Osho’s Alford Plea

SN had some enquiries about Osho’s Alford Plea in1985 to immigration offences:

This was his own description:

“The US government blackmailed my attorneys. Ordinarily it never happens that the government takes the initiative in negotiating, but just before my trial they called my attorneys for negotiations and hinted in many ways… they made it clear that “We don’t have any evidence, any proof: we know it and you know it – that if you go ahead with the case you will win. But we have to make it clear that the government will not like to be defeated  by a single individual: we will not allow an individual to win the case.  And the case can be prolonged for 20 years, and Osho will remain in jail.(all that time).   And there is always a risk (in such circumstances) to Osho’s life – that you should understand clearly.

Niren (Osho’s sannyasin lawyer) was crying when the attorneys came out of the meeting.


Niren with Osho before Court Appearance

He said, “We can’t do anything, we are helpless, we feel ashamed to ask you to say you are guilty. You are not guilty and we are asking you to say you are, because from what the government is saying they are making it clear that your life will be at risk if you plead “not guilty”.


I was ready to remain, to die in jail – there was no problem – but when they started saying “Think about your people” then I thought that this saying I was guilty or not,  was not a point to take so seriously.”

(Osho was initially accused of 34 immigration offences, but only two were proffered in the end for the Alford plea. )

He was asked to plead guilty to one,  that he had arranged for a foreigner to marry an American citizen, and secondly, that he had arrived in America with ‘intent” to stay, and not just as a long-term visitor.

It is interesting to hear Osho’s response when the officiating Judge , Judge Levy,  asked Osho “Do you plead guilty or not” – Osho simply answered “I am” !  This happened twice, until Osho’s lawyer intervened and added guilty!

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17 Responses to Osho’s Alford Plea

  1. madhu dagmar frantzen says:

    How timely, ´SN´, whosoever is in that team: “SN had some enquiries”.

    To post this thread in the moment the US one (FBI, for the rest) of Secret Services of Investigation is in the worldwide press media on front pages with a scandal about how they made up for decades wrong accusations, not rarely with wrong and made up ´testimonies´ of proof.

    Lethal – quite often for those who have been or are targeted this way.

    How timely, friends, and how untimely though too.
    We will see what lawyers and managers of this and that will do out of it.

    Reconciliation though, worth its name, will have to go other ways. That´s at least my comment as a Meditator.
    Reconciliation is not cheap to gain in the human Heart. It sometimes takes generations to come close to it; like after Holocaust businesses and some reinventions of the latter and that with full support of so-called ´majorities´.


  2. prem martyn says:

    Osho – fearless and free whilst facing the forces of law and even greater disaster and disorder than the ill-appointed Sheela herself.

    What fun!


    That cannot be taken away from Osho…howsoever one examines his contribution, it never falls flat or descends into reluctant avoidance. ASAM – I AM.
    Comes out shining every time.

    Reminds me of the beauty and elegance of animals who have been subjected to cruelty and, once loved again, may progressively regain their joy and faith and wholeness in life.

    Osho reflected that in the human domain. Vast, unbridled, willing. With two fingers ready…as a victory sign of course.

    (Is it ok to fuck up? Sure, it’s great :) ).

  3. sannyasnews says:

    For those who may not know what an Alford Plea is:

    Alford pleas of guilty are among some of the most paradoxical in the American legal system:
    Someone admits there is clear evidence of guilt that will convict them, but are allowed to say they are innocent…

    We see that The U.S. Attorneys’ Manual states that in the federal system, Alford pleas “should be avoided except in the most unusual circumstances, even if no plea agreement is involved and the plea would cover all pending charges.” U.S. Attorneys are required to obtain the approval of the Assistant Attorney-General with supervisory responsibility over the subject matter before accepting such a plea.

    Interesting that in Osho’s case the prosecution actually sought this, so it must have come from the Assistant Attorney-General level.

    SN can only think the US authorities wanted this rather than have Osho in jail for 20 years causing all sorts of difficult publicity? Or do others have other answers?

