NXIVM leader extradited and awaiting arraignment

April 11, 2018 06:13 PM

NXIVM leader, Keith Raniere, is being held in New York City.

He's being represented by Albany attorney and former county prosecutor Paul DerOhannesian.

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Raniere is set to be arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn Friday afternoon.

Legal experts say he's facing sex trafficking charges that are about as serious as you can get in federal court.

Keith Raniere is now back in New York from Texas, after being arrested in Mexico.

Prosecutors say he has a long history of systematically exploiting women.

This case has made international headlines since Raniere's arrest.

We were there at the end of last month, when the FBI raided the Halfmoon house of NXIVM president Nancy Salzman.

Court papers detail a secret society within NXIVM called DOS or The Vow, in which women were recruited to be slaves and had to provide damaging information that could be used against them.

Investigators say a number of DOS slaves were groomed for sex with Raniere, put on restricted diets, and kept sleep-deprived, and some branded with his initials with a cauterizing pen.

Raniere is charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor.

We spoke with well-known local defense attorney Lee Kindlon, who is not involved in this case, about the court papers that oppose Raniere's release on any condition.

"In the memo that's been filed that talks about the defendant here, he says clearly not only does he have access to large amounts of cash, and not only did we have to go to Mexico to find him in a private villa, but he is such a danger to the community, and then again they lay out their case in terms of what he's allegedly done to the women, to potential victims, to potential witnesses in the case," said Kindlon.

Prosecutors say Raniere is backed by Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman, and has access to millions of dollars in a bank account in a dead lover's name.

The government says the evidence against Raniere is very strong, with more than a dozen women interviewed, plus many other witnesses.

Attorney Paul DerOhannesian, who was in New York City Wednesday morning, declined to comment on this case.  


WNYT Staff

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