NEW YORK (NY)
The Associated Press
June 19, 2019
By Tom Hayes
The guru of a cult-like self-improvement group that attracted heiresses and Hollywood actresses was convicted Wednesday of turning his female devotees into his sex slaves through such means as shame, punishment and nude blackmail photos.
A jury in federal court in Brooklyn took less than five hours to find 58-year-old Keith Raniere guilty on all counts of sex-trafficking and coercing women into sex.
“Raniere was truly a modern-day Svengali,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said outside court, calling him a lying manipulator who “ruined marriages, careers, fortunes and lives.”
Raniere, a short, bespectacled figure who wore pullover sweaters in court, listened attentively but showed no reaction as he learned the verdict. His lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said Raniere plans to appeal. He could get 15 years to life in prison at sentencing Sept. 25.
“It’s a very sad day for him,” Agnifilo said. “I think he’s not surprised, but he maintains that he didn’t mean to do anything wrong.”
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