Although it’s often difficult for the attorneys who are representing multiple defendants in a criminal case to all agree on the best possible legal strategies to employ against the prosecution, it appears that’s not going to be a problem in the current proceedings against Keith Alan Raniere AKA The Vanguard NKA Federal Prisoner #57005-177, Nancy Salzman AKA Prefect, Clare Bronfman AKA Legatus, Lauren Salzman AKA The Pelican, Allison Mack AKA The Pimp, and Kathy Russell AKA The Ballerina.
That’s one of the advantages when just one of the defendants is paying all the defense attorneys – and, in this case, where all the defendants have to defer to their leader, The Vanguard.
In the case at hand, it’s becoming increasingly clear that all the defense attorneys are following the strategies that are being developed by Raniere – who, of course, has often claimed to be “the smartest man in the world”.
Raniere, who barely made it through college with a 2.26 GPA, has no legal training whatsoever. He has, however, spent tens of millions of dollars of other people’s money pursuing a variety of baseless and frivolous legal claims.
And he reportedly stayed at a Holiday Inn back in the day.
So, almost 8 months after first being incarcerated at the notorious Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY – and having lots of extra time to work on his impending criminal trial since he is unable to move around very much because his prison-issued eyeglasses don’t have his correct prescription and because the boo-boo on his toe still hasn’t healed – The Vanguard is hard at work on plans to disrupt the very capable prosecution team of AUSA Moira K. Penza and AUSA Tonya Hajjar.
Two recent filings provide some major clues as to some of the legal strategies that Vanguard has decided to pursue.
The first was in the motions to dismiss that were filed on behalf of Bronfman, Nancy, and Russell – and have already been reviewed in an earlier post.
The second was in the letter that was submitted “…on behalf of all Defendants…” by Alexandra A.E. Shapiro in which she warns the presiding judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis, that if he doesn’t grant all the recently-filed motions to dismiss all the charges against all the defendants, the defendants will be filing “…motions for severance and suppression”.
Let’s take a look at what those warnings are all about.
The threatened motion for suppression will undoubtedly involve the defense’s attempt to have some of the evidence against the defendants excluded from the trial for various reasons.
The typical reasons cited in a motion to suppress are as follows:
(1) The evidence was obtained illegally: The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from unlawful search and seizure of their property (i.e., without a valid warrant or without “probable cause”). In the case at hand, some/all of the defendants will likely challenge whether there was a proper legal basis for the search warrants that were issued for Nancy’s residence and Raniere’s sex lair – and/or whether those warrants were properly executed.
(2) The evidence is subject to attorney/client privilege: This argument has already been advanced by Raniere and Bronfman – and may eventually be advanced by the Mom-and-daughter Salzman defendants. At this point, it’s doubtful that Mack or Russell will try to invoke this claim – but you never know what kind of new legal theory The Vanguard may come up with for them
(3) The evidence has been handled improperly: In general, the prosecution has to ensure that there is a proper “chain of custody” for any evidence that has been seized. In the case at hand, it’s almost certain that Raniere will come up with some off-the-wall claims about how the prosecution has mishandled at least some of the evidence it’s gathered against him and his co-defendants. Since NXIVM has been known to tamper with evidence – and even fabricate evidence – in many of its legal proceedings, Raniere will likely assume that the feds are doing the same.
(4) The arresting officer failed to advise the defendant of her/his Miranda Rights.
It’s extremely doubtful that any of the defendants will have any valid basis to raise this objection. But since we’re dealing with Raniere and his acolytes, nothing can be ruled out.
RE: Motion To Sever Cases
The threatened motion for severance will, at a minimum, likely involve the defense trying to separate out the so-called “DOS Defendants” (Bronfman, Nancy, and Russell) from the so-called “Non-DOS Defendants” (Mack, Lauren, Raniere). But since Raniere is alleged to have been in control of every aspect of NXIVM and DOS, he will likely have to be included in both groupings.
The more interesting question is how the prosecution – and ultimately, of course, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis – will react to any such motion for severance.
While one might assume that the prosecution will vehemently oppose such a motion simply because it does not want to waste time doing two trials when one will suffice – and that the judge will be inclined to agree with the prosecution in the interest of judicial economy – there is always the possibility that they may go in the exact opposite direction.
What if in response to a motion for severance, the prosecution were to respond by asking for five separate trials: U.S. v. Raniere and Clare Bronfman; U.S. v. Raniere and Nancy Salzman; U.S. v. Raniere and Lauren Salzman; U.S. v. Raniere and Allison Mack; and U.S. v. Raniere and Kathy Russell?
Although there’s little chance that will happen, think how unlikely it would be for Raniere to go 5-0 in his trials.
It’s funny that the smartest man in the world knew so little about basic probability that his “strategies” when playing blackjack meant that he rarely had a winning session when he made his frequent visits to casinos. The thin gs is – he really hasn’t changed very much since then.
Be careful what you wish for, Vanguard.
Viva Executive Success!