Keith Raniere, a United States man accused of running a cult-like group in which women were kept on starvation diets, branded with his initials and ordered to have sex with him, has been found guilty of all charges against him by a NY jury.
"There was no shortage whatsoever of lurid testimony over the course of an accused sex cult leader's trial in the Eastern District of NY, and it didn't take long for a jury of his peers to reach a verdict", Law & Crime reported Wednesday.
"Raniere was truly a modern-day Svengali", Brooklyn United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said outside court, calling the former self-help guru a lying manipulator who "ruined marriages, careers, fortunes and lives".
A jury in federal court in Brooklyn took less than five hours to find Keith Raniere guilty on all counts of sex-trafficking and other charges accusing him of coercing women into unwanted sex using systematic shame and humiliation.
The Justice Department began a federal investigation of NXIVM in 2017 when former member Sarah Edmondson filed a complaint, saying she was branded with Raniere's initials, "KR". He was emotionless as the verdict was read and is due to be sentenced on September 25.
His lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said Raniere plans to appeal.
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A verdict has been reached in the trial of Keith Raniere.
NXIVM, which claimed to be a self-help group, was accused of branding women and requiring them to have sex with Raniere; members were allegedly required to give their "master" or recruiter, naked photos of themselves and other blackmail material before joining.
"This was a very frightening group", Dynasty actor Catherine Oxenberg said after the verdict. "It's a very sad day for him", Agnifilo said.
"I had to save a child who was caught in the grips of this cult, so I wasn't going to stop until I succeeded", Oxenberg said. "I think he's not surprised, but he maintains that he didn't mean to do anything wrong".
Raniere did not testify in the case, and his defense attorney did not call any witnesses, but his attorney has argued that his relationships with Nxivm followers were consensual. "A crime boss with no limits and no checks on his power". And since the group never released any of the slaves' collateral, "Where's the extortion?" he asked.
Allison Mack departs the U.S. Eastern District Court on May 4, 2018, in New York City.
Last year, after a New York Times exposé on the group and reports that investigators were interviewing some women who had defected from DOS, Raniere fled to Mexico. Several of the women who belonged to the inner circle of DOS had a NXIVM symbol seared into their flesh. He was found staying with Mack and other women in a luxury villa and taken into custody on a US warrant.