Sex cult case against ‘Smallville’ actress set to get even bigger as new indictment looms
Federal prosecutors said cast of sex trafficking and forced labour case will expand, with more charges and additional suspects
The bombshell case against alleged sex cult leader Keith Raniere and actress Allison Mack could get a bigger cast of characters.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors said on Friday they expect more charges and additional suspects in the sex trafficking and forced labour case.
A superseding indictment could come in about a month, Assistant US Attorney Moira Penza told Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
Penza did not name any potential new targets.
Prosecutors accuse Mack of recruiting women for a secret society inside Raniere’s purported self-help group NXIVM.
But prosecutors said the covert group was really Raniere helping himself to women.
Some of the women were branded with a symbol prosecutors say includes Raniere’s initials.
Raniere and Mack listened as Penza told the judge to stay tuned.
Mack – best known for her role on the Superman series Smallville – sat two seats from Raniere. But they never looked directly at each other.
It was the first time Raniere, 57, and Mack, 35, were in the same room since Mexican authorities arrested him in March at a luxury villa with a US$10,000 weekly bill.
Mack is out on US$5 million bond and under house arrest in California.
Raniere’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said he would be filing a bail application in the coming weeks. Prosecutors will fight any bail bid for a man they say is dangerous, has foreign ties and access to oodles of cash.
“It cries out for the other side of the story,” Agnifilo said.
He said Raniere’s innocent and the women he got involved with were consenting adults.
Garaufis scheduled an October 1 trial date.
Penza said there would be reams of evidence coming, including seized computers, electronic devices and email accounts.
Toni Natalie, an ex-girlfriend of Raniere, showed up at court on Friday. She told reporters Raniere is a “sociopath” and that she broke up with him in 1999. Ever since, Raniere and his minions have been terrorising her with lawsuits, she said.
Natalie said the cultists also put viruses in her computer to melt down her health supplements businesses. At the time of his arrest, she said, Raniere was behind a pending lawsuit against her in Mexico.
“It’s terrorism by litigation,” Natalie, 59, said. “For me to see him held accountable, it’s pretty important.”
After court, Natalie talked about the prosecutor’s expectation of further charges. “There’s so much more,” she said. She added that the case brought so far “is literally the tip of the iceberg”.
Agnifilo said the case would boil down to whether jurors believed witness testimony.
“At the end of the day, this is a case about consent,” the lawyer said.
Outside court, he told reporters that Raniere would beat the case because “the truth is on our side”.
He said it was “utterly uncontroversial” when groups of men branded each other. “But a group of women decide to brand themselves and all of the sudden, we assume they’re victims ... A lot of adult, strong-minded, free-willed women made decisions for their own lives and made their own choices. That’s what the evidence is going to show.”
Mack flashed a smile and said “thank you” to Raniere’s lawyers as she walked out of the courthouse. She and her lawyers did not comment to the media scrum outside.