Ray 'Accepts Responsibility' but That 'Doesn't Make It a Crime,' Lawyer Says

"I think he should take responsibility for his role in this incident," Puckett said. "Honestly, I think he deserves to be behind bars. I think that he was completely negligent and I believe that he is responsible for my mother's death."

In a statement to ABC News in October, an attorney for Ray called the deaths a "terrible accident" but distanced the self-help guru from accountability.

"The facts are that Mr. Ray was not the one who was responsible for the design, construction or maintenance of the sweat lodge," the statement said.

Before his arrest and in response to media reports that Ray's legal team deemed "filled with inaccuracies and poisonous innuendo," the team posted two documents known as "The White Papers" on Ray's Web site under a section called "Setting the Record Straight."

"The White Papers," addressed directly to Bill Hughes, the Supervising Deputy County Attorney, presents in more than 60 pages what amounts to a defense against criminal charges of any kind.

"Criminal charges would compound this tragedy, regardless of outcome," the document says in its introduction. "Despite the innuendo in various media accounts, Mr. Ray did not lead or pressure participants into making a choice they otherwise would not have made."

Ray has been criticized for refusing to give investigators a statement concerning the deaths and for hosting two events after the deaths before he canceled an event in Toronto.

"In the days following the terrible accident, I struggled to respond the right way," Ray said on his Web site.

It's a rare admission for a man whose meteoric rise in the self-help industry was largely based on knowing just what to say.

'The Secret' to Self-Help Fame

Ray's self-help star rose dramatically in 2006 with the best-selling book "The Secret," which preaches "The Law of Attraction," the idea that people can attract anything they want -- money, love, improved health -- through the power of thoughts.

"In simple terms, if you are constantly thinking, feeling and acting broke, then you're never going to attract prosperity into your life," Ray told ABC News in a previously unaired 2007 interview with Dan Harris.

Supporters Call James Arthur Ray's Seminars Life-Changing

In that interview, Ray defended "The Secret" against critics who asked if the victims of 9/11 or the Holocaust are to blame for simply thinking incorrectly.

"I know people of the Jewish faith and heritage who don't necessarily believe the Holocaust was bad," Ray said. "Now that might be shocking to you but I have people on record who have said, hey there's a lot of good things that came out of that, a lot of lessons, a lot of opportunities for the world. "

In free meetings Ray gives a taste of his teachings -- which include a mix of spirituality, motivational speaking and quantum physics -- in a pitch that urges attendees to sign up for his multi-day seminars. These seminars, like the one in Sedona, can cost thousands of dollars.

The seminars are a mix of lecturing based on various self-help teachings and activities such as walking on coals, breaking wooden boards and the now-infamous sweat lodge, which are meant to push personal limits, one attendee said.

Donna Fleming, 60, told ABC News in October she felt "taken" after Ray convinced her to pay $6,000 for two seminars.

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