Guilty as charged.
Keith Raniere (above, inset), the co-founder of NXIVM and accused leader of a bizarre sex cult that also involved Smallville actress Allison Mack, has been found guilty of all counts in a high-profile trial in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday morning.
The counts involved ranged from racketeering, wire fraud, forced labor conspiracy, and sex trafficking.
The verdict today was delivered by the jury just hours after they began deliberating at 9:25 a.m. local time in the NYC borough this morning — a surprisingly short deliberation, though perhaps indicative of how well the jury felt federal prosecutors made their case.
Raniere, who had pled not guilty before the trial, will be sentenced at a later date; he faces up to life behind bars now that he’s been convicted on all charges.
Furthermore, CNN reports the jury also found the government proved all charged racketeering acts — which suggests the magnitude of Raniere’s guilt in the court’s eyes is substantial.
It’s speculative until the sentence comes in, but this could lead to the NXIVM co-founder facing a LOT of time behind bars.
Over the six-week long trial, former members of NXIVM repeatedly came forward with testimony alleging that they were pressured to have sex with Keith.
Though Raniere’s defense team tried arguing NXIVM was simply a misunderstood self-help organization headquartered in Albany, New York, prosecutors successfully there was more to it than that — namely, that Raniere was using the organization as a front for a pyramid scheme and a bizarre sex cult, among other things.
Mack’s involvement in allegedly recruiting women to submit to Raniere sexually has been of particular interest to the entertainment news media over the last couple years. Unlike Raniere, the actress chose to avoid trial, and pled guilty back in April in her own case regarding the sex cult.
Mack, who faces up to 40 years in prison for her role luring women to Raniere, will be sentenced in September. Four other women also previously pled guilty to lesser charges involved with helping run NXIVM.
Reactions, Perezcious readers??
This case has been shocking and unsettling for a long time now as it has moved its way through the legal system — and now, well, it looks as though justice will be served in several different ways by the time Raniere, Mack, and the others are finally sentenced and sent off to serve their time.
Share all your reactions with us in the comments (below)…
[Image via BBC/YouTube/Joseph Marzullo/WENN.]