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#THREAD: Details from yesterday's closing arguments in the federal trial against #NXIVM leader Keith Raniere. The day began around 9:30 with AUSA Moira Penza giving the prosecution's arguments. news10.com/news/local-new…
She began by describing many known NXIVM locations in Clifton Park. Penza says 127 Grenadier Court was Allison Mack's condo where the branding of women took place with their "arms above head like a sacrifice."
2 Flintlock where she says Raniere took sexually explicit photos including those of a 15 year old. 120 Victory Way, where she says DOS witness Nicole was tied to a table, blindfolded, not knowing she was being videotaped.
And the home where Daniela was kept in a room on the verge of suicide. "For the defendant's victims, this was all too real." Penza says through the testimony over the last 6 weeks, the jury has had a look behind the door.
She says they are able to see Raniere for what he is: a conman, a predator, and a crime boss. She says his crimes span 15 years, and his inner circle committed crimes with him and for him. She says Sylvie, Nicole, and Jay (all DOS witnesses) were groomed to be sex slaves.
She says hundreds of thousands of dollars were kept at Nancy Salzman's house, and that the jury has heard Raniere in his own words giving instructions to his inner circle. Now Penza begins to go through all the charges, explaining racketeering to the jury.
She also has a chart showing Raniere in the middle of a circle of his closest followers. She says when people commit crimes as a group they are more dangerous. She says it was all for sex, money, and power. She says he had a never ending flow of money and women.
"Alone he would have been just a man." Penza says Raniere was king of his universe headquartered in Clifton Park. She says Raniere destroyed his victims sense of self and ability to trust. Says he did this through humiliation and isolation.
Penza says Raniere turned his victims into victimizers, and that there was an importance of secrecy. Says this helps keep an enterprise strong and protect it. She again goes through the elements of racketeering, she also goes through the acts within the racketeering charge.
Penza explains the way in which she'l talk about the evidence and how it pertains to the charges. "A lot of the proof will overlap." She begins with the evidence stemming from Daniela's testimony. Reminds jurors that Daniela came from a tight knit happy family.
Says her parents introduced her to NXIVM and that she received an intensive as a gift. Penza says Daniela went into the program hoping to change the world. Once Daniela moved to Albany, Penza says Raniere began to groom her.
She says everything went downhill for Daniela after she stole some money, says she felt Raniere was the only one on her side, but later came to believe he set the whole thing up. She says Raniere was gas lighting her.
Penza explains that the jury needs to prove 2 acts within the RICO charge to prove the charge. Says how Daniela crossed into the country illegally proves the first act. Says act 8 is proven by Raniere putting Daniela in a room for nearly 2 years.
Penza says act 6 is proven through Mark Vicente's testimony about altering tapes provided in a previous federal court case. This brings us to the first short break that ran from about 11:15 to 11:45.
Back from the break, Penza dives into racketeering act 11, which is conspiracy to commit identity theft. Says this is proven by the hundreds of thousands of dollars spend from accounts belonging to Pam Cafritz after her death. news10.com/news/local-new…
Now, Penza moves onto acts 2-4. Acts 2 and 3 are sexual exploitation of a child, act 4 is possession of the actual photos. She says this all goes back to Raniere talking about the age of consent when he questions if someone is a child vs. being adult-like.
During this, the front row of jurors were visibly uncomfortable. Penza now goes through the files Raniere had on his computer of explicit photos. Says there were nearly a dozen folders, each for a different woman.
Penza says this was not about making anyone's life better, and says Daniela and Camilla did not sign up for this. She says Raniere counted on other women to bring others into NXIVM. Says it was a "collateralized vow of obedience."
Penza says DOS was not a sisterhood. Says that women recruit other women was important to build trust. She says this was all for the benefit and satisfaction of Raniere, so he would have women to have sex with him and do work for him.
Again, she says all of this was for Raniere to get what he wanted--sex, power, and control. Says Raniere even talked about gaining political influence and changing the vote. She says if his word was rule, he could get his followers to vote for whoever he wanted.
