Allegedly, according to Raniere and his lawyers, the FBI changed the date on a photo of a woman Raniere had dated to make it seem like it was taken in 2005. The woman in the photo would have been underage and under the legal age of consent to be photographed nude if it were taken in 2005.
Raniere’s attorney, Joseph Tully wrote of the accusations:
There is evidence that computer data related to digital photographs taken of a nude female were materially altered to make it appear that these photographs were taken in 2005. The government used the year 2005 to establish the female as being under the age of eighteen…
From this argument, Raniere is seeking to have his 2019 conviction on seven counts including racketeering and sex trafficking thrown out, claiming he was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial. In 2019, Raniere was sentenced 120 years behind bars.
It’s been years since the lurid story of NXIVM broke, so let’s recap, shall we? Raniere not only led NXIVM, the cult, but also established a secret master-slave group called “DOS” (“Dominant Over Submissive”) within it. In May of 2019, a former “Master” within “DOS” and Raniere’s first victim he used as sex slave only identifying as Camila spoke at Raniere’s hearing, detailing how he took her virginity when she was only 15.
Camila and other victims within “DOS” were branded with Raniere’s initials.
In 2019, a former sex slave in NXIVM detailed to a jury how Raniere took her to an empty house, blindfolded her, and bound her to a table. She was then sexually assaulted by another cult member while Raniere walked around the table and made “demeaning” comments about her.
Needless to say, the judge overseeing the appeal did not entertain the semantics from Raniere’s attorney. Tully, Raniere’s lawyer, claimed his client’s sixth amendment was violated during trial. Tully also claimed that judge Garaufis misled the jury by too broadly defining a “commercial sex act“.
Tully was met with resistance from the appeals judge and prosecutor during his arguments, who explained that the severity and cruelness of Raniere’s crimes outweighed Tully’s faulty claims.
The verdict of Raniere’s appeal is set to be given at a later date.