Jurors in the trial of accused sex cult leader Keith Raniere got their first look Wednesday at the X-rated “collateral” photos that members were forced to give him — and the searing brands he left them with — as a former member testified that Raniere reveled in being called a “psychopath.”
Raniere, who is on trial in Brooklyn Federal court for sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and possession of child pornography, collected nude photos from women who wanted admission into his DOS secret society, a sub-group of his Nxivm “executive empowerment” club, prosecutors say.
Jurors were shown several explicit photos, which were pixelated and censored with black bars, to get a sense of the material the feds charge Raniere used to later coerce his victims into sex.
One photo showed a former member named Danielle.
“The camera is down below with her crotch in the foreground and her face in the background,” member-turned-whistleblower Mark Vicente described the photo to jurors.
Another victim named Michelle struck a similar pose.
“Her legs are spread wide open crotch in the foreground and her face in the background,” Vicente told jurors of the photos, which were seen by the jury but not shown openly in court.
A second photo depicted Michelle “lying down holding the camera up above her, her legs are spread open and she’s making a face of some kind,” according to Vicente.
Victims were instructed to leave the scandalous photos in a digital dropbox maintained by cult member and former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, he said.
Mack, who acted as Raniere’s right-hand woman, pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges, including extortion and forced labor in April.
The courtroom was also shown photos of the brands that Raniere allegedly used to mark his “slaves.”
The insignia looked like a sideways K and R, which Vicente said was “a combination of two sets of initials” — the first being Raniere’s.
Vicente said he began to have “deep concerns about the morality and legality” of what was going on in Nxivm once he learned of the collateral and branding in May 2017.
But he had a “gut feeling” months before that something was wildly wrong about Raniere.
He confronted Raniere during a walk in March 2017, telling the cult leader he “could be a psychopath,” Vicente testified.
Rather than be mortified by the accusation, Raniere became “excited” and shot back, “I imagine I could be,” according to Vicente.
Raniere ended the conversation with the defiant reminder, “There’s nothing you can ever do to hurt me. There’s not anything you could ever do to break me,” according to testimony from Vicente.
Source: Read Full Article