Closing arguments at trial of self-improvement group founder
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal prosecutor says the former spiritual leader of a cult-like self-improvement group was a “con man” and a “crime boss.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Penza delivered closing arguments on Monday at the trial of Keith Raniere (rah-NEER’-ee).
Penza recounted testimony that Raniere had some of his brainwashed female followers branded with his initials, forced one to have sex with another woman and confined a third to a room for nearly two years for defying his orders.
The prosecutor said he used his NXIVM (NEHK’-see-uhn) organization to “tap into a never-ending flow of women and money.”
She said Raniere “was a ruler with no limits and no checks on his power.”
Attorneys for Raniere say he had no criminal intent and that his sexual encounters with followers were consensual.