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.
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.
Asst US Attorney Tanya Hajjar: The defendant took close up photos of (womenís) private parts. He collected hundreds of such photos. In the hands of Keith Raniere, it wasnít just for self gratification, he used it for coercive means to increase his own power. pic.twitter.com/E1zjC7dEU0— Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Marc Agnifilo: At the end of the day, if you decide he has good faith, and I urge you to study the evidence and ask why, you will decide I have defended my island home and (Raniere) has acted in good faith. pic.twitter.com/98YDjSHx7r— Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Marc Agnifilo: Parts of this case you will find distasteful. Iím going to defend (Keith Raniereís) good faith til my last breath. I will fight until my last breath until the flag of freedom will be flying above my island home. pic.twitter.com/eOwplOR4HZó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Marc Agnifilo (quoting Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird): You canít really understand a man until you crawl into his skin and walk around in it. From the jury box, you will be able to crawl inside Keith Raniereís skin and walk around in it. pic.twitter.com/sxRxnEhthjó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Raniere Attorney Marc Agnifilo: My client is on trial for his life in a very significant case. The only thing that matters is whether Keith Raniere had criminal intent. pic.twitter.com/PRjBg5qwJHó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Assistant US attorney Tanya HAJJAR: High ranking officials of NXIVM will give you an inside look at the organization. Some of the witnesses committed serious crimes but are testifying because of agreements with the government. pic.twitter.com/CoiarR9rUcó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
ASST US ATTORNEY TANYA HAJJAR - Keith Raniere claims to be a leader but he was a con man. He drew young women in slowly with promises of money and success and once he gained their trust, he exploited them. He took advantage of young women emotionally and physically. pic.twitter.com/st2AQPvgZ5ó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Raniere defense attorney Paul DerOhannesian: Weíre feeling good. Itís a big challenge. We know that. Itís going to be a long haul but Keith is holding up. pic.twitter.com/1Bx3Qus3x1ó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Marc Agnifilo: Thereís controversial elements of the case. There are difficult elements to the case. The defense really is a defense of good faith and if the jury determines that Keith had good faith, heís innocent of all charges. pic.twitter.com/QIv4vY2J8hó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Raniere Attorney Marc Agnifilo: Itís a tough case. Itís an uphill fight. Weíre going to go in and I know Keith has deep faith. I think he has deep faith for everything that he did and I know thatís basically the ground that Iím going to defend. pic.twitter.com/c3XvoDvnR6ó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
BREAKING NEWS - US Attorneys wheel evidence into the US Courthouse in Brooklyn in the Keith Raniere trial. Opening arguments expected soon. pic.twitter.com/9YpchwyFsTó Dan Levy (@dlevywnyt) May 7, 2019
Dan Levy & WNYT Staff
Updated: May 07, 2019 07:01 PM
Created: May 07, 2019 09:39 AM
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