The Smallville actress and Raniere appeared for a status conference related to allegations that they ran a sex cult within the self-help group Nxivm, which was founded by Raniere. Both have been charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor. They have entered not guilty pleas on all the charges.
Mack, 35, walked into Brooklyn federal court with her lawyers. She is on house arrest after being released on $5 million bond. Tuesday afternoon, a judge denied Raniere’s request for release on $10 million bond. Prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk because some high-ranking Nxivm members have the financial means to help him flee to Mexico. Nxivm has many wealthy members, including Clare Bronfman, the daughter of billionaire former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman.
According to AP, assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Penza labeled a person fitting the description of Bronfman as a co-conspirator in the case. She has yet to be charged with any crime.
Nxivm has announced on its website that the group is suspending “enrollment, curriculum and events until further notice.”
“While we are disappointed by the interruption of our operations, we believe it is warranted by the extraordinary circumstances facing the company at this time,” the message states. “We continue to believe in the value and importance of our work and look forward to resuming our efforts when these allegations are resolved.”
Raniere and Mack have been accused of running a women-branding secret sorority within Nxivm called DOS. (Short for a Latin phrase that roughly translates as “Master Over Slave Women.”) The actress allegedly ordered the “slaves” to perform sexual acts with Raniere, as detailed in disturbing court documents.
Texts from a 2015 exchange between Raniere and an unidentified woman were recently revealed in the documents, showing the depravity of DOS. “I think it would be good for you to own a f***toy slave for me, that you could groom, and use as a tool, to pleasure me…,” he allegedly wrote on Oct. 1, 2015.
In a message to the same woman the following week, Raniere apparently said he didn’t know all of the DOS members “well” but boasted, “I command them ultimately.”
Lawyers for Raniere said the texts were taken out of context, arguing: “These communications are not evidence of sex trafficking or any other crime. … The Government cherry-picked communications between Raniere and someone very close to him.”
In an interview with New York Times Magazine prior to her or Raniere’s arrest, Mack defended DOS, saying it’s “about women coming together.”
She also admitted that branding women was her idea. “I was like: ‘Y’all, a tattoo? People get drunk and tattooed on their ankle ‘BFF,’ or a tramp stamp. I have two tattoos and they mean nothing,’” Mack said, adding that she wanted to do something more meaningful.
It’s believed that Mack is working on a plea deal with prosecutors, but that has not been confirmed. A trial for the actress and Raniere has been set for Oct. 1.
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