Appeals court upholds sentences for NXIVM sex cult leaders Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman

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A federal appeals court Friday upheld the convictions and sentences for NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere and his co-conspirator, Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman.

Raniere, who was sentenced to 120 years in prison after his conviction in Brooklyn federal court on a host of charges in 2019, argued in his appeal that he was denied a constitutional right to a fair trial.

In an opinion filed Friday, a three-judge panel from the Manhattan-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals wrote they were unmoved by Raniere’s claims.

“Raniere has failed to persuade us that there is insufficient evidence to sustain his convictions,” the opinion states.

In her appeal, Bronfman argued the federal court judge who sentenced her to nearly seven years in prison mistakenly relied on the notion she was “willfully blind” to Raniere’s sexual abuse as leader of a cult inside the NXIVM self-help organization.

“A full reading of the District Court’s lengthy statement … shows that it was primarily concerned with Bronfman’s actions after she found out about DOS in June 2017, including her reinvigorated support of Raniere,” the appeals court panel wrote in the opinion.

At his sensational trial in Brooklyn, jurors heard testimony and other evidence about how Raniere formed a secret master-slave group within Nxivm — called DOS — and abused a number of women and girls, some as young as 15, with the help of an “inner circle” of his most ardent supporters.

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