Richard: Raniere who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius was, in fact, a massive manipulator, a con man and the crime boss of a cult-like organization.
Male: That’s U.S. attorney, Richard Donoghue and with great speed, we think, just five hours of deliberation, a jury down in Brooklyn, convicting Keith Raniere of NXIVM on all counts. All 70. Could spend life in prison. We are joined by legal analyst from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, Cassandra Kazukenus. Cassandra, how are you?
Cassandra: Good. How are you guys this morning?
Male: Good. So we were not the least bit surprised with the guilty verdicts, were you?
Cassandra: No, I think it’s been so publicized in this area that I don’t think anyone really had any question about it.
Male: What about the speed? I mean we thought that, maybe given like some of the racketeering stuff, some of that stuff was a little bit technical in nature. The fact that they came back so quickly, I think five hours, surprised me. How about you?
Cassandra: It does, but you know, they’ve been sitting there for seven weeks thinking about this guy and you know, honestly nobody seems to like him. And sometimes that actually plays a part in how quick something gets done.
Female: Yeah. But whether you like somebody or you don’t like somebody, that doesn’t really have an impact sometimes on what the actual charges are. You could like somebody an awful lot but still believe that they did what they did or not like someone an awful lot and say, you know, the case just isn’t there. They didn’t present much of a defense other than try to say, you know, [inaudible 00:01:18] in the prosecution and say, “Oh yeah, there was one woman who went rogue and it was all her fault.” So they really didn’t have an effective defense.
Cassandra: No. It seemed like the focus also was on…for the sex trafficking component, whether it was a commercial sex act. Instead, they’re saying it’s voluntary or consensual.
Male: Now, they will of course appeal. I know everybody expects that. I don’t know how closely you’ve been following everything there, on what basis do you think they would appeal? I know Kelly and I were speculating earlier, there was one instance when they had a one of the cooperating witnesses, Lauren Saltzman, on the stand and the questioning got very rough to the point where the judge just shut it down before the defense might’ve been through with the cross-examination. Did you think that that thing with the judge shutting that aspect down, that witness down, might be grounds for appeal?
Cassandra; It doesn’t really seem like it. You know, there was still extensive questioning before that. Questioning can be shut down if the point has been made. You can’t badger and berate somebody to get them to change their testimony. And I think that their points had already been made.
Female: The one thing they hadn’t gotten to during that cross-examination was that she was testifying as part of a cooperation agreement, which could have shed different light on her testimony, they hadn’t gotten into that. But at the same time, they could have had the opportunity the next day when they came back to court to reopen that. They didn’t make that request to continue her cross.
Cassandra: Exactly. And it’s also usually typically a part of the jury charges as well.
Male: So what do you think will happen to the other five witnesses here? Do they all have deals or will any of them, Lauren Salzman specifically who was a cooperating witness I guess. Do you think they will be going away doing jail time as well?
Cassandra: Yeah, I think that’s a very real potential for them. I suspect what the deal is going to be is either the length of time, the location of the jail sentence, something like that. But I don’t think they’re gonna walk away scot-free.
Male: Were you surprised, we were not, that Raniere didn’t take the stand himself?
Cassandra: No, I wasn’t surprised at all.
Male: What do you hazard when you bring a guy out there? I mean, could you make the case this guy is charismatic, maybe he could bring the jury under his spell.
Cassandra: You could, but the risk is so great in that scenario. I don’t think the reward outweighs the risks, I guess
Female: The other plan for the appeal I had read was that he wanted to cite ineffective counsel. How often is that really effective?
Cassandra: It’s not usually very effective, especially in a situation where they had seven weeks of trial there. They’ve done vigorous cross-examination. They aren’t going to do appeals. It doesn’t have a basis. That’s my opinion anyway.
Male: Yeah. And so I mean he could get life in prison I guess when you add everything up. Do you think he’ll ever see freedom?
Cassandra: I don’t. I don’t. I think that with the sex trafficking, the minimum is…he’s 58 years old right now. [inaudible 00:03:57] the minimum is another 15.
Female: There’s also a possibility that there could be other charges brought in other parts, other jurisdictions because there were crimes that took place in Mexico and in upstate New York, outside of the eastern district. So, is this something you think they would possibly pursue or do you think we’re just done now?
Cassandra: I think it would depend on the sentencing, but why use the resources of other jurisdiction…not double down on it, but essentially ensure the thing…that a person is not going to…doesn’t see the light of day.
Male: Yeah, and especially if they don’t feel there’s a good chance to win on appeal. Yeah. Why? If he’s going to be locked up forever, what’s the point? I get you on that. Hey, from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, Cassandra Kazukenus. Cassandra, thanks so much.
Cassandra: No problem. Thank you.
Male: Have a great day.