NXIVM leader Keith Raniere serving 120-year sentence in Tucson as attorneys prepare for appeal

Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 10:51 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Keith Raniere, the leader of the alleged cult NXIVM, is now being housed in Tucson’s Federal prison, and sentenced to 120 years for crimes that include sex trafficking and racketeering. He is also recovering from COVID-19 as his attorneys craft his appeal.

As a self-help guru known as “Vanguard,” Raniere was known for recruiting celebrities and socialites into a multi-level marketing company called NXIVM. He was convicted for keeping women as virtual sex slaves.

Raniere is now serving his 120-year sentence at the United State Penitentiary in Tucson.

Before his sentencing, he maintained his innocence. And now attorneys are hoping to “repaint the picture” with an appeal.

“This is such a voluminous case and a voluminous file that, already, there are various different challengeable issues that can be raised in this point in time... so the teams that we have put together, and that are working together, feel strong in our positions,” says attorney Steven Metcalf.

“Errors are always possible, and when errors are possible- and the only way to ensure somebody was properly convicted, and to make sure that the constitution was properly followed- we have to take the appeal,” says attorney Martin Tankleff.

But the attorneys have made it clear, they just want the truth and are not negating the pain that many say they have endured at the hands of Raniere.

“I think he’s a dangerous man and that if he’s released, he will do exactly what he’s always done,” says India Oxenberg.

“Even if Keith were guilty on the facts, which we certainly believe that he is not, but even if he were, he has to lose by the rules,” says attorney Joseph McBride. “There is a system of laws and procedures set in place and if somebody’s going to lose their trial, it’s got to be a fair trial. They’ve got to lose on the facts, by the rules. And if they don’t, then it’s a no-go.”

The attorneys say Raniere is eager and ready to begin this undertaking with a new legal team, and say there is an element of finality for him right now, as Tucson will be his home for the foreseeable future.

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