THE leader of the Nxivm sex and branding cult has begged for a pardon from outgoing President Donald Trump – claiming they are both "victims" of "fake news," The Sun can exclusively reveal.
Disgraced guru Keith Raniere, currently serving 120 years for charges of sex trafficking, forced labor, and racketeering, has penned a bizarre last-ditch letter to Trump, who has nine days left to grant pardons.
Raniere, 60, whose followers included millionaires and Hollywood actresses such as Allison Mack, is facing life in prison after he was convicted last June on seven felonies.
He is accused of running a sinister master-slave group called DOS where women were starved, branded on their groins, forced into sexual acts and made to hand over damaging collateral such as naked pictures.
Raniere – who followers called "Vanguard" – was also found guilty of acts of extortion, identity theft and the production and possession of child pornography.
“Although my personal situation is wrongful and inhumane, it has equally grave consequences for anyone who is affected by our US justice system," Raniere said.
"Hopefully all people will recite the pledge: ‘For liberty and justice for all!’ For me, by random chance, I became a nationally visible figure, and immersed in an amplified, hateful injustice. I am innocent, but can I be free? President Trump, it’s up to you.”
Frank Parlato, the group's former publicist-turned whistle blower who helped expose Raniere and his sex cult, scoffed at the idea of a pardon for Raniere.
Parlato told The Sun: “The chances of Keith getting a pardon from Trump are about as likely as persuading Department of Justice prosecutors to seek justice rather than to cheat to win convictions. Slim to none.
“However, after looking at the Due Process issues raised by his supporters, I think they at least deserve scrutiny. It won’t mean a pardon. It may not mean a successful appeal, but the exposure of Due Process violations, if they indeed occurred, is more important than ensuring the incarceration of any single devil, cult leader or brander of woman.”
Political consultant Roger Stone, who recently received a pardon from Trump, also hit out at the notion Trump would pardon Raniere – who he described as a "sex cult guru".
Stone, who had his three year sentence for obstructing a congressional investigation commuted by Trump in July, worked briefly as a consultant for Nxivm in 2007.
“It will never happen, not a chance.” Stone told The Sun. “It was Trump and his administration that led the way to bringing Raniere to trial, after he went for years unchecked.
"Given Raniere's financial largesse in huge contributions to Hillary Clinton and other high profile New York Democrats perhaps Biden will pardon him."
Multiple women have spoken out about being brainwashed, controlled and abused by Raniere – including in two hit documentaries The Vow and Seduced.
In Seduced, India Oxenberg, tears up many times, as she goes into detail about how she was placed on a restrictive 500 calorie diet and felt forced to undertake sexual acts with him.
However in two letters, shared with The Sun, Raniere moans he is innocent and was given an unfair trial.
"I believe the charges should never have been brought, and that they should now be dismissed and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York should be investigated," Raniere's letter states.
"If I am pardoned, I plan to show the malicious, wrongful corruption in my case and expose all the issues. The issues in my case are many, however, they are not unique. Corruption is rampant at the Department of Justice and must stop."
Letter to Trump
Full copy of Raniere’s letter from prison to Trump
Dear President Trump
January 11, 2020
I, Keith Alan Raniere, hereby request a presidential pardon and hereby authorize Make Justice Blind to formally request the pardon on my behalf.
I believe the charges should never have been brought, and that they should now be dismissed and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York should be investigated.
If I am pardoned, I plan to show the malicious, wrongful corruption in my case and expose all the issues. The issues in my case are many, however, they are not unique. Corruption is rampant at the Department of Justice and must stop.
The pardon must not confer guilt or stand as an act of clemency but rather should be a condemnation of the corruption of the Department of Justice. The purpose of this pardon is to release me from prison so I can fully dedicate myself to proving my innocence and fighting the endemic corruption of the Department of Justice, which I have witnessed first hand.
A second letter from his supporters, a group called Make Justice Blind and Raniere, reads: "Like you, Keith Raniere has been an egregious victim of the fake news media and the Department of (In)Justice.
"Despite there being no charges of violence, weapons or drugs, Democrat-appointed Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis sentenced Mr. Raniere to 120 years in prison."
They set out nine points which they claim demonstrate Raniere's innocence and that he received an unfair trial.
The supporters claim that allegations of sex trafficking merely involved Raniere trying to fulfill a female Nxivm member's sexual fantasy – which is described as a "single, freaky, kinky sex act", which was entirely consensual.
