In mid-June of 2019, Raniere was found guilty on seven charges by a jury, including two counts of sex trafficking, racketeering and forced labour conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York. Other charges include attempted sex trafficking, wire fraud conspiracy and racketeering
The jury took less than five hours to deliberate after a trial that lasted around six weeks. The trial featured some disturbing details, including stories of Raniere and NXIVM members “branding” women near their genitals to mark them as part of the so-called “sex cult.”
Now, according to an Albany Times Union report, Knox, 30, has confirmed that she was approached by NXIVM members to sign a petition to aid Raniere. The petition demands prosecutors answer questions about alleged tampering with the jury, evidence and witnesses in Raniere’s case.
Knox confirmed her involvement to the Times Union via email, saying she signed the petition to help ensure a legitimate judicial process. She spent four years in an Italian prison before her 2011 acquittal for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
“I was contacted by some former members of NXIVM who claim that Mr. Raniere has been wrongfully convicted, and that the story being told in the media is wrong,” she said to the outlet. “I personally do not know enough about the case to make any judgments about whether his conviction is wrongful or not.
“These supporters of Mr. Raniere asked me to sign a petition asking the prosecutors in the case to affirm some principles of prosecutorial conduct that any prosecutor should be able to affirm, such as not engaging in perjury, not tampering with evidence, and not threatening witnesses,” she said. “I signed the petition because violation of these practices would constitute prosecutorial misconduct, regardless of Mr. Raniere’s guilt or innocence.”
The lawyer for NXIVM’s alleged victims, Neil Glazer, sees the petition as meritless and a last-ditch effort to save Raniere from a life in jail while keeping a semblance of the group intact.
“It’s absurd in so many ways that I don’t know where to begin,” he told the Times Union. “I’ve never seen anything like this bizarre document in all my years of legal practice. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt, orchestrated by Raniere to throw up smoke and mirrors and to peddle conspiracy theories to keep his remaining disciples in the fold.”
The Times Union lists other signatories of the petition, including Valentino Dixon, a Buffalo, N.Y., man who spent 27 years in prison after being wrongly convicted for murder, and Diana Davison, the leader of Vancouver nonprofit The Lighthouse Project, which offers free assistance to the falsely accused.