Victims of Nxivm sex-cult honcho Keith Raniere will be allowed to make impact statements as part of his upcoming sentencing — without having to reveal their full names, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Brooklyn federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis noted in his ruling that victims had been allowed to take the stand at Raniere’s six-week trial last year and testify against him without giving their full names.
“The court already granted a nearly identical application from the government permitting victims to testify under pseudonyms at his trial because … Mr. Raniere failed to identify a particularized need for this information to be disclosed in open court,” the judge said.
During the trial, witnesses — some assuming single-letter or one-word pseudonyms when taking the stand — told a federal jury Raniere was running a sex-slave ring within Nxivm where women were forced to pleasure him and get his initials branded on their bodies.
In court papers, prosecutors had argued that letting victims conceal their full names at the sentencing would protect them from retaliation and allow them to maintain their privacy.
An attorney for Raniere responded in a filing that there is no evidence the self-style guru has tried to retaliate against his accusers — and that he disputes the “victimhood” of anyone not named in the criminal indictment against him.
Garaufis noted in his ruling that Raniere will still be provided with the full name of witnesses who submit statements to the court.
Following the ruling, a lawyer for Raniere argued that while he may learn the names, their real identities will be sealed off to the public — so regular Joes still won’t know if the accusers are lying.
“If someone in the public knows ‘I know that couldn’t have happened because she was with me in Europe’ or something like that, we don’t get it,” Paul DerOhannesian told The Post.
Raniere faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for his June convictions on charges that include racketeering and sex trafficking.
Garaufis earlier this month postponed Raniere’s sentencing date indefinitely because the federal probation department had not finished a report on its recommendation for his punishment.
Raniere was initially arrested alongside several other Nxivm adherents — includingformer “Smallville” actress Allison Mack — but his was the only case that went to trial.
Seagram booze heiress Clare Bronfman, who bankrolled the group with her family fortune,pleaded guilty to harboring immigrants for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification and is set to be sentenced on Feb. 14.
Mack and other top members have also pleaded guilty to Nxivm-related charges and are yet to be sentenced.
(nypost.com,January 14, 2020)