Keith Raniere, the leader of the alleged sex cult NXIVM, has given an interview which aired on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt tonight and will also be featured on the network’s Dateline.
In the interview, Raniere denies his convictions for sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography. Raniere said he was the victim of unethical prosecution in the interview. He asked for a new trial, but was denied Friday by a judge. He will be sentenced on Tuesday and could face life in prison.
The activities of NVXIM was captured by the documentary series The Vow, which is coming back in 2021 for a second season on HBO. Directors and exec producers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, to continue to the story of the NXIVM cult and its top leadership.
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Raniere admitted to NBC interviewer Frank Parlato and Dateline NBC that he was the leader of NXIVM, which allegedly kept women as sex prisoners. Parlato had been a spokesman for the group, ultimately exposing its practices. Parlato faces his own charges on tax discrepancies and other issues. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Raniere said federal prosecutors “scared away witnesses” who could have helped with his defense.
“This is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt,” Reniere said. “There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”
Along the way, Raniere and NXIVM ensnared several prominent people, including Smallville star Allison Mack, president Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren Salzman, bookkeeper Kathy Russell and Seagram liquor heiress Claire Bronfman. All have pleaded guilty to various charges.
“You know, one of the things that’s most important in our country is the justice system,” Raniere said in the interview. He added, “Both the devil and a saint should be able to get the exact same treatment under our justice system.”
Despite his pleas of innocence, Raniere said he was “sorry and pained” for his role in the organization.
“I apologize for my participation in all of this– this pain and suffering,” he said. “I’ve clearly participated. I’ve been the leader of the community. And it has come to this. Even if it is by oppression, I am absolutely sorry and pained. This is a horrible situation.”