The accused cons got conned.
High-ranking members of the alleged sex cult Nxivm tried to get dirt on their enemies by hiring private investigators to dig through foes’ financial records — only to be given phony documents themselves, lawyers said Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court.
Prosecutor Moira Penza told Judge Nicholas Garaufis that she wants jurors seated on the sex-trafficking case of alleged cult leader Keith Raniere to see the fake documents, in order to prove the lengths Nxivm went to try to undermine its perceived critics.
Penza said the documents were evidence of a “covert mission to gather this type of information on individuals they believed were enemies.”
Targets included the likes of Edgar Bronfman Sr., the Seagram’s billionaire dad of member Clare Bronfman, GOP operative Roger Stone, cult expert Rick Ross, the Albany Times Union newspaper and even federal judges overseeing the group’s legal battles, prosecutors said.
Yet the scheme failed when the group enlisted a Canadian company that instead scammed them by handing over fake financial dossiers, Penza said. The documents were discovered in the basement of Nxivm President Nancy Salzman, along with $500,000 in cash.
“They laid down with dogs, and maybe they got fleas, and maybe they got defrauded,” Penza told Garaufis of Nxivm.
Raniere’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, objected to jurors seeing the forged documents unless they were introduced during testimony from Kristin Keeffe, who he says was in charge of the alleged spying operation.
“They don’t want to call her because they’re afraid of the cross examination!” Agnifilo said of prosecutors.
Keeffe shares a child with Raniere and was a long-time member of Nxivm before she defected in 2014.
“They’re basically trying to take a dump truck and back it into the courtroom and dump it into the jury box,” Agnifilo added of prosecutors.
Penza retorted, “Mr. Agnifilo’s also afraid of Kristen Keeffe, because the defendant tortured her.”
Raniere is accused of heading a secret sorority within Nxivm in which women were starved, branded and told to have sex with him.
Tuesday’s court battle ensued after Raniere’s trial was postponed due to an alternate juror’s unspecified illness. Garaufis has yet to rule if the documents will be admitted.
Agnifilo told The Post that Nxivm uncovered the con after asking for and receiving bank statements for Raniere, a proclaimed renunciate who has no back accounts.
The trial is expected to resume Wednesday.
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