As NXIVM leader’s lawyers plan appeal, victims continue healing process

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As a new group of lawyers joining NXIVM leader Keith Raniere’s legal team plan to appeal his conviction, those impacted by the convicted sex trafficker continue healing from their experiences.

Lawyers Martin Tankleff, Joseph McBride, and Steven Metcalf II have joined the convicted sex trafficker’s legal team. Metcalf’s firm is affiliated with Christopher Darden, a prosecutor in the O.J Simpson trial. 

“We believe that when there’s a full presentation, the court of appeals will reverse this case,” Tankleff told NEWS10ABC.

“I understand that it’s their job to do their best for their client,” said Toni Natalie, who dated Raniere in the ’90s, “but I just don’t see how, with all of the evidence that was brought forth, that he should win on any level of appeal.”

Natalie says the relief that came with his conviction and 120-year sentence was much overdue, and she and other victims of the cult are at long last beginning to heal.

Raniere was recently transferred to a prison in Arizona, a move his team disagreed with. However, their request to keep him in Brooklyn was denied by the judge. Raniere is currently recovering from COVID-19, according to his lawyers, and they say they want to raise that on the appeal.

“He went from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania,” Metcalf explained, “then there were various different trips before he actually got to Arizona…we later learned how grueling [that process] was.”

They say this journey also came at a time when they wanted to meet with Raniere to discuss the ongoing restitution process. “We do wholeheartedly believe that if this were anyone else, he would’ve been treated very differently,” said McBride, “but because it was Keith Raniere, he was treated unfairly. That seems to be the ongoing theme with him.”

The lawyers on Raniere’s team do not believe all the evidence at trial added up to the crimes of which he was convicted. “We, as being zealous attorneys, want to pursue each and every angle that could ensure that Mr. Raniere’s rights are protected,” said Tankleff.

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