AG Garland Awards Prosecutors and FBI Agents Accused of Evidence Tampering in Raniere Case for “Distinguished Service”
On July 12, 2022, in an annual DOJ awards ceremony, Attorney General Merrick Garland awarded members of the Eastern District of New York prosecution team for their handling of the case of United States v. Keith Raniere.
It is not known if AG Garland or the DOJ staff responsible for the ceremony knew that members of Mr. Raniere’s prosecution team stand accused of criminal conduct.
A motion for a new trial, filed by Mr. Raniere’s attorney in May, alleges that some of Mr. Raniere’s prosecution team engaged in digital evidence tampering and perjury and called it “historical government criminal activity.”
The motion was based on the computer forensic reports of Dr. James Richard Kiper, Ph.D., an FBI Special Agent of 20 years who retired in 2019, and two other forensics experts.
In a motion to the appellate court, representative of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant US Attorney Kevin Trowel called this evidence implicating his colleagues “frivolous.”
Here is some of the media that reported on Mr. Raniere’s FBI tampering motion:
The Eastern District of New York Press Release provides a complete list of those who received awards:
“Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tanya Hajjar, Kevin Trowel, former Acting U.S. Attorney Mark J. Lesko, and Paralegal Specialist Teri Carby of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, together with the investigative team – FBI Supervisory Special Agents Anthony Bivona and Christopher Donohue; FBI Special Agents Delise Jeffrey, Michael W. Lever, Maegan O. Rees, and Michael J. Weniger; FBI Victim Specialist Laura B. Riso; Task Force Officer Charles B. Fontanelli; and Special Agents Megan Buckley and Christopher T. Munster, Homeland Security Investigations.”
The Honorable Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis has deferred making a ruling on the FBI tampering motion until the Second Circuit makes a decision on Mr. Raniere’s pending appeal.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 37b, this indicates the judge does not believe that the evidence of government criminal conduct in his court “raises a substantial issue.”