Why does NXIVM’s Keith Raniere think he deserves a new trial?
NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, convicted of multiple charges including sex trafficking, child exploitation, & identity theft, might have been given a guilty plea, but still believes he deserves a new trial. NXIVM has been called a “sex cult” for its infamous DOS group, where former members have said were branded, manipulated, abused, and sometimes deemed Raniere’s “sex slaves”.
Raniere originally pled not guilty for his charges but was ultimately found guilty by a jury in June 2019 after a mere four hours of deliberation, according to Times-Union. Despite the verdict, Raniere’s lawyers said the NXIVM founder “remains proud of his life’s work”, according to CBS News. Even further, The New York Times reported his attorneys wrote to the court, “He is not sorry for his conduct or his choices”.
Here’s why Raniere believes he should get a new trial and why some victims would be afraid his wish was granted.
In a recent interview with Dateline NBC, Raniere admitted his participation in “this pain and suffering”, though he still claims he’s innocent. He told Dateline “oppression” & the public’s view of him caused his guilty verdict and thinks “the justice process has to be examined”, as Raniere alleges the prosecution “scared away witnesses”. Raniere tried two times to get new trials, but the judge rejected both attempts.
In their first attempt in March 2020, the Times-Union reported Raniere’s lawyers argued two witnesses committed perjury. After a January lawsuit, where eighty of Raniere’s victims sued Raniere & other NXIVM leaders, the defense argued the witnesses had lied when they claimed they weren’t planning on suing Raniere. The judge dismissed the motion in July, calling the claim “factually absurd”.
Later in September, the defense’s second attempt, CBS News reported Raniere’s lawyers argued there were “prejudicial errors and due process violations”, including witness intimidation. In their argument, the defense claimed the prosecution intimidated two witnesses who would’ve spoken in Raniere’s favor. The judge, however, said their testimonies “covers ground that is well-tread in this case”.
What do Raniere’s current followers say?
Raniere still has plenty of followers, as they’ve been seen & photographed dancing outside the Brooklyn prison he’s jailed in, according to Times-Union. Nicki Clyne, an avid NXIVM member who was seen as being part of Raniere’s “inner circle”, maintains Raniere’s innocence. While she doesn’t deny the evidence of abuse within NXIVM, she told CBS News, “I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything”.
When talking to CBS News, five of Raniere’s supporters said they believe the prosecutors acting unfairly toward Raniere and questioned whether the justice system “might not be working anymore”. The New York Times reported over fifty supporters have written letters to the court, all praising Raniere, claiming he healed them and even increased their I.Q. scores.
They’ve also created Innocence Challenge, a podcast where they spoke with Raniere in prison. In the podcast, Raniere alleges the prosecution “lied to the court”, “tampered with evidence”, and “suborned perjury”. According to The New York Times, the podcast includes a contest where any listener who gives evidence in Raniere’s favor will receive $25,000.
Consequences of releasing Raniere
NXIVM wasn’t Raniere’s first pyramid scheme, as he was under investigation in the 90s for his multi-level marketing company Consumers’ Buyline Inc. and later found National Health Network, a pill-selling company. While both failed, he continued his work with NXIVM, which can be described as a self-help MLM group, as members were encouraged to recruit more members into their classes, which cost thousands of dollars.
India Oxenberg, a former NXIVM & DOS member, told The Daily Beast she hopes Raniere receives a life sentence because she believes he isn’t “capable of changing himself at all” and thinks Raniere could resume his work if he were released. Oxenberg said, “He’s someone who has one playbook, and if he’s released, he’s just going to do the same thing all over again, and that will put me in danger and other women in danger”.
100 victims will give impact statements for his October 27th sentencing hearing, according to NBC News, where Raniere is facing a life sentence. According to The New York Times, we’ll hear from a number of them in his hearing, including a possible appearance from an anonymous victim who accused Raniere of sexual abuse, which started when she was fifteen.