The Latest: Lawyer says leader of secretive group innocent - InfoNews

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The Latest: Lawyer says leader of secretive group innocent

Attorney Mark Agnifilo representing Keith Raniere, speaks following Raniere's arraignment in federal court on Friday, April 13, 2018, in New York . (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
April 13, 2018 - 5:15 PM

NEW YORK - The Latest on the New York federal court appearance of Keith Raniere, who's accused of coercing female followers of his self-improvement program into having sex and getting branded with his initials (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

An attorney for the leader of a secretive group accused of coercing female followers into having sex and getting branded with his initials says he's innocent.

Attorney Marc Agnifilo appeared in a New York federal court Friday with his client Keith Raniere, who was arrested in Mexico weeks ago and has been ordered to remain behind bars.

Federal authorities in March raided an upstate New York residence connected to Raniere's group, called NXIVM (NEX'-ee-um). The cult-like organization also ran programs in Mexico.

The lawyer says the facts will show Raniere did not compel or pressure anyone to do anything. He says everyone was acting in accordance with his or her free will at every instant.

Raniere was brought to the United States from Mexico in late March to face charges of sex trafficking and forced labour conspiracy. He did not enter a plea.

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5:45 p.m.

The leader of a secretive group accused of coercing female followers into having sex and getting branded with his initials remains behind bars after a federal court appearance.

Keith Raniere responded "Yes, your honour" when the judge asked whether he understood the charges against him — sex trafficking and forced labour conspiracy.

Raniere was arrested in Mexico and brought to the United States on March 26. He did not enter a plea during the brief hearing Friday in Brooklyn. His attorney said no bail is currently being requested.

In March, federal authorities raided an upstate New York residence connected to Raniere's group, called NXIVM (NEX'-ee-um). The cult-like organization also ran programs in Mexico.

Onlookers in the courtroom included a former girlfriend of the defendant who left the group in 2009.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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