Witnesses: a Self-help guru was a coward and bully

FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2019 file photo, Lauren Salzman leaves Brooklyn federal court in New York. The witnesses in NXIVM leader Keith Raniere, the trial on the trafficking in women at Tuesday, 21 May 2019, Salzman said that when the Mexican authorities broke the door on a villa in Puerta Vallarta to grab Raniere, she sat there and tried to stand while he hid in a closet. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK – a Self-help guru Keith Raniere was a coward during his arrest last year in Mexico on an AMERICAN sex-trade payment and a bully when dealing with a follower who failed to adhere to his twisted code of ethics, a witness testified Tuesday on Raniere in New York City for trial.

The trailer was confined to a bedroom for two years, the witness said, despite the passing of a note that implored: “Let me out. I’m coming undone.”

The hard portrait of Raniere was provided by Lauren Salzman, a former member of his inner circle in a group called NXIVM who pleaded guilty and is working with the government.

Salzman, 42, was recruited, along with TV actress Allison Mack, and others, for a secret society within NXIVM of women who prosecutors say were brainwashed by Raniere the leather, with his initials and the pressure in having sex with him.

Mack, a star of the TV series “Her,” has also pleaded guilty, but it is unclear whether they will testify.

Defense lawyers have insisted no contact Raniere had with the women was consensual.

Salzman told the jury on Tuesday that Raniere — haunted by the mounting news reports that the association was investigated, went to Mexico with Salzman, Mack and others to try to reconstitute the group. When Mexican authorities broke the door on a villa in Puerta Vallarta to grab him, Salzman was there and tried to stand while he hid in a closet, ” she said.

The scene made it clear that, although they had been programmed to Raniere first in times of trouble, “Keith would pick Keith,” she said.

The witness also detailed how Raniere prepared as followers of a family from Mexico with three daughters. According to the prosecutors, he sexually abused all three of the youngest starting at the age of 15.

The middle sister, whose full name is withheld by the prosecutor, had a quarrel with Raniere around 2010, Salzman said. He assigned Salzman for the recovery of the victim by ordering her in a bedroom in her family’s Albany-area home — with only a mattress and pen-and-paper — until she made amends to him in handwritten letters, ” she said.

What was expected to last no more than 10 days stretched into almost two years as Raniere refused to forgive the victim and let her back in the NXIVM community, the witness said. Her family finally back with her to Mexico and cut support.

“I was bad,” says Salzman, the cry called her role in the episode. “I think it’s atrocious. Of all the things that I did in this case was the worst.”

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