Keith Raniere, the founder of the cult NXIVM, has been sentenced to 120 years in prison. The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York shared the message on Twitter on Tuesday. According to CNN, in the months leading up to his Tuesday sentencing, Raniere has been "unrepentant" and has tried to direct efforts to make himself look as though he is the victim in the situation, federal prosecutors say.
This sentencing news comes over a year after Raniere was convicted of multiple crimes related to the NXIVM cult. He was found guilty on all seven counts he was charged with, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and attempted sex trafficking. The prosecutors, in this case, described Raniere as the leader of a criminal enterprise who recruited people for NXIVM, which was billed as a self-help company, to exploit them "for power, for profit, or for sex." At his trial, prosecutors reportedly argued that the 60-year-old "maintained control over his followers and his criminal organization ... by ensuring that no one questioned him." Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanja Hajjar added, "No one could challenge his authority. The defendant used shame and humiliation as ways to break people down."
Nxivm founder and leader Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison.— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) October 27, 2020
Prosecutors wrote that Raniere has remained "unrepentant" and that he was "no empathy for his victims." In the prosecutors' sentencing memorandum, they shared emails and transcripts of conversations that Raniere has had in recent months from prison with those who still support him amidst this legal matter. The prosecutors continued to write, "In his communications with his supporters, Raniere repeatedly attempts to cast himself as a victim of persecution and harassment from the government and from unknown enemies."
Ahead of his sentencing, Raniere continued to maintain his innocence in his memo. He also alleged misconduct against the prosecutors in this case for their handling of the trial. In a recent interview with NBC News, which was published on Friday, Raniere, once again, maintained his innocence. However, he did also apologize for his role in this matter. "I apologize for my participation in all of this -- this pain and suffering," he said. "I've clearly participated. I've been the leader of the community. And it has come to this. Even if it is by oppression, I am absolutely sorry and pained. This is a horrible situation."