NEW YORK (AP) – TV actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty Monday of allegations that she was involved in a plan to turn women into sex slaves for the spiritual leader of a cult-like New York group, a development that came on the same day the jury started selection for a federal process in the case.
Mack, 36, cried when she admitted her crimes and apologized to the women who, according to prosecutors, were exploited by Keith Raniere and the alleged self-help group NXIVM.
"I believed Keith Raniere's intentions were to help people, and I was wrong," Mack told a Brooklyn judge.
Mack – best known for her role as a young Superman & # 39; s close friend in the "Smallville" series – said that after months of thinking since her arrest, "I know I can and will be a better person."
The actress must be sentenced on 11 September on two racketeering counts, each with a maximum of 20 years in prison. However, it is likely that she will be given much less time under the punishment guidelines.
The plea is that Mack will prevent him from being tried by Raniere, the rich heiress Clare Bronfman and another member of Raniere & # 39; s household circle, Kathy Russell. All have not pleaded guilty and denied any offense.
About two hours after Mack's guilty plea, potential jury members got their first glimpse of the captured Raniere in a procedure in which they were instructed on questionnaires to be completed as a first step in the selection process. Opening statements are scheduled for April 29 for a trial that is expected to last up to six weeks.
The question of who would be sitting at the defense table that day remained unanswered in the aftermath of new allegations that Raniere exploited a teenage girl. The accusations gave his co-defendants an additional incentive to search for individual processes and to negotiate arguments.
Court papers claim that NXIVM was a secret society of women who were branded with the initials of Raniere and forced to have sex with him. Defense lawyers have insisted that any relationship between Raniere and the alleged victims, including an unidentified actress and other women who were expected to testify against him during the trial, was a consensual agreement.
On Monday, Mack said she was moving toward Raniere compromise information and images of two unidentified women – & # 39; collateral & # 39; within the group – that had been obtained – that she threatened to make public if she & # 39; so-called acts of love & # 39; did not perform.
The jury's questionnaire addresses a variety of topics, including asking candidates for their opinions on "rich individuals" and people "entering into relationships with multiple sexual partners" and whether they "believe that people younger than 17 should be able to to give permission for sex with adults. "
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