New BOMBSHELL Evidence
Independent Expert states alleged child porn was planted after seized by FBI, findings corroborated
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/25/20
Marc Elliot, Make Justice Blind
Phone: (718) 225-5244 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @BlindfoldHer
NEW YORK, NY: New evidence has emerged at the eleventh hour in an independent report, just 2 days before Keith Raniere’s sentencing, in which experts conclude that evidence of alleged child pornography was “tampered with,” “grossly mishandled,” and “not found on the hard drive as presented [in the trial].” The prosecution used 22 nude photos of Camila to convict Mr. Raniere, arguing that she was allegedly underage at the time the photos were taken.
The new evidence brings the entirety of these allegations into question. After reading the report, Cernovich tweeted, “NXIVM is an unpopular cause to be sure, however there are some serious and credible allegations involving tampering here.”
The report’s primary author, Dr. Keshava Munegowda (a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering) states, “At least 94 of the 168 pictures [in the folder with the contraband pictures] were manually altered. It is my opinion that these alterations were done to make it seem that the dates of the pictures on the hard drive were authentic. This is tampering.” His report was corroborated by digital forensics experts, including one of the foremost digital forensic expert witnesses in the nation, attorney Steven Abrams of Abrams CyberLaw & Forensics, who stated in a summary opinion, “the digital photo evidence, based on the materials I reviewed, was tampered with and should have been excluded as unreliable, and should not have been used to support any charges.”
Breaking his silence after 2.5 years, Raniere brought the importance of due process into focus with his case on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt in an interview with his longtime opponent, Frank Parlato. Raniere said, “there is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined…Both the devil and a saint should be able to get the exact same treatment under our justice system.” The report’s findings suggest this is not the case with the Raniere trial.
The FBI’s expert witness, Examiner Brian Booth, admitted under cross-examination at the trial, that at least one of Raniere’s devices was mysteriously accessed by an unknown person while in FBI custody. Before the devices that contained the photos of the allegedly underage Camila were sent to the FBI lab for analysis, the dates of at least 94 photos were manually altered, in addition to one very troubling change that included Photoshop. These manipulations are critical since the evidence the prosecution used to establish the age of Camila was based on photos dates, as well as the lack of a scar she got from an operation she had when she was 16.
In a shocking display of, at best gross negligence and at worst tampering of evidence, the FBI’s own witness, Examiner Booth, also testified that the chain of custody for Raniere’s devices was violated repeatedly. For instance, the media card arrived at the forensic lab in an unsealed bag 11 months after being seized without a properly recorded evidence log, violating all rules of proper handling of electronic evidence.
Supporters of Raniere called in specialized technical and digital forensics experts to investigate the tampering. Dr. Munegowda states in his report: “It is my opinion that the government, or someone in concert with the government likely tampered with the hard drive and [media] card extensively and deliberately.”
Dr. Munegowda’s analysis suggests a deliberate and concerted effort to tamper with evidence, and exposes a clumsy attempt to cover up the changes in the files. For example, one photo that was edited in Photoshop had an impossible file time that attempted to make it appear as though the photo came from Raniere’s camera unaltered. There were also dozens of manually edited times that attempted to account for Daylight Savings Time, but the tamperer got the time calculations wrong.
The devices containing images of “child pornography” were the most critical evidence in convicting Raniere. Extensive testimony by the prosecution was given to establish the dates of the photographs to prove that the now 30-year old Camila was underage when they were taken.
Supportive friends of Raniere submitted their independent report to Judge Nicholas Garaufis on Friday.
“We wanted to bring this information to the judge so he is aware of these findings,” says Marc Elliot, co-founder of the due process advocacy group Make Justice Blind. “We are asking his Honor to look at these new and important findings and adjourn the sentencing until this shocking and explosive, corroborated report of tampering on key evidence is fully reviewed.”
In requesting an adjournment, the Make Justice Blind group hopes it will allow for proper review of the corroborated findings of the independent report, as well as irregularities of the break in the secure chain of custody while the devices were in the FBI’s possession.
This new evidence was presented to Judge Garaufis on Friday by Make Justice Blind. “While we are deeply troubled by the overwhelming evidence of tampering with electronic devices that was used to convict Mr. Raniere, this by no means is to be misconstrued for our support or endorsement in any way of child pornography,” Elliot says. “The facts are the facts, the evidence was clearly tampered with. But let it be known that Make Justice Blind would still stand by any person’s right to a fair trial, no matter how heinous of a crime they committed, whether they are accused of tax fraud, rape, child pornography, or even murder. If you don’t stand for them, then who will stand for you? Due process still must be followed in all cases for all charges, and we must provide a watchdog element to prosecutors and law enforcement in our country.”
A summary opinion of the report by attorney and digital forensics expert Steven Abrams here.
Cover letter submitted to the Judge here .
Summary of report here.
Full technical report by Dr. Munegowda and supporting corroborations here.