Allison Mack‘s legal team used the Church of Scientology as part of its defense in her sex trafficking case.
The actress was arrested on April 20 in and charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy in connection to the so-called self help organization NXIVM run by Keith Raniere. She was subsequently released on $5 million bond on April 24 and placed under house arrest at her parent’s home in California. Mack reportedly pleaded not guilty.
Mack’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against her on Friday, Dec. 28. According to court documents obtained by E! News, her team is seeking to “dismiss the four counts brought against her because those charges lack specificity, fail to state a claim under the applicable statutes, and are unconstitutionally vague as applied to her alleged conduct.”
In the court document, the former Smallville actress’ attorneys cited various court cases to prove their points, including one involving the famed church.
Her legal team referred to a case called Headley v. Church of Scientology Int’l in relation to her forced labor charges. They focus specifically on the idea of “serious harm.”
“The government argues that Ms. Mack obtained forced labor through ‘threats of serious harm,’ with serious harm being the embarrassment that would result from the exposure of one’s collateral,” the court document said. “Courts have found, however, that such an outcome, albeit embarrassing, does not amount to serious harm under the statute.”
Here’s where Scientology comes in. In the Headley v. Church of Scientology Int’l case, “the court did not find that plaintiffs were compelled to remain in the organization even though, if they chose to leave, they would be ‘excommunicated’ from their friends and family and labeled a ‘dissenter.'”
Her attorneys added, “The threat of reputational damage and isolation from loved ones therefore did not qualify as serious harm.”
Mack’s legal team is hoping to have the forced labor charge dropped due to failure to state a claim. They argue Mack “allegedly required personal favors in the context of a club or society membership, and never knowingly obtained or provided ‘labor or services'” that were prohibited in the Thirteenth Amendment (i.e. “instances of forced (i) prostitution, (ii) sweatshop work, and (iii) domestic service.”
When she was first arrested and charged with sex trafficking, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement, “As alleged in the indictment, Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere.”
He added, “The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, there were parts of NXIVM that included female “slaves” and “masters.” These “slaves” were allegedly branded and purportedly forced to engage in sexual activities with Raniere in exchange for money.
Mack’s alleged time in NXIVM occurred between February 2016 and June 2017.