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Self-help guru convicted in lurid sex-trafficking case

The guru of a cult-like self-improvement group that attracted heiresses and Hollywood actresses was convicted today 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 Keith Raniere guilty on all counts of sex-trafficking and other charges accusing him of coercing women into unwanted sex using systematic shame and humiliation.

"Raniere was truly a modern-day Svengali," Brooklyn United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said outside court, calling the former self-help guru a lying manipulator who "ruined marriages, careers, fortunes and lives."

Courtroom drawing, defendant Keith Raniere, center, leader of the secretive group NXIVM.
Courtroom drawing, defendant Keith Raniere, center, leader of the secretive group NXIVM. Source: Associated Press

Raniere 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 his sentencing which is set for September 25.


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