  4. shantam prem says:

    Parmartha, before you talk about the plea bargain of USA justice system, you and other participants of that time need to contemplate and answer:
    “At the end part of 20th century, someone – and that too a foreigner – drives around surrounded by an armed militia and that too in USA. Whose idea was this? ”

    It is childish and unjust and foolish to blame everything on one woman. You all are equally responsible. Most probably you all thought, “Existence will shower flowers.”

    Miracles do happen but not when justice system of the most powerful and democratic country is tampered.

    America has not shown leniency to its presidents too. More or less, rule of the law prevails.

    • Parmartha says:

      Shantam, you say:
      “It is childish and unjust and foolish to blame everything on one woman. You all are equally responsible. Most probably you all thought, “Existence will shower flowers.”

      The conspiracy that involved crimes amounted to about 18 people if you examine the records of the court proceedings, led by Sheela and Puja. But the work involved in reading this, Shantam, you never have had the appetite for, or work in general as far as I can see.

      And actually, Sheela left the Ranch at the same time as 17 other people.

      The Ranch was a dictatorship, and as history has proven in the history of dictatorships, it is relatively easy to keep secrets from the rest of us.

      I lived as a commune member for those years. Whether you believe it or not those whose interest was Osho and spiritual growth knew nothing.

      Maybe some other commune member from that time, if they felt they knew something, should tell their story here, and that might throw, or not throw, some light on your case. I don’t see how those of us who genuinely knew nothing can be jointly accused of these crimes. Believe it or not, many ordinary Germans did not know of the concentration camps. Were they also guilty of genocide?

      In fact, there were many more non-Nazi Germans than most writers about the second world war acknowledge, including some who went to their deaths because they opposed fascism.

    • Parmartha says:

      Shantam says:
      “At the end part of the 20th century, someone – and that too a foreigner – drives around surrounded by an armed militia and that too in USA. Whose idea was this? ”

      Actually, American culture and laws encouraged and still encourage the bearing of arms. Had, for example, Osho settled in almost any European country the arms involved would have had to be gotten illegally.

      Do a thought experiment, and imagine Osho in your beloved’s Germany at that time, or any time since. If the conspirators had wanted to arm themselves then, it would have been very difficult, and certainly would never have been on public show.

      Having studied the records since, they seemed a sort of bunch who were moved very quickly to do things, and enthusiastically if things fell easily into place, but were fickle in changing their plans if they were not. I suspect they would not have armed themselves in Europe.

    • Lokesh says:

      “Rule of law prevails”, says El Chudo, from his remote mountaintop hideout, where he has been watching reruns of his dreams for eternity.

      What prevails in America is the law of the dollar. “Most democratic country” my arse. Sounds like the chud brain is planning to score some endorsments to why he should get a Yankee green card. The USA brought democracy to Iraq. Ask any Iraqi what they think of that democracy and they will more than likely tell you it was the worst thing that ever happened to their country. You could try and ask the same question in Libya or Afghanisthan, but chances are you would get your head blown off in the process.

      El Chudo, so dubbed because he is completely full of shit. I mean to say, “America has not shown leniency to its presidents too.” If the chud-buster could get his nose out of daytime TV he might check out the fact that America recently had a president called George W. Bush who, along with his corporate cronies, began a protracted war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan that has cost over a million lives and made them super-rich in the process. Law prevails…sure, son – the law of the helicopter gunship.

      Mrs Clinton is running as a democratic candidate, meanwhile worried about the ramifications that will be caused by a soon-to-be-published book, which does an in-depth study of how her and hubby, Billy, of “I did not inhale” fame, made tens of millions when they were hanging out in the Oval Office.

      Change channels, Chudo, check out House of Cards, it’s closer to reality than it is to fiction, which is more than I can say of you.

      • shantam prem says:

        Saint Loki,
        Give me a 100 dollars bill and I can write a more up-to-date anti-America rhetoric.

        By living in the West, I can find out who is too smart an ass to be a disciple.

        • Lokesh says:

          Chudo, I would not pay one dollar to hear your up-to-date anti-America rhetoric. Nor, for that matter, would I pay anything for anything you write. I already pay a high enough price by paying a few moments attention to the nonsense you write.

  5. samarpan says:

    SN: “Interesting that in Osho’s case the prosecution actually sought this, so it must have come from the Assistant Attorney-General level.”

