Twist in NXIVM cult case as ex-FBI agent claims child abuse evidence was planted to guarantee Keith… – The US Sun

A RETIRED special agent has shockingly claimed the public may lose trust in the FBI after he discovered what he believes is evidence tampering by the agency in the notorious NXIVM sex cult case.
NXIVM leader Keith Raniere, who was convicted of sex trafficking and a slew of other crimes related to a secret society where women were branded, claimed in court papers back in May the government had planted evidence on his computer equipment.
The government hit back at the time – calling the claims "frivolous".
In October 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking, racketeering, child pornography possession and other crimes after overwhelming evidence was presented.
More than a dozen victims gave gut-wrenching testimony about how he manipulated and sexually abused them.
“I still have dreams about you where I’m being punished by you for something trivial and I can’t speak up for fear of public shaming," said former NXIVM member turned whistleblower Sarah Edmondson in a video victim statement.
Prosecutors said Raniere created a secret sorority within NXIVM called DOS, where female “slaves” turned over nude photos and other compromising materials that could be used for blackmail if they tried to leave.
The disgraced self-help guru also starved and branded some of his victims "like cattle" with his initials.
Raniere operated alongside co-founder Nancy Salzman who plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy, saying she was "horrified and ashamed" of her involvement.
Now in an exclusive interview with The U.S. Sun, former FBI forensic computer examiner Dr Richard Kiper, who was hired by NXIVM's supporters to investigate the prosecution's evidence, revealed he believes evidence was tampered with as agents were under pressure to make sure they "got their man".
He says his findings go far beyond Raniere's claims of innocence – because they could destroy the public's trust in the FBI.
In the 42-page court filing, Kiper says he "discovered specific actions were taken to manually alter the evidence" in order to support the government's version of events against Raniere.
The main finding, Kiper alleged, was that pictures of a naked female were placed on the hard drive manually with "manipulated file creation dates" – to make it look like the photos were taken when the female was below the age of consent.
US attorney Kevin Trowel shot down the claims – stating that the victim in the pictures – Camila – appeared at Raniere’s sentencing and herself confirmed that “in September 2005, ‘when she was still fifteen, [Raniere] took naked pictures of [her]”
However, Kiper believes that regardless of other evidence against Raniere – who was jailed for 120 years for his crimes – there was a "concerted effort" by the FBI to tamper with evidence in order to get a conviction.
His findings include thumbnail files that should be identical on the camera card and its backup showing two different women – a blonde and a brunette, according to the court paper.
His other allegations included claims an unknown person accessed the camera card while it was in FBI custody – altering the file dates – and the same card was passed between officers in an unsealed container – against FBI procedure.
Kiper told The US Sun: "I would say this is historical, at least in the history that I know of the FBI, this type of tampering has never been done to my knowledge.
"The government wanted to create this connection. And I think that that drove a lot of what we saw now.
"I can't pinpoint the exact person or people but it seems to be that there was a concerted effort among several people.
"It's hard for me to believe that this is just one person going rogue for whatever reason.
"I know that in the FBI, there is a lot of motivation, a lot of incentive to get your man.
"I know that because we have incentive awards, we have on the spot of awards, special achievement awards, quality step increases, which is sort of like a promotion within a grade, which gets you more money…. so there are a lot of incentives…
"You put this [case] on your resume, you can write to it, and then you can get promoted up the line…
"I didn't know anything about Mr. Raniere or the organization but it seems to me looking back over some of the press that he received, none of it was positive.
"If we don't have due process for people that we don't like, then we don't have a system of justice."
"So this is a person that a lot of people did not like, but that does not excuse the FBI from taking proactive steps to manipulate evidence or use manipulated evidence and misrepresenting its reliability in order in order to achieve a conviction.
"If we don't have due process for people that we don't like, then we don't have a system of justice…
"People will lose their trust in the FBI."
Kiper worked as a forensic computer examiner, investigator and trainer at the FBI in a career spanning 20 years says he is shocked that his fellow officers may have been involved in such large-scale evidence tampering.
"In 20 years I've never witnessed a single instance of tampering or bending of the rules," he said.
"In any workspace in a large organization, there are what I would call unethical things that go on. Like when you pull up pictures of somebody… you might find things that are embarrassing. And then you have comments that are made that are unethical.
"But it's not manipulation of the evidence. It's not receiving or sending evidence that's unsealed when you have a broken chain of custody. I've never seen anything like this.
"The thing that really convinced me was the transplanted thumbnail images, when I saw that, I was like, 'I have never seen anything like this'.
"It's outrageous. And for a forensic examiner to go on the stand and present this in order to achieve a conviction. I mean, I struggle with how I feel about it, but I think probably outrage is the best word, because I know how these people are trained."
Kiper says he hopes that if his findings are proven in court the FBI will order a full investigation into the case and looks at its wider policies and prodecures.
"What I would expect would happen here is, 'Okay, who are the people that are involved? Which cases, which other cases were they involved in now that we have to take a look at those as well?
"I would hope that the FBI then would be a little introspective and start looking at their policies and procedures and tighten them up and really give their forensic examiners more training specific to this.
"We've been so conditioned, I believe by Hollywood and other entertainment to believe that whatever it takes to get the bad guy, that's what we need to do.
"You know, you have a bad guy, you know he's a bad guy, so we do whatever it takes, manipulate evidence, tamper with the jury, whatever it takes to get, to get a conviction. I hope the FBI can fix this."
He added: "I would love actually to be proven wrong. The FBI is the centerpiece of my resume, that's where I spent 20 years. And they've been caught doing very bad things lately…so I would love for someone to look at my findings and have an alternative explanation that's not nefarious.
"And for that reason, the defense team actually gave my findings to two other independent forensic examiners. And both of those examiners have agreed completely with my findings.
"We're looking at other folks as well to come on board and, and further verify the findings. But yeah, I would like nothing better than for someone to come up with a non-nefarious explanation for this, because I'd like to believe that the agency I gave 20 years to didn't do this."
"The I in and the FBI stands for integrity – it's fidelity, bravery, and integrity. And I would like that integrity to come back to the FBI so that the public can trust the FBI again."
Actress Nicki Clyne, a former NXIVM member and supporter of Raniere added: "This really isn't about Keith or NXIVM. This is about citizens and their freedom and what the government can do if there's enough prejudice and hate directed at a defendant, what they can get away with and bypass due process."
Raniere is currently appealing his conviction. Kiper's report was submitted as part of a request for a retrial back in May. The appeals process has to be completed before the motion for retrial can be ruled on.
In its response, the US attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York said: "Raniere’s assertion of government “malfeasance” is frivolous, and the government will address that assertion on the merits at such time as Raniere makes the motion in the appropriate forum, and the government is directed to respond to it."
The FBI did not respond to requests for comment.
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