her shoulders, she didn’t know. Dani acknowledged that she sometimes had a hard time finishing the book reports.

Regarding the secrecy around Keith’s child, Agnifilo asked who thought Keith was celibate? Danilela: Everyone outside the inner circle.

They discussed the large sum of money that Nxivm first paid to hack into emails, and how Dani ended up doing the hacking. Agnifilo: You realized there could be a lot of money doing that [hacking]? Dani: No.

Agnifilo asked if Dani was reimbursed for expenses incurred in the hacking, but Dani did not remember. Agnifio showed an email where Kristin Keeffe told Dani that boxes of books had been sitting in Flintlock for four days, and why hadn’t Dani picked them up. There was also mention of a person code named ‘your friend’ in the email chain, but Daniela didn’t know who that referred to.

There were some questions about Kristin sending Dani a list of WiFi spots, in order to work on the hacking without being detected.

And that was the end of the afternoon’s testimony for Day 15.

Friday Morning session

Continuing with the cross-examination of Daniela by Agnifilo.

For the computer hacking, Daniela would sit in a car near the target and do it remotely. Agnifilo wanted to know if Fluffy was in the car. She didn’t remember. And it wasn’t clear why he was asking about that.

Daniela had forwarded keylogger info from Mariana’s computer to Keith. Agnifilo wanted to know if she’d sent it to anyone else? No.

Agnifilo started to ask about Ben Myers, the man Daniela had kissed, which was her “breach” against Keith that she spent years paying for. Ben Myers was at some point in a relationship with a woman named Megan. Did Daniela know about that? Were they in a relationship when Daniela started things with Ben? I don’t think so, she answered.

Part of Daniela’s punishment was to heal the problems for Ben and Megan, but when Agnifilo tried to get her to say she knew about it at the time she had her dalliance with him, she denied it.

(Dianne notes that Daniela seems much more confident during cross-examination this morning than yesterday afternoon.)

In addition to Keith being hurt by what happened to Ben, was Keith also angry because Ben had a relationship with Megan? No, Daniela replied.

Then why, in emails, did Daniela say she had dishonored Megan and Ben? Everything was overblown and exaggerated. I was influenced by being isolated, she said.

Keith wanted you to own what you did? No, I don’ think that’s what he wanted, she said.

You had to “restore honor to Ben and Megan?” Why did you say that? Agnifilo asked. “I didn’t want to be shunned anymore. I wanted to get my life back,” she said.

Is Agnifilo really trying to create the impression that Keith kept a woman in room for two years because she had messed up some other guy’s relationship? Seems weak.

Agnifilo also continually characterized Daniela as a thief.

You kept taking things that didn’t belong to you, he said. No, she replied.

They looked at the spreadsheet she had prepared, containing a list of people she had supposedly harmed, stores she had taken things from. If you didn’t take these things, why did you write this? he asked. I don’t know, she replied.

He kept circling back to this.

She managed to say there there was a snowballing of ethical breaches. I had been isolated a long time, I thought I was bad,” she said.

Why did you go in the room? I had to go go in there or lose everything.

What was your ethical breach? Actually, I have no clue.

As for her immigration status, did she make any effort to make your status legal? She didn’t remember.

Agnifilo turned to the messages and letters Daniela had written to Keith while was in the room, telling her of her admiration and love.

Q: Did you love him? A: No. Q: So are you telling him something that’s not true then? A: Yes.

Q: You said these positive things to Keith, did you feel these things? A: What I felt at the time was very complex.

Agnifilo starts to show her letters she wrote that show her in love. But she says she was angry and broken at that time, and she knew what she had to do to heal the breach.

Agnifilo You could have left. No, she says.

Q: Whose fault was it that you had no papers? A: She didn’t know who took them.

Q: Did you ask for you birth certificate back? A: I don’t remember. I just wanted to get out of the room.

Q: Did you tell him it’s not so bad in the room? A: I wanted to come out of the room but I also wanted to heal the breach.

Did you say this is the best thing that ever happened to you, so you could learn? Yes, she said.

You left the house many times, didn’t you? No, only a handful.

He waned to know if she met Ben while he was out of the room. No, she said.

Now some questions about Mexico.

She wrote Keith many messages from Mexico. Nice letters, saying positive things, about her plans and thoughts and feelings.

Agnifilo read the line, “I want to tell you everything I’ve done.” Did you mean that when you wrote it? No, she said.

“I feel like Hitler in a Ghandi suit,” she wrote. What did she mean? It was a product of her manipulation, she said. I was fresh off the boat and she felt horrible. That was the lasting effect of Keith.

What you’re telling the jury now isn’t what you wrote then.

Daniela seemed very effective at explaining her confusion at the time, and how she was a product of manipulation, Dianne says.

Why did you say all these things, like you loved him?

She still wanted to do the right thing, still didn’t have papers, “it seems absurd in light of the massive, tramautic abuse,” she said.

She believed that Keith still held access to her family. She felt trapped.

OK, Dianne is going back in for the afternoon session…


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 31, 2019 at 15:20

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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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