June 23, 2024

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Equality opinion

Marc Agnifilo, lawyer for NXIVM chief Keith Raniere, exits scenario

NEW YORK –  Marc Agnifilo defended NXIVM leader Keith Raniere in news conferences, spoke on his behalf in documentaries and sat beside him all through a virtually two-thirty day period trial in U.S. District Court docket in Brooklyn.

The protection lawyer and a further Raniere lawyer, Teny Geragos, marked their withdrawal as Raniere’s lawyers in letters filed in federal court on Feb. 23.

The attorneys are withdrawing as lawyers Jennifer Bonjean, Joseph McBride and Steven Alan Metcalf II have been employed to wage the enchantment of Raniere, formerly of Halfmoon, who centered his cult-like organization in Colonie for two a long time. It experienced branches in Vancouver, Mexico, Los Angeles, the condition of Washington, amid other places.

In June 2019, a jury convicted Raniere, now 60, of sexual intercourse trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering crimes that included underlying acts of possessing boy or girl pornography, extortion and id theft.

“Now that Mr. Raniere’s new counsel have entered appearances in this subject, I respectfully request to be formally relieved as counsel of file for Mr. Raniere,” Agnifilo claimed in a letter to Senior U.S. District Decide Nicholas Garaufis. “I have conferred with Mr. Raniere, educated him of my intent to withdraw and he agrees.”

Agnifilo said that Raniere would not be prejudiced by his departure for the reason that he has new attorneys.

It was unclear if Albany lawyer Paul DerOhannesian, who has defended Raniere alongside Agnifilo, would also be departing the scenario.

Agnifilo, joined by DerOhannesian, vehemently defended Raniere at news conferences exterior the federal courthouse in Brooklyn and in the courtroom. In one particular press briefing in May possibly 2018, Agnifilo downplayed the fact that gals in Raniere’s mystery “master/slave” group regarded as Dominus Obsequious Sororium, or DOS, were branded on their pelvic parts. Victims have mentioned they have been not instructed of the extent of the branding, the suffering or what the branding would appear like.

“There are properly-identified groups of adult men that brand name on their own. It is really completely uncontroversial. But a team of gals decides to brand by themselves, and all of a sudden they’re victims,” Agnifilo informed reporters.

In his closing argument to the jury in June 2019, Agnifilo told the jury the phrase “cult” would not assistance them in deliberations. “I think which is kind of a useless close. I think you have to glimpse at the articles and not be swayed by that word,” he said.

In the summation, he explained DOS was “not for all people.” But he proposed a previous “’slave” – a woman whom Raniere blindfolded, requested to disrobe and drove to a home in Halfmoon wherever she was sexually violated – could have been aided by it since she experienced formerly been suicidal and was not soon after DOS.

“Possibly it worked,” Agnifilo advised the jury. “It truly is potent drugs but it has to be employed in the suitable conditions with the proper people and the ideal time.”

The law firm mentioned Raniere and the lady experienced a “sweet, caring, everyday relationship.”

At Raniere’s sentencing, the woman informed Raniere she was appalled to learn Raniere at the time referred to DOS members as “(expletive)-toy intercourse slaves.”


“That was me,” she mentioned. “My existence meant nothing to you.”

Following Raniere was convicted, Agnifilo was criticized by Albany attorney Steve Coffey after Agnifilo advised NXIVM defector Barbara Bouchey, “Congratulations. I hope it assists. I seriously do.”

“You’re gonna discuss to Barbara Bouchey? You are heading more than to her and say, ‘I hope that you can heal?’ Are you f—ing kidding me? Actually?” Coffey explained to the Occasions Union.

Agnifilo appeared in “Seduced: Inside of the NXIVM Cult” and recently in a two-hour documentary on Dateline NBC about the circumstance.