Keith Raniere Calls NXIVM Scandal a "Horrible Tragedy" in First Prison Interview
Keith Raniere speaks of his alleged involvement in the NXIVM scandal as he prepares for his conviction on Tuesday October 27th.
In an interview broadcast on NBC Nightly News, NXIVM co-founder spoke exclusively to NBC News and journalist Frank Parlato from a New York federal prison and announced that he believes he was "innocent" of the crimes for which he was convicted in June 2019.
Raniere went on to explain that he understands that people don't like him, but stated that his reputation should not prevent a fair trial. "You know, one of the most important things in our country is the justice system," he said. "And although, you know, people may hate me and think I'm a hideous type of character, you know, actually terrible. Both the devil and a saint should be able to treat us exactly the same way get justice. "
He later added, "There is a terrible injustice here. And whether you think I am the devil or not, the judicial process needs to be investigated.
People to know from the NXIVM scandal
Members of NXIVM, including Allison Mack's wife Nikki Clyne, previously alleged that there had been prosecution wrongdoing and that the media had unduly influenced the trials of Raniere, Mack and Clare Bronfman.
Cults, Keith Raniere
Even so, Raniere said he took responsibility for the role he played in the scandal, calling it "a terrible tragedy". He stated, "I apologize for my part in all of this pain and suffering. I clearly participated. I was the leader of the community."
Raniere will appear in court on Tuesday, October 27th, to be tried. He faces life in prison after convicted of extortion, extortion conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking.
Last month, his associate Clare Bronfman was ordered to serve six years and nine months in prison for being involved in the conspiracy. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hide and harbor foreigners for financial gains and fraudulent use of personal identification information in April 2019.
Mack awaits her sentencing date at her parents' home in California, where she has lived since her release in April 2018.
The high profile trial of the NXIVM members will be documented in an upcoming season of HBO's The Vow, which has been extended for a second season.
During the show's finale in September, Raniere and NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman made statements about their account of the events. For his part, Raniere stated, "There are many ways to present a documentary. Your side is just the top level. And depending on what you want to present as the truth it can go very deep. So talk to me."
Nancy was more cryptic, saying, "Loyalty is good in certain contexts and very bad in other contexts ... Talk about getting lost in a movie, we kind of get lost in the role of our lives. What you have to do is Stop believing that you are who you are. Then you can change your role. "
(E! And NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)
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