Jun 13, 2019

Reflections on The Keith Raniere Trial

Janja Lalich is with Yahia Lababidi.
Janja Lalich, Ph.D.
June 12, 2019

"Today in court , the IRS investigator was cross-examined. No big gains for the Defense. The main point was showing how Raniere kept using his dead lover's credit card for more than a year after she died, buying $4,000 cashmere sweaters, chiropractor appts, and things like that. Then the chiropractor testified about seeing 30+ people from NXIVM, all paid with the same dead women's credit card. He explained how he was prepped to meet Raniere and was told he's a monk and a very special human being. He spoke about his concern that the women were all so skinny with no muscle mass -- Raniere had them on 400-calorie diets. He said he noticed malnutrition. After that Rick Ross took the stand. Ross was hired by a very wealthy family to do an intervention to get their adult son out of the group. It failed. NXIVM then sued and harassed Ross. The lawsuit went on for 14 years. The final part was an FBI tech guy who explained how they dug up hundreds and hundreds of photos of naked women in compromising poses, all taken with Raniere's camera. Eleven women's photos were selected and shown only to the jury. It was very somber and intense and one of the women was sitting among us spectators. One of the photos was also of an underage girl, whom Raniere allegedly had sex with. So the day ended on a quiet and serious note.

Outside the courthouse we were able to speak with the lead defense attorney. There is one more prosecution witness tomorrow -- the FBI case agent who will put it all together and wrap up the charges. Then the Prosecution will rest. Raniere will then be able to testify and I may be wrong, but I don't think he will. This is a very ethnically mixed jury of 7 men and 5 women. My sense is that these people are not his type and he knows he won't be able to seduce them. But you never know. He may be arrogant enough to think he can sway them. If he doesn't testify, the Defense will rest as the attorney told me that he was unable to get any witnesses to testify on Raniere's behalf. That, I think, will have an impact on the jury. If he's helped so many thousands of people, as they claim, then isn't it odd to have no witnesses saying wonderful things about him? And so this 6-week trial may very well end tomorrow. That means closing arguments on Monday and Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to that with great anticipation. By the way, I think it's divine justice that the 2 Federal prosecutors are smart young women."

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