    Max Brecher asked A-G Turner if he had any evidence of wrongdoing and challenged Turner that an Alford plea agreement constitutes evidence.

    ” “To prove your plea agreement by the plea agreement itself is basic sophistry,” I said. “It is begging the question. Is there any other proof for your contentions besides that agreement?” Turner said the signed plea agreement was the proof of his entire case. In other words, despite what he crowed about in public at the time, the proof was not in the pudding, but in putting it to those he wanted to ride out of Dodge. Trial by ordeal, not evidence. First bleed, then plead. Winning ugly.

    As for the plea itself, it was a legal duckbill platypus. It was neither a plea of guilt nor a nolo contendre. It was an Alford plea. The defendant maintained his innocence, but declared that the government had sufficient evidence to convict him if there was a trial. Brian O’Neill stated the matter before Judge Leavy, who, like him, was Irish-American and a graduate of Notre Dame.

    “Specifically, the defendant accepts and acknowledges and agrees that that evidence which the prosecution has just recited is evidence which they would be able to produce at trial and would be sufficient to convict. At the same time, the defendant asserts his innocence of those charges and the reason – and wants to express to this Court his concern for entering this plea, and they are these: As a concern for the possible danger or possible harassment which might attend to himself and/or his followers were he to remain have prompted him to enter into this plea.”

    Max Brecher (2012), ‘A Passage to America’, p.374.

    • sannyasnews says:

      Thanks, Samarpan, for researching this quote from Max Brecher’s book.

    • Prem Martyn says:

      It’s a good vindication there, Samarpan, of the emotive agenda of those State representatives.

      Damning the process and purpose of the State is effective as a critique of inherent, endemic, cerebral fascism which fully strips the human out of human-ity.

      However, unless the outcome of contesting the State remains allied to not only truth but its ability to serve and express the range of love and interactive, intentional, human experience and vice-versa,through empowerment, only then are we likely to satisfy ourselves with a personal deepening awareness and a search for its sponsorship in personal not mass forms without much needed ‘temporary autonomous zones’, or egalitarian, mutual communities – which remains a latent desire in many, young and old, willing, individuals.

      In its remit I contend that the method of the commune, using obeisance and hierarchy, survived by a combination of deference and without rudimentary user-friendly comprehension, or the fullest independent autonomy.

      There was never, therefore, any commune at all anywhere in the Osho-world other than for a very few dependent or self-financed, permanent, senior initiates at HQ.

      That Osho deliberately engineered this by his inattention, his experimentation, his intention, or by accidental context was of little concern to him as long as one was committed. Commitment, I contend was everything to create that effect of living fully.

      The trouble with that is in successfully combining all that autonomy, community, self regulation, interaction etc., which Osho achieved ‘internally’, as a model of Life for use or even permanently.

      Sadly, other inherited morality or coding is experienced as stagnant and un-nourishing by being ready-made, whatever its origins.Children are soon made extensions of this by their corralling into so-called manners and schooling without authentic, autonomous pedagogy of the self, in general.

      When we realise that nothing was destroyed (as Commune) because it never actually existed other than as a non-definitive experiment, we are free of having to justify its success or failure. That doesn’t mean we don’t have differing versions of aspiring or continuing need in life, but rather that we become utterly dis-invested from the result as being definitive of our place or identity. Commune or no-commune.

      This last explanation, instead, defines the emotivity of rationalism, civic or of the State, adversarial and polarised, that craves its own reputation and existence via Attorneys and Orthodoxy by stripping coherence into cognitive or rational forms – functionally tailored into its own visceral self-justification which constructs itself and condemns others by. This is the worst distortion of humanism as functionalism and abuse of law. Politics is fundamentally violent and violating.

      This legalistic type of virus of removed enquiry suits a ‘society’ that lost its ability to fulfil human yearning as a valuable, even meditative, ‘sensation’ and its fully valued, embodied , empowering experience through conversant, continually accountable, love.

      Many children of those who, by contrast, ‘opened up’ to communal enquiry, truly benefited from being strangers to the plotting of dysfunction in a distorted society that would have and does enslave.

      Osho was the embodiment of the individual’s struggle to commit to life, and in that is his universality and the grace that differentiates truth from advocacy.

