The NXIVM guru wants a new judge to rule on the claims of evidence

NEW YORK – Lawyers for Keith Raniere, the former leader of the cult-like NXIVM group, want a new federal judge to review a motion for a new trial filed last week arguing that federal authorities have charged Raniere with using child pornography on a placed computer hard drive.

Raniere’s attorneys target US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in new court documents, alleging he displayed a “lack of legal temper” and “deep-seated, outright hostility” toward Raniere throughout the trial that landed the disgraced self-improvement guru in federal prison for 120 years for a sex trafficking conspiracy.

They cited a heated exchange last year in which Garaufis threatened to have one of Raniere’s lawyers arrested during a reparations hearing at which Raniere was ordered to pay 21 victims $3.5 million, a sum that covered the cost of the surgical removal of scars from branding rituals performed by a secret sorority.


“Only a new judge can fairly rule on further questions in this case without these pre-existing biases and prejudices,” attorney Joseph Tully wrote Friday in a filing in Brooklyn federal court. “Anyone who entered the courtroom and witnessed Judge Garaufis’ outrageous statements at the trial, at the reparation hearing or at the sentencing hearing would have concluded that the judge was biased towards Mr. Raniere and his attorney.”

The federal prosecutor’s office has not yet responded to the application for the exclusion of Garaufis. They have denied Raniere’s claims that the government tampered with evidence.

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Joel McCord

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