NXIVM founder Keith Raniere has finally broken his silence in a rare first interview that previewed on NBC News Friday.
The interview was conducted by investigative journalist Frank Parlato, who was involved with Raniere’s self-help cult and is currently facing his own financial charges. Raniere was convicted of sex trafficking and sexual coercion in June 2019 and will be sentenced on all counts and charges on October 27. Despite his upcoming hearing on Tuesday, Raniere claims that he is innocent and is the victim of unethical prosecution.
“This is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt,” Raniere told Parlato. “There is horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.” Nevertheless, a judge denied Raniere’s second attempt to get a new trial on Friday.
In the interview, Raniere pointed to the importance of the justice system in the United States and that “both the devil and a saint should be able to get the exact same treatment under our justice system.”
In turn, Raniere also asserted that the assumption of innocence until proven guilty should still be applied to him — even if he appears to be more of a devil than a saint in the public eye. “People can hate me and do, and think I’m an odious type of character, you know, awful actually,” he said. However, Raniere asserted that, “there is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”
Early this fall, HBO Max released The Vow, which outlines how NXIVM operated and provides critical behind-the-scenes footage of the group. Starz premiered Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult on October 18, which delves into the lives of the women who joined and later left NXIVM. While Seduced is only a four-part limited series, The Vow was renewed for a second season last week.