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Sex trafficking case against NXIVM leader begins in Brooklyn

May 07, 2019 07:01 PM

NEW YORK CITY - The story has begun to unfold in the NXIVM sex trafficking case. Lawyers for both sides made their opening statements at federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Keith Raniere is accused of leading a cult that branded women and forced them into slavery.

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We know that from court papers that Raniere's defense attorneys all along have insisted that the alleged victims in this case were never abused. In fact, in their words, the women were independent, smart, curious adults who were doing nothing more than seeking happiness, fulfillment and meaning.

NXIVM defectors have a much different story to tell. They began testifying on Tuesday. They claim the group was involved in brainwashing and coercing its members.

The government's case against Raniere will be laid out over the next six weeks.

Raniere is the only remaining defendant in the case. The other five defendants, including actress Allison Mack, have all pleaded guilty.

The question as the trial began was whether the former co-defendants – all of whom are now convicted felons, would break their vow of silence to testify against Raniere. Jurors were informed they will hear from the witnesses and slaves who were branded.

To hear more about what was said in court, watch the video of Dan Levy's story.

Credits

Dan Levy & WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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