A top aide in President Donald Trump's White House has been tied to NXIVM — a celebrity "sex cult" where women were branded and kept as sex slaves — through one of his clients.
BuzzFeed News reported Monday that five sources relayed that Joe Hagin, the president's deputy chief of staff for operations, worked with Libyan expat Basit Igtet, who capitalized upon the Arab Spring to make a comeback in his home country. Igtet and his wife, Seagram heiress Sara Bronfman, supported the NXIVM cult both financially and through proselytization.
Three sources told BuzzFeed that Hagin worked for Igtet on two occasions — to "help him build support for the rebel government that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and later he and his colleagues would run an international treasure hunt to try to recover Libya’s stolen billions in exchange for a massive payoff for his firm."
The longtime GOP presidential consultant was aware of Igtet and Bronfman's involvement with NXIVM, but continued to work with them because he saw a chance to get rich.
Former NXIVM publicist Frank Parlato — a man who later became a whistleblower for the spiritual self-help group that exposed founder Keith Raniere for physically branding his alleged "slaves" — told BuzzFeed that the cult emboldened Igtet's view of himself.
"Basit went through a transformation and became a student of Raniere's too,” Parlato said, adding that the group's leader "began to coach him that he could be the next leader of Libya."
In statements to BuzzFeed, Hagin admitted that he was aware of the couple's involvement with the alleged cult masquerading as a self-help group, and was once invited to a NXIVM meeting, but declined the invitation after having read about it.
"I have nothing to do with the group,” the Trump aide said. "I remember reading about it, and stayed away from it."