They also claim the forced labor charge was based on a member voluntarily transcribing a few hours of video – and she was actually "overpaid" for the work.
Raniere's lawyer Jennifer Bonjean, who is also representing Bill Cosby in his appeal, said, “Mr. Raniere’s due process guarantees were not safeguarded during his trial proceedings that resulted in an outrageous 120-year sentence. This was a grave injustice.”
Supporter Suneel Chakravorty, of Make Justice Blind, attended every day of Raniere’s trial, added: “The prosecution convinced the jury Raniere was a monster, using incendiary witness testimony, emails and texts unrelated to the charges.
“The charges all evaporate upon scrutiny and are a mockery of real victims of real sex trafficking and forced labor.
“Consider, a privileged white woman who participated in a single, freaky, kinky sex act with another woman that she co-designed, without money changing hands, is paraded as a sex trafficking victim.
"It is a blasphemous, despicable misuse of the sex trafficking statute and an insult to all those poor minority women who are really trafficked for months or years through hundreds of horrific encounters."
Despite being found guilty, Raniere and his supporters make the following claims in their letter to Trump which they say show “horrid injustices”:
Sex trafficking charge They claim: "A 29-year-old white actress from an affluent family had a sexual fantasy between her and another woman, which Raniere helped faciliate. No money changed hands and it was consensual every inch of the way. He is now serving 40 years in prison for sex trafficking based on a single sexual encounter."
Forced Labor They claim: "The same actress transcribed a few hours of video for a friend’s memorial service and read some articles. She never objected to the work and appeared glad to do it. She also had access and availed herself of up to $10,000 in cash from Raniere, which she used and so was in effect overpaid for her minimal desk-work labor. He is now serving 40 years in prison for forced labor."
Evidence "tampered" with within FBI custody They claim: "The lynchpin of the case against Raniere was a concocted child porn possession – the nude photos of a girl alleged to be fifteen at the time. The FBI expert witness admitted in cross examination that one of the devices that contained the pictures – was accessed and altered by an unknown person while in FBI custody. Both devices were obtained through an illegal search and seizure and multiple experts corroborate they were tampered with."
Judge dismissed witness They claim: "Judge Garaufis amazingly stopped the cross-examination of the main witness Lauren Salzman right before she was about to contradict claims made in her plea agreement, which Garaufis accepted prior to the trial. Garaufis remarkably said, 'before I'm a judge, I'm a human being' in justifying stopping critical testimony of a 40-year-old woman because she started crying…Chivalry may be good but not in a courtroom where men and women should be treated equally under the law."
Alleged unconstitutional use of RICO They claim: "Laws created to prosecute the mafia were used to implode a middle-class suburban community in upstate New York with no history of violence, drugs, weapons or criminal activity of any kind."
Prosecution allegedly intimidated potential witnesses: They claim: "Using RICO as their sword, the prosecution systematically threatened to indict anyone who didn’t conform or wished to testify for the defense or speak publicly about anything that contradicted the DOJ’s pre-crafted, highly slanted, false narrative."
False Imprisonment allegation They claim: "An adult woman, ‘Daniela,’ claimed she was ‘forced’ to stay (rent-free) in her unlocked bedroom in her father’s house for 22 months and, incredibly, blamed it on Raniere. Raniere believed she had severe mental and emotional problems and tried to help the family find a way to help her get well through reflection and contemplation. At any time she was free to leave the room and it was her parents, not Raniere, that made all the efforts to facilitate their daughter remaining in her room. It was the woman herself who chose to stay month after month as an act of stubborn defiance to her parents and friends."
Judge let women use first names or nicknames They claim: "Judge Garaufis allowed the prosecution’s female witnesses to testify under a nickname or first name only … It was a circus sideshow: Any woman who opposed Raniere was referred to by first names only. Any woman who supported Raniere was referred to in court by both her first name and last name."
Some of the victims allegedly had motive to lie They claim: "Several of the witnesses had good reason to lie to cover their own crimes, including illegally entering the country, hacking into computers, and stealing property with the intent to blackmail. They were all represented by the same civil lawyer in the criminal case and are now seeking financial reward in a class-action suit against Raniere."
The pardon bid comes after Raniere made a last-ditch plea for help from behind bars to have his conviction overturned in a recording leaked to The Sun.
He also requested a retrial – but his motion was blocked by the US government.
The Sun reached out to the US Attorney's Office, which brought the case against Raniere and Nxivm, for comment.
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