Keith Raniere loses appeal in NXIVM case

Keith Raniere loses appeal in NXIVM case

Keith Raniere, the former leader of NXIVM, has lost a federal appeal of his criminal conviction and sentencing.

A federal appeals court in New York on Friday (9 December) affirmed his conviction on charges including sex trafficking, the sexual exploitation of a child, and forced labor conspiracy.

On the same date, the court also affirmed the sentencing of Clare Bronfman, who had entered a guilty plea over her involvement in NXIVM.

Raniere was found guilty on all counts in June 2019 after a six-week trial. He had been charged with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy; sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking, and sex trafficking conspiracy; forced labor conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy, to which he had pleaded not guilty.

The racketeering charge, per the government included “predicate acts of extortion, identity theft, and production and possession of child pornography.”

The charges pertained to Raniere’s role as the founder and leader of NXIVM, a cultlike group based in upstate New York, which included a subgroup in which women were branded with a cauterizing device.

The appeals court’s decision likely marks the end of Raniere’s direct challenges to his conviction. His next line of appeal would be to petition the US Supreme Court, which rejects the vast majority of the cases it is asked to consider.

Raniere was sentenced in October 2020 to 120 years in prison. The federal appeals court affirmed a judgment which included both Raniere’s conviction and his prison sentence.

Bronfman was sentenced to almost seven years in prison in September 2020 for charges of conspiracy to conceal and harbor aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of personal identification information. She had entered a guilty plea in April 2019.