Convicted NXIVM Sex Cult Leader Keith Raniere Denied Second Trial Ahead of Sentencing

A sign from NXIVM's headquarters in Albany, New York.
A sign from NXIVM's headquarters in Albany, New York. (Getty)

A federal judge denied a second motion for a new trial from former NXIVM leader Keith Raniere ahead of his Tuesday sentencing. Raniere was convicted last year by a federal jury in New York, and faces the possibility of life in prison after being convicted on seven counts including sex trafficking.

"As the Second Circuit has repeatedly made clear, evidence that was knowable but unavailable to the defendant, including testimony by witnesses whom the defendant failed to call – regardless of the reason for that failure – does not warrant a new trial," Judge Nicholas Garaufis of Brooklyn federal court stated in his ruling.

Raniere, who was known to his followers as “Vanguard,” created the secret sisterhood within NXIVM that many call a sex cult. A former member showed Inside Edition Raniere’s initials, KR, branded on her pelvis as a part of the initiation.

"It was horrific," Sarah Edmondson, who spent 12 years in the cult, told Inside Edition. "The whole point was to experience pain and to overcome the pain, to be really strong, so they cut our flesh open without anesthetic."

But Raniere, who is currently in jail awaiting sentencing, is still not apologizing for his actions. “He is not sorry for his conduct or his choices,” his lawyers wrote in a court filing last month, according to the New York Times.

He was convicted last summer in a six-week trial on seven counts including child pornography, forced labor, sex trafficking, identity theft and obstruction of justice.

His legal team, however, claims that "the Government engaged in a widespread, systemic effort to threaten potential defense witnesses and to prevent them from testifying.” The judge dismissed the claim as “highly questionable,” according to the New York Times.


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