Among the guests were Hollywood actors and other wealthy and prominent people, some of whom were ready to undergo humiliation and commit to obeying Raniere’s vision of how to strive for perfection.
Prosecutors seek life in prison while defense attorneys say he should face 15 years in prison for his conviction on charges of racketeering, trafficking in strangers, sex trafficking, extortion and harassment. obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors said Raniere, 60, had run what amounted to a criminal enterprise, inducing shame and guilt to influence and control the co-conspirators who helped recruit and prepare sex partners for Raniere.
They said that, among other crimes, Raniere began sex in 2005 with a 15-year-old girl and confined another teenager to a room for almost two years.
The likelihood of leniency appeared to wane with the recent conviction of Clare Bronfman, 41, heir to the Seagram liquor fortune, for her role in what has been described by some ex-members as a cult. Bronfman was sentenced to almost seven years in prison. Prosecutors had only asked for five years.
Former supporters told the judge Bronfman had used his wealth for years to try to silence the NXIVM defectors.
Raniere’s supporters called him “Vanguard”. To honor him, the group formed a secret sorority made up of “slave” women who were branded with his initials and ordered to have sex with him, prosecutors said. The women were also forced to give up embarrassing information about themselves that could be used against them if they left the group.
Along with Bronfman, Raniere’s teachings earned him the dedication of Hollywood actors, including television’s Allison Mack. Smallville. Mack has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Raniere maintains innocence
In a sentencing presentation, Raniere’s lawyers said he “continues to assert his complete innocence in the face of these charges.”
They wrote that his jury conviction in an unfair trial was the result of a media campaign involving witnesses who were motivated to testify falsely in a “heavy prosecution that threatened possible defense witnesses”.
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And they noted that prosecutors criticized him for not showing remorse as he tried to create a podcast to amplify his claims of innocence.
“He acted just like an innocent man would act, shouting from every rooftop every waking hour that the system wrongly convicted him,” the lawyers wrote.
His lawyers said the sought-after life-sentence lawsuits appeared to fall outside of a case involving the absence of guns, knives or force.
“No one was shot, stabbed, hit, kicked, slapped or even yelled at,” they said. “Despite the sex offenses, there is no evidence that a woman ever told Keith Raniere that she didn’t want to kiss him, touch him, hold his hand, or have sex with him. “