      Swami Samuel Pepys
      The Hysteria of Things
      Histrionic TV Channel

  6. Parmartha says:

    Niren’s role in all this is interesting. He himself declared himself a non-sannyasin in 1986 in California, and made a declaration in law that he was reassuming his non sannyasin name, Philip Toelkes.

    Perhaps even more surprisingly, he reassumed some kind of sannyas identity much later, as no doubt Shantam will remind us, over the question of Osho’s ‘will’.

  7. shantam prem says:

    “The Ranch was a dictatorship, and as history has proven in the history of dictatorships, it is relatively easy to keep secrets from the rest of us.

    I lived as a commune member for those years. Whether you believe it or not those whose interest was Osho and spiritual growth knew nothing.”

    Unfortunately, organisation around Osho has not learned the lessons. Osho did learn and therefore it is first time in the history that a master leaves behind a group of 21 people and not one successor. Mahesh Yogi, another successful Indian guru from the same Jabalpur and successful among the westerns has left a successor.

    Can you accept that Resort in the name of Osho is being run on the similar pattern as Rajneeshpuram?

    Germany has mended its ways, Europe has evolved after the 2 wars, but not Osho´s Sannyas!

    • satyadeva says:

      No individual or mass poisonings yet though, nor armed patrols, nor an orchestrated mass influx of homeless people for securing victory in local elections…No evidence yet of any deliberate attempts to antagonise media, politicians or local people…

      Perhaps I’ve missed something…

      Anyway, Shantam, your ongoing ‘crusade’ is undermined by the simple fact that your own prime personal motives for opposing the status quo are more than somewhat dubious, being anchored in a rather unedifying, even unsavoury mixture of sexual frustration, a sentimental attachment to the past, and incipient racism.

      Not to mention the sheer dishonesty in refusing to acknowledge what really drives you to keep trying to ram this down everyone’s throats here.

  8. shantam prem says:

    One latest case involving Alfred plea:

    Under the deferred prosecution agreement, Deutsche Bank AGREED TO PLEAD GUILTY to a US charge of wire fraud, a criminal offence, in connection with the scam and admitted participating in price-fixing conspiracy with other banks. Deutsche Bank employees defrauded counterparties in emails, telephone calls and electronic chats, the US said.

    The $2.5 billion fine is a record for interest-rate manipulation. The settlement agreement allows Deutsche Bank to keep its operating licence in the United States.

    This news I am quoting for the reason, the plea bargain quite often shortens the lengthy process and gives respectful exit to many.

    In case of Osho then Bhagwan, State was bound to take legal actions.

    I am also sure, US must have planted their own people among the authentic disciples. It is very much possible, by donating generously and buying expensive cars for the master, these people won the trust of guru and the secretary. These are the normal tricks every state performs through their secret service.
    I would like to know from you, Parmartha, what other way was possible for USA?

    Surely I can feel, most of the disciples were there with their best and sincere intentions and had nothing to do with the policies and politics. The crash must be hard.

    As a long years participant of Pune commune and worker around policy-making people, I have seen the games people play.

    The virus and bacteria can destroy the infallible too. In India there is a saying: an ant entering elephant´s ear will kill him instantly. To avoid this, Nature has given fans around elephant’s inner ears.

    • Parmartha says:

      To be really honest, Shantam, I don’t know so much about the American legal system.
      I do know that the case against Sheela and Puja ended with concurrent 20 year sentences for attempted murders being handed down, but they only served really quite short terms, and in the best prison in California! Seems strange to almost all commentators on the period I have read.

      You yourself might be able to answer one of my questions as you go to Switzerland every week: Why is Sheela still resident in Switzerland= and never leaves there?
      As I understand it from various sources she cannot leave Switzerland for fear that in any other jurisdiction she could be extradited for offences for which she is still to be charged in the USA. True or false?

      Osho (Bhagwan) was charged with crimes he clearly had not committed, and the U.S. authorities had no evidence to charge him with more severe offences, because, if they had, they would surely have done so.

      They were enormously afraid that he might continue his work from the U.S., and clearly panicked when they realised that the Ranch could easily survive and flourish without the 18 conspirators who were responsible for the crimes.

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