Lauren Salzman, who pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of extortion and extortion conspiracy in March, told juries that for years Keith Raniere, 58, was the most important person in her life.
"He is my mentor. My teacher," Salzman said. "We have a romantic relationship. Physical and sexual relations."
Salzmann has admitted to being a member of a secret association in Nxivm known as DOS, where dozens of women are considered "masters" or "slaves".
Raniere, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, appeared in court wearing a blue sweater, flanked by his lawyer. He watched the prosecutor question the witness.
Salzman did not seem to make eye contact with Raniere when he testified.
He said that he met Raniere when he was 21 years old, in 1995. Raniere later became present in his life and they had sex for the first time in April 2001, Salzman said.
But that did not stop Raniere from being suspected of having relations with other women in the group.
"For me, it is a monogamous relationship," Salzman said, adding that he was not allowed to see other people.
Raniere promised to have children with him as a way to make him stay, but that didn't happen, Salzman said.
The witness said he took his nude photo and asked for another naked woman
He also told the jury that Raniere took his nude photo and gave him 100 lbs of weight. after he stripped his underwear and judged his body.
Nxivm operates like a multilevel marketing scheme, encouraging members to take classes that cost $ 5,000, according to court records.
This prompted members to take more classes to advance and recruit other members to help create more income, which made some members indebted to Nxivm himself, according to the FBI's written statement.
But while it was underway, a DOS meeting asked Salzman and other women to take nude photos of themselves and send them to Raniere when he could not attend the meeting, Salzman said. And when he can attend the meeting, said Salzman, he and the others will strip and sit on the floor in front of him while he holds a court, fully clothed, talking about group projects, such as books or underground prisons they work on.
Raniere was so adored in the group that the mythology of his ability to control the weather or paralyze the electronics before him became a legend in the group.
"He will say that the technology is in action and he has a problem like this," Salzman said. "That it is something special about him. That is his energy. The impact is on the world."
Salzman is expected to continue his testimony on Monday.