In a speech before the court, Mr. Raniere, wearing blue prisoner clothes, maintained his innocence and said some of the victims were lying. He said he was “deeply sorry,” arguing that he did not mean to cause so much pain and anger.
“Where I am is caused by me,” Mr. Raniere said. “This is all my doing.”
As Mr. Raniere waffled between apologizing and blaming the women, one of his victims and ex-girlfriends, Toni Natalie, buried her head in her hands.
After the victims’ statements, Mr. Raniere’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, argued that his client never intended to hurt any women, saying he was in love with them and simply had trouble dealing with breakups. In a stunning moment, Judge Garaufis interrupted Mr. Agnifilo in the middle of his speech, yelling, “No!”
During a back-and-forth in which the two men shouted through face masks, Judge Garaufis spoke forcefully about how intent did not matter when a 45-year-old man sexually abuses a child.
“It’s an insult to the intelligence of anyone who listens,” the judge said.
Mr. Agnifilo did seem to acknowledge tensions with his client, saying that he had refused to file a motion claiming evidence tampering by the government even though Mr. Raniere asked him to. In recent months, Mr. Raniere has spearheaded a campaign to overturn his conviction, directing his supporters to create a podcast about his case and set up a contest to find errors in his prosecution in exchange for a $25,000 cash prize.
Another victim, India Oxenberg, told the court that Mr. Raniere tried to poison her relationship with her mother, the actress Catherine Oxenberg, whose efforts to extricate her daughter from the organization were part of a recent HBO documentary series about Nxivm called “The Vow.”