NEW YORK (Reuters) - Keith Raniere, the New York man accused of trapping women in a sex cult and having them branded with his initials, said Friday that he would call no witnesses at his trial, setting the stage for jurors to begin deliberating on his fate next week.
Raniere’s decision not to call witnesses or testify came after prosecutors finished presenting their evidence over six weeks of trial in Brooklyn federal court. Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday morning.
Raniere, 58, faces charges including racketeering, sex trafficking and child pornography. Prosecutors said he used his organization Nxivm, which billed itself as a self-help group, to hide a secretive sorority known as DOS in which young women were blackmailed into have sex with him, follow dangerously restrictive diets and be branded with his initials.
He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, has argued that no members of Nxivm were forced to do anything against their will.
If convicted of the most serious charges, Raniere faces life in prison.