Jailed NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere is left unconscious after being punched in the head by inmate before being put with intersex prisoner next to a cage smeared with human feces
Keith Raniere, the leader of notorious sex cult NXIVM, was assaulted in his prison in Arizona by another inmate, leaving him unconscious and nauseous for a week
Convicted sex cult leader Keith Raniere has been beaten up and knocked unconscious in his prison in Tucson, Arizona by another prisoner – before being housed with an intersex inmate next to a cage smeared with human feces.
Raniere, who is serving his first year of a 120-year sentence, says he was assaulted by Maurice Withers as he walked to his table with his food one morning, and faced disciplinary action for ‘fighting’ despite not fighting back.
Withers, 33, was put behind bars for sex trafficking crimes in Madison, Wisconsin and punched Raniere in the face, leaving him with a black eye and nausea for a week, despite never having spoken to him before.
‘I was given a disciplinary ticket for ‘fighting’ and have had my privileges revoked and was placed in segregation ‘pending investigation,’ Raniere said, also claiming he ‘did not fight back’ in the sworn affidavit on September 6.
He remains in a segregation unit, a housing unit set aside from the general population, and his lawyers contend he should have been ‘returned to his normal housing.’
Raniere believes the prison is retaliating against him because he is appealing his conviction based on allegations the FBI are framing him
Raniere has been forced to spend hours in cells smeared with human feces, is housed with an intersex female prisoner according to his lawyers
While Raniere is said to have branded his female ‘slaves’ on their public area with his initials, Withers reportedly has a tattoo that reads ‘Ain’t no money like hoe money,’ according to prosecutors.
The former NXIVM ringleader has reportedly been forced to spend hours in cells smeared with human feces, is housed with an intersex female prisoner and is allowed only one five-minute phone call a month, among other grievances.
‘Currently he is allowed one five-minute phone call per month, he cannot have a razor, he has no access to legal resources, and given books ‘at staff discretion,” his lawyers say.
Raniere says he believes these measures and the disciplinary ticket are ‘retaliation for the recent publicity that my case has received as a result of my efforts to challenge my conviction.’
He was convicted in 2019 of all charges of sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and racketeering charges with underlying acts that included possession of child pornography, extortion and identify theft.
His lawyer, Stacy Scheff, says the disciplinary ticket was eventually dropped but also believes the prison warden was aware Raniere was victimized but is attempting to retaliate as Raniere is appealing his conviction.
Raniere was assaulted in the dining hall of his prison by inmate Maurice Withers, 33, another convict put behind bars on sex trafficking offenses
A court sketch of Raniere in June 2019 when he was convicted of seven counts including child porn and sex trafficking
Victims of the cult told prosecutors how Raniere and other leaders branded them with a burning piece of metal
The cult leader’s legal team believe they have a chance to have his convictions thrown out over the FBI’s alleged bungles and fabrications.
Their report points to alleged ‘anomalies with the FBI search’, such as the unusual manner in which agents collected evidence from Raniere’s study at a home in Halfmoon, New York in March 2018.
They claim that investigators ‘bypassed’ several areas of the home and went ‘straight to a study area where, under a desk, were the very first two evidentiary items they collected: the Canon digital camera along with its camera card.’
Those two items were, ‘notably,’ the ‘only two pieces of digital evidence the government used to prove the child pornography and child exploitation RICO acts, which would stem from an allegedly accidental discovery of photos eleven months later,’ the report states.
In an interview with DailyMail.com, a top former FBI cyber forensics expert hired by Raniere’s attorneys believes there were bungled procedures, manipulation of evidence and even an apparent effort to ‘frame’ the cult leader for his child sex conviction.
Richard Kiper, who used to train the trainers of FBI cyber forensics experts before he retired in 2019, told DailyMail.com that the Canon camera was made in 2004, but the timestamps on some of the photos were from 2003.
Kiper also claimed that metadata on one of the photos shows it was manipulated in Adobe Photoshop.
The expert also told DailyMail.com that one FBI agent, Michael Lever, allegedly broke protocol by taking the camera and card out of the evidence locker twice for a total 24 days in September 2018, before the Bureau conducted its forensic analysis.
NXIVM was partially bankrolled by Seagram’s heiress Claire Bronfman, who was prosecuted alongside Raniere and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain and to fraudulent use of identification in April 2019.
Her lawyer, Duncan Levin, said the evidence of tampering by the FBI was cause to throw out all the NXIVM convictions.
‘Society cannot live in a world where law enforcement is tampering with evidence,’ he said.
‘If these allegations are true, it means that all of the defendants in the case should have all of the charges thrown out. There should be no opportunity for a do-over for the government.’