Depraved sex cult leader Keith Raniere is found guilty on all counts: Jury takes just four HOURS to convict Nxivm founder after six weeks of testimony from ‘branded slaves he starved and forced into orgies’
- Keith Raniere has been found guilty on all seven counts, including racketeering, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy and sex trafficking
- He is now facing life in prison after a jury arrived at a unanimous verdict just four hours after deliberations began on Wednesday
- This follows six weeks of testimony in the case during which multiple women who were lured into the sex slave group DOS recounted their experiences
- His sentencing had been scheduled for September 25, and he will likely appeal the verdict
It took just four hours of deliberation for a jury to find Nxivm founder Keith Raniere guilty on all counts.
He now faces life in prison after being convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking.
Raniere was also convicted on all 11 underlying counts of racketeering that fell under the wire fraud charge.
The trial lasted for six weeks, during which time multiple women came forward to describe how they served as ‘sex slaves’ to Raniere and were forced to have his initials branded on their bodies.
Another witness described how Raniere imprisoned her in a room for two years, while an FBI agent showed jurors the graphic nude photos of a 15-year-old Nxivm member that he discovered on Raniere’s hard drive.
Raniere had entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. His sentencing had been scheduled for September 25.
Guilty: Keith Raniere (above in sketch on Tuesday) has been found guilty on all seven counts, including racketeering, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy and sex trafficking
The cult leader’s lawyer Marc Agnifilo tried to discredit the weeks of testimony in its closing argument on Tuesday after calling no witnesses to the stand to testify, including Raniere who refused to take the stand in his own defense.
Agnifilo also filed a motion asking the court to declare a mistrial in the case.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ultimately ruled against that motion following a brief hearing on Wednesday morning.
Agnifilo had objected to the fact that Judge Garaufis dismissed Lauren Salzman during cross-examination when she began hysterically crying on the stand, and never asked her to return to court for questioning.
Salzman, who was one of the five women initially charged alongside Raniere, was the only cooperating witness who was called to the stand during the trial.
She will be sentenced in the coming months as well, along with her mother Nancy, billionaire heiress Clare Bronfman, Smallville actress Allison Mack, and the group’s bookkeeper Kathy Russell.
Those five women initially tried to fight the charges filed against them in the Eastern District of New York, but after months of hearings and court appearances all eventually agreed to change their pleas in exchange for a deal with prosecutors.