NEW YORK -- A jury has begun deliberating at the trial of the former leader of an upstate New York self-help group that prosecutors say branded women.
The deliberations in the case against Keith Raniere (rah-NEER'-ee) started Wednesday morning in federal court in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors have told jurors that said the 58-year-old Raniere's organization, called NXIVM (NEHK'-see-uhm), operated like a cult.
They said he formed a secret subgroup comprised of brainwashed female "slaves" who were branded with his initials and forced to have sex with him.
There also were accusations that he began having sex with one follower when she was 15 and took pornographic photos of her.
Lawyers for Raniere say that he never had any criminal intent and that his encounters with the women were consensual.