Courtroom fills with laughter over Nxivm leader’s ‘bulls–t’ reputation

New York Post/June 6, 2019

By Emily Saul and Lia Eustachewich

An entire Brooklyn courtroom — judge and jurors included — burst into laughter Thursday as a witness in the Nxivm trial shared her unfiltered opinion on Keith Raniere’s god-like reputation in the alleged sex cult.

“It sounded like bulls–t to me,” the woman, only identified as Nicole, testified about how the Svengali-like leader was hailed as “the smartest man in the world” by his alleged sex slaves.

Her candid response sent ripples of chuckles through the federal courtroom, including from Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who held a hand over his mouth to stifle back laughs.

“Next question,” he choked out.

Raniere, who faces up to life in prison on sex-trafficking charges, remained stone-faced — but furiously wrote notes to his lawyer on tiny sticky notes.

Once the laughter died down and questioning continued, Nicole clarified, “It seems like a very arrogant thing to say.”

Nicole took the stand Thursday to recount her time as a Nxivm sex slave, saying she met alleged slave master and “Smallville” actress Allison Mack at an acting class.

The 31-year-old actress from California said her first encounter with the upstate New York cult was during “V Week” in 2015 — a 10-day celebration of Raniere’s birthday in August.

“They would very much put him on a pedestal,” Nicole recalled. “Maybe it’s because we were at ‘V Week’ and it’s 10 days dedicated to his birthday.”

She recalled being creeped out about Raniere’s all-powerful stature in the group — and admitted so to Nxivm member Emiliano Salinas, the son of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

“I don’t like situations where someone’s idolized,” she told Salinas while on a run together.

She said he told her, “Sometimes people just want to believe in something more.”

“I trusted him,” Nicole added.

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