Communications from jail show the leader of a cult-like self-improvement group in upstate New York has no remorse over his conviction last year on charges he turned some of his followers into sex slaves, even calling his conspiracy ‘noble,’ prosecutors said Friday in court papers.
The papers filed in federal court in Brooklyn ask a judge to give Keith Raniere a sentence of life in prison at a sentencing later this year, in part for showing ‘a complete lack of acceptance of responsibility for his crimes.’
They say Raniere has stayed in touch with members of his NXIVM organization since his conviction on sex-trafficking charges last year, casting himself in emails as a victim and encouraging them to keep the group alive.
‘Raniere has demonstrated a complete lack of acceptance of responsibility for his crimes of conviction.
‘Raniere’s post-conviction prison calls and emails reflect that he is unrepentant, has no empathy for his victims, and would continue to commit crimes if released,’ the prosecutors wrote.
‘This situation has been a purely political, envy driven, money-powered lie to destroy a community, and keep me either incarcerated for life or otherwise ‘disposed of,´’ prosecutors say Raniere wrote in one missive.
In an email to actress Nicki Clyne, Raniere defended his formation of a secret sorority that prosecutors said was comprised of brainwashed female ‘slaves’ who were branded with his initials and forced to have sex with him.
In his email to Clyne, he said: ‘I believe the sorority is good—not just good and even noble, but great—and vitally important for women and humanity.
‘It is tragic the current organization has been stymied by a few envious men abusing position of power in government, media, and film; some women who didn’t live up to their sacred honor and vows; and people in general who just feel threatened by this idea.
‘The missing part of our society, found in a secret group of women like this, aches to be embraced; we should deeply mourn it[s] possible loss.
‘It is a living thing, a precious thing, and an essential thing to complete the human story: groups that are different are not necessarily bad, and ways of journeying through our lives, only for the few, and too intense for the many, are foundationally important for all of us.
‘This sorority is such a thing: living, precious, intense, and some would say even sacred.
‘If the current group of committed women, for whatever reason, do not carry [t]his considerable body of knowledge, practices, and skills forward, some other group of brave courageous, women should—even must—somehow, somewhere.
‘It’s here, waiting for the right women, right now. Who will carry forth this burning torch of light?’
Prosecutors also say he also instructed his supporters to set up a podcast and ‘set up a “contest” in which members of the public would be invited to find purported errors in Raniere’s prosecution and trial in exchange for a cash prize.’
The defendant also directed his supporters start a podcast to promote a contest asking people ‘to find purported errors in Raniere´s prosecution and trial in exchange for a cash prize,’ the papers say.
In a statement, defense attorney Marc Agnifilo said Friday that his client ‘maintains his innocence and he still believes in his teachings.’
At trial, prosecutors told jurors the 60-year-old Raniere´s organization, NXIVM – pronounced NEHK-see-uhm – operated like a cult that won him the devotion of a wealthy heiress and Hollywood actresses.
His adherents included actress Allison Mack of TV´s ‘Smallville’; an heiress to the Seagram´s liquor fortune, Clare Bronfman; and a daughter of TV star Catherine Oxenberg of ‘Dynasty’ fame. Both women have pleaded guilty to assisting the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.
Authorities identified Clyne, who appeared on the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ TV series, as a sex slave recruiter for Raniere but never charged her with a crime.
On a recent social media video showing her dancing outside the jail holding Raniere, she insisted she was ‘never part of a sex cult.’