The head of NXIVM, Keith Raniere, added the famous New York criminal defense lawyer Marc Fernich to his legal team before appealing.
Court documents dated July 2 show that Fernich has joined Lanier’s case. Fernich’s clients include drug dealer Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, gang boss John Gotti and Jeffrey Epstein-The late financier was accused of sex transactions.
Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking, blackmail and other charges, and was charged with the leading sex cult NXIVM. In October last year, a judge also ordered him to pay a fine of $1.75 million.
NXIVM claims to be a self-help group, but federal investigators said that there is a secret sect in the group where women are forced to have sex with Lanier, send nude photos and brand his initials on their skin.
A witness in the trial, identified as Camilla, said that Lanier began to sexually abuse her when she was 15 and he was 45. She testified that Lanier wanted her to have sex at any time during their 12-year relationship. She said he also monitored what she was eating, hoping that she weighed less than 100 pounds, and had instructed her to have an abortion.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis described Lanier as “relentless” in his “extraordinary” crimes.
Rainier’s lawyers insisted that he was innocent throughout the court proceedings. Lanier told the court that he “does not regret the crimes I did not commit”. After conviction, his lawyers immediately announced that they would appeal the decision.
last week, Smallville Actress Alison Mack was sentenced to three years in jail for participating in NXIVM and was forced to pay a fine of $20,000. Mike, 36, admitted in April 2019 to racketeering and extortion conspiracy charges related to her high-level role in the organization.
“I give up Keith Lanier and all his teachings,” Mike said at her sentencing hearing.
Investigators said Mike mistakenly told other women she recruited for NXIVM that they were joining a women’s empowerment group or sorority. She also deliberately concealed Lanier’s role in the group.
“I am sorry for those who were brought into NXIVM by me,” Mike wrote in a letter to the court before the sentencing. “I’m sorry for exposing you to a plan of evil and emotional abuse that twists men. I’m sorry that I encourage you to use your resources to participate in something so ugly in the end.”
Weekly newspaper Contacted Fernich to comment on joining Raniere’s legal team, but received no response before posting.