In an NBC News exclusive interview, NXIVM founder Keith Raniere apologized for his role in “all of this pain and suffering” as the leader of the cult that made headlines for being charged with sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy and is the subject of HBO’s “The Vow.”
Raniere, who has not spoken out publicly since his arrest more than two years ago, also said he is planning on making a statement at his upcoming sentencing Oct. 27. He was convicted last year on sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering charges.
“Yes, I am innocent,” he told Dateline. “And although it is, this is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt, I think the main thrust of this has been the oppression but really a different issue, which is hard for me to express. There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”
Raniere also accused federal prosecutors of misconduct and alleged evidence tampering. He currently faces life in prison as a judge considers impact statements from more than 100 victims.
The interview was conducted by “The Vow” participant Frank Parlato, a former NXIVM spokesman who broke the story about the group and brought about Raniere’s conviction on his personal website. Parlato himself, along with business partner Chitra Selvaraj, face charges of wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering and corrupt interference with the administration of the IRS. Their trial has been delayed until next June, according to the Niagara Gazette.