Says Lauren Salzman testified to the structure of DOS with Raniere ads the Grandmaster. References an entire spreadsheet of DOS enrollment showing this structure. She says there was a misrepresentation of the group when enrolling.
She says the photo Raniere had were his trophies. She says he used wire fraud to conceal the true nature of DOS. Says these women wanted good in the world and had the best of intentions. This is where court breaks for lunch.
After lunch, Penza begins by talking about force, fraud and coercion all at the hands of Raniere. says the branding was a "humiliating act of ownership." Says the sleep deprivation and limited caloric intake made women more easily coerced. news10.com/news/local-new…
Now, Penza talks about the sex trafficking aspect of the case. Says Mack's assignment to get sexually explicit photos of other salves was quid pro quo. Moves onto attempted sex trafficking charge. Says this had to do with another photo.
Penza wraps up after about 4 hours of closing arguments. Says there was no sign that Raniere or his inner circle had any intent on stopping. Say through evidence "a light has been shown into the darkness."
Keith Raniere's defense attorney Marc Agnifilo begins his closing arguments around 2:45. Begins by saying Raniere is not charged with having sex with Camila. Says this case is not about an entire enterprise, but about Raniere alone.
Agnifilo says an enterprise has a "common purpose." Says NXIVM was a business, DOS was a social group and that they had nothing in common. He starts with the first RICO charge act which is identity theft. Says Daniela never said Raniere got her the ID to get into the country.
He alleges Daniela made the ID for herself, because she did the same for her sister. He says Kristen Keefe was finding a way for Daniela to get across the border. Moves onto act 5, conspiracy to commit identity theft.
Says this connects to the email hacking Daniela testified to. Says this was all on the part of Daniela and Keefe. Says there's nothing connecting Raniere to the hacking, and that he was not involved.
Act 6 relates to the altering of videotapes, says Vicente's testimony could not confirm the tapes he altered were the same ones turned over the the court. Says there's also no evidence Raniere had anything to do with key logging (act 7).
Act 8--Agnifilo says Raniere is not charged with keeping Daniela in the room, says there's no evidence she was in the room to do work. Says she made the adult decision to come into the country illegally. Says the jury shouldn't trust her testimony.
Agnifilo says Daniela is "playing a game" calls her "slick." Act 11, ID theft. Says Pam Cafritz was known to finance his lifestyle, nothing changed after she died. Says it wasn't a scheme and that Raniere signed checks as himself. Says there's no evidence it wasn't authorized.
Agnifilo says this case is about the intentions of Raniere, not about how others think or feel. Says concepts like readiness drills were used to deal with real life experiences--like kidnapping in Mexico.
Next, Agnifilo spoke about creation of DOS. Says it's clear Raniere created it, but that the concepts are deep level. Says he doesn't know the structure. "I don't know if DOS has a CEO." Says Raniere can be heard in tapes asking DOS members what they wanted out of it.
Agnifilo now talking about Lauren Salzman's testimony. Says she stated "he's the most important person to me." Says he believes her testimony was a break-up with Raniere played out in court.
He says everyone who took the stand has had a "tremendous" change of perspective. Says this was all about people making choices. This is where Agnifilo goes to get the "inner circle" poster presented by the prosecution.
He starts pointing out everyone in the circle aho had sex with Raniere pre-DOS. Says he didn't need DOS to have several intimate partners. Points out Raniere did not have sex with any of Lauren Salzman's DOS slaves.
Says sex with Raniere was not necessary to move up within NXIVM. Points to Sarah Edmonson (the first to go public about the branding) saying she led the Vancouver center. Says its possible Mack's slaves were doing something none of the other groups were doing.
This is where I left court of the day (about 4:45) to present my #live report. Agnifilo estimated he had 30-45min left this morning. Then about an hour of rebuttal from prosecution. news10.com/news/local-new…
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