New York, .- Keith Raniere, the founder of the self-help firm and alleged sexual sect Nxivm, faced this Tuesday in New York the first day of a trial in which the prosecution charges him with serious crimes and tries to convince a jury of that he was not a “guru”, but a “criminal” capable of enslaving a minor.
Raniere, 58, heads a case that has generated interest in the United States. for its rugged character and for the implication of two famous names, the actress Allison Mack (“Smallville”) and the heiress of the conglomerate winer Seagram’s, Clare Bronfman, who have pleaded guilty along with three other defendants, leaving him alone.
According to local media, prosecutor Tanja Hajjar exposed Tuesday before the jury – eight men and four women – how Raniere recruited the first “sexual slave” of DOS, a secret organization of Nxvium with a pyramidal structure where he was the “master” and the women, “slaves”, were extorted and marked with their initials.
According to Hajjar, Raniere brought a family from Mexico to New York in 2005 under the promise of sponsoring her three daughters in Nxivm, which was touted as a personal development firm, but “was not interested in being her mentor” and “Instead, she had sex with the three of them,” the youngest of them was Camila, 15 years old.
The defendant retaliated against his sister Daniela for dating another person and “locked her in a room for two years” before sending her back to Mexico, while Camila, whom she considered her first “slave”, was pressured to recruit to other women to sleep with him, according to the New York Post.
“The defendant pretended to be a guru,” the prosecutor added, “but he was a criminal,” something discussed by Raniere’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, who described him as a “good man” with “good intentions” who wanted to create a “brotherhood” for women, in which the confidential documents that were required, such as photos, were only an “endorsement”.
According to court documents that Efe agreed to, the judge in the case, Nicholas Garaufis, rejected a motion by Raniere’s defense last Friday to exclude as evidence photos that constitute child pornography found in a USB device that was seized in a search of your home in New York under a court order.
On the device there were sexually explicit images of women associated with Nxivm, including two accused in the process, Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell, and “two images of a naked woman” that the agents “recognized as a slave” of DOS with which Raniere had sex when she was 15 years old.
The founder of Nxivm, who has been imprisoned since his arrest in March 2018, is accused of a battery of crimes, including sex trafficking, with adults and minors; possession of child pornography; sexual exploitation of a minor and blackmail, for which he could face a maximum of life imprisonment if convicted.
Raniere has denied the charges and his defense maintains that their relations were consensual, but it is expected that during the trial, which will last about six weeks, some alleged sexual “slaves” testify, and it is speculated that the other five defendants will also do so. , who admitted crimes as part of agreements.
The twelve members of the jury were chosen this Monday after a strong screening and the magistrate dictated that the panel be anonymous – in the trial they will be referred to by number – and that he be escorted to his entrance and exit from the court. (EFEUSA)