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Guru's words turned against him at trial

CAMP VERDE, Ariz., March 2 (UPI) -- Self-help guru James Arthur Ray told participants in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony they would feel like they were going to die, a tape at his trial revealed.

The prosecution used Ray's own voice to lay out their manslaughter case against him for the deaths of three people after a sweat lodge ceremony he conducted in October 2009, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix reported.

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"There's no sweat lodge like my sweat lodge," Ray said on the tape playing in court Tuesday. "You'll feel like you're going to die. I guarantee that."

At Tuesday's opening session prosecutor Sheila Polk let Ray do most of the talking by playing snippets from audiotapes Ray had recorded at the October event.

His attorneys had tried to keep the tapes out of the trial.

Polk said the most damning thing was that Ray did nothing as people began to pass out and otherwise experience distress during the 2 ½ hour heat-endurance event.

Ray, 53, is a self-realization book author and motivational speaker who used New Age beliefs to inspire his clients to physical, emotional and financial well-being.

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He faces as long as 30 years in prison if convicted on all three manslaughter counts for the deaths of Lizbeth Neuman, 49, of Minnesota, Kirby Brown, 38, of New York and James Shore, 40 of Wisconsin.

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