Founder of self-help group heading to federal court

July 25, 2018 - 7:51 am

NEW YORK (AP) — The founder of a self-improvement group that's accused of branding some of its female followers and forcing them into unwanted sex is due before a federal judge in New York.

Keith Raniere has a pre-trial court appearance on Wednesday afternoon, along with one of the group's more high-profile adherents, TV actress Allison Mack.

On Tuesday, an heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune and three other people were arrested in the investigation into the upstate New York group, called NXIVM (NEHK'-see-uhm.)

Clare Bronfman is a daughter of the late billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr.

She's accused of taking steps to help Raniere exercise control over members, including identity theft, interception of electronic communications and money laundering.

All of the defendants deny any wrongdoing.

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