NXIVM leader Keith Raniere says he's innocent as he speaks out against 'injustice' for the first time since arrest

'There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I'm the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined,' Raniere added


                            NXIVM leader Keith Raniere says he's innocent as he speaks out against 'injustice' for the first time since arrest
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NXIVM founder Keith Raniere has decided to speak out for the first time since getting arrested. While doing an interview with Dateline on Friday, October 23, Raniere opened up on the federal sex trafficking and forced labor charges two years ago. He has claimed his innocence against the crimes and charges that he has been accused of, PEOPLE reports. 

Raniere shared, "One of the things that's most important in our country is the justice system. And although, you know, people can hate me and do, and think I'm an odious type of a character — you know, awful, actually — both the devil and a saint should be able to get the exact same treatment under our justice system."

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He was asked whether he plans on making a statement of innocence at his October 27 sentencing to which he responded saying, "Yes, I am innocent. And although it is — this is a horrible tragedy, with many, many people being hurt, I think the main thrust of this has been the oppression."

"But really a different issue, which is hard for me to express — there is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I'm the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined," he added. While he did claim that he was innocent, Raniere admitted that he "clearly participated" in behavior that had hurt people earlier in the past. 

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"I apologize for my participation in all of this pain and suffering. I've clearly participated. I've been the leader of the community," he added. Prosecutors have said that NXIVM is a sexual pyramid scheme that had sex slaves with Raniere running the whole show. 

The organization had presented itself as a group that helps to empower people and helps them to manage emotional trauma but prosecutors say that it had a very dark side to it built on manipulation. As reported by CNN, US attorney Richard Donoghue revealed that "Raniere, who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact a massive manipulator, a con man, and the crime boss of a cult-like organization involved in sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion, compelled abortions, branding, degradation, and humiliation."

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According to investigators, Raniere was on top of the pyramid called DOS which had many tiers of female 'slaves'. A criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE had outlined how authorities believed that the women in DOS were required to give in 'collateral' such as potentially damaging personal information or materials like nude pictures which were used as blackmail. 

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The women were made to believe that their 'collateral' would be released if they did not sleep with the NXIVM leader. On June 19, last year, Raniere had been convicted of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges made against him. 

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We had earlier reported that 'Battlestar Galactica' star Nicki Clyne has revealed she was NXIVM leader Keith Raniere’s “partner” for a decade and defended him in newly unsealed court documents. Clyne wrote a letter to a Brooklyn federal judge ahead of Raniere’s sentencing for running a master-slave sex ring within the Albany, New York organization. 

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