the verdict
June 19, 2019

NXIVM founder Keith Raniere has been found guilty on all counts.

Raniere, who prosecutors said ran a "sex cult" within his purported self-help group, on Wednesday was found guilty on seven counts, including racketeering conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, and sex trafficking conspiracy, CNN reports. He was also found guilty of possession of child pornography, NBC News reports.

These charges come in connection with a sorority known as DOS, which operated within Raniere's group NXIVM. In the sorority, prosecutors say women were allegedly branded with Raniere's initials and required to hand over compromising material, including nude photos of themselves, and told it would be released if they tried to leave, The New York Times reports. Women in DOS were referred to as "masters" and "slaves," with prosecutors saying victims were "exploited, both sexually and for their labor." The group gained nationwide attention after a Times investigation published in Oct. 2017.

Former followers testified during Raniere's six-week trial in Brooklyn, with one saying she was sexually assaulted by Raniere after being instructed to seduce him, The Daily Beast reports. Raniere pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer during trial said that all of the relationships Raniere had with members of the organization were consensual, BuzzFeed News reports.

Smallville actress Allison Mack previously pleaded guilty to racketeering charges over her role in the alleged sex cult, saying that she "believed Keith Raniere's intentions were to help people, and I was wrong." Raniere will be sentenced on Sept. 25 and faces life in prison. Brendan Morrow

April 25, 2019

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano is blasting President Trump over Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, suggesting it proves he obstructed justice numerous times.

In an op-ed for Fox News, Napolitano wrote that Mueller's report includes "at least a half-dozen crimes of obstruction committed by Trump," including Trump allegedly asking his White House counsel to fire Mueller, something Trump has denied doing. "That's obstruction of justice," Napolitano definitively and repeatedly states in a video after running through a number of incidents described in the Mueller report.

The Fox News analyst ripped into the president for this behavior, writing, "ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable."

Napolitano also takes issue with Attorney General William Barr, saying he's "wrong" to say a person can't be guilty of obstruction if they aren't guilty of the underlying crime being investigated. Instead, Napolitano says, the "nearly universal view of law enforcement" is that any attempted interference with an investigation is obstruction, and the obstruction doesn't have to be successful to be unlawful.

Napolitano summarized the situation in a video, saying the report concludes that Trump "probably committed the crimes of obstruction of justice but probably should not be charged for them," which he calls a "head-scratcher." The question now, Napolitano writes in his op-ed, is whether Democrats will "utilize Mueller's evidence of obstruction for impeachment." Brendan Morrow

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