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James Ray stands trial over sweat lodge death of Liz Neuman, two others

James Arthur Ray, in a promo shot and a booking photo.
James Arthur Ray, in a promo shot and a booking photo.

Self-help guru ​James Arthur Ray faces the music today in an Arizona court for holding a sweat lodge session for "spiritual warriors" that killed three people, including 49-year-old Liz Neuman, of Prior Lake.

Neuman died of multisystem organ failure nine days after the nightmare at Ray's Sedona retreat. James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, and Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., died in front of their fellow warriors. Eighteen others were injured.

They all paid $9,000 each for the experience.

All had gathered in the searing heat of the pitch dark sweat lodge after more than a day of fasting. Some witnesses described a freakish scene where Ray urged his clients not to quit, even as the disaster unfolded.

James Ray stands trial over sweat lodge death of Liz Neuman, two others

Charged with manslaughter, Ray denies the allegations. He maintains that a medical doctor was on hand to "make sure that everything was being run appropriately. I held people's hands, I stroked their hair, I talked to them, I held IV for the paramedics. I was there the entire time doing whatever I could do to help until I was detained by the detectives."

Opening statements start today.

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