An heiress of the former Montreal distillery Seagram, a television actress and co-founders of a so-called personal growth organization suspected of branding her female followers and forcing them to have sex, presented themselves together in court for the first time on Wednesday to face the charges against them.
Former NXIVM executive Keith Raniere and Allison Mack, best known for playing a teenage Superman girlfriend on “Smallville”, have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in a court document released earlier this year. week. They had previously pleaded not guilty to charges related to sexual exploitation.
The new indictment adds heiress Clare Bronfman, daughter of wealthy Montreal businessman Edgar Bronfman Jr., and co-founder Nancy Salzman as co-defendants. The two women also pleaded not guilty.
Keith Raniere is being held without bail, while Ms. Bronfman was released after posting a $ 100 million bail. Ms. Mack and Ms. Slazman were released under bonds of $ 5 million each.
The three women left the courthouse without speaking to reporters. They denied any misconduct.
A lawyer representing Keith Raniere, Mark Agnifilo, again argued that the alleged victims had never done anything against their will.
“It was about choices made by adult people about how to be with each other,” said the lawyer.
On Wednesday, the judge postponed the start of the trial until 7 January.
Earlier this year, Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico and repatriated to the United States to face charges. He is accused, along with actress Allison Mack, of forcing his followers to become “slaves”.
Despite criticism from former devotees who described the organization as a cult and a pyramid scheme, NXIVM’s personal development classes have attracted thousands of people, including some Hollywood personalities.