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November 25th, 2013
10:12 PM ET

James Ray on leaving immediately after sweat lodge deaths: "There's many things I wish in retrospect I could do differently, but I was scared"

In July, former motivational speaker and self-help guru James Arthur Ray was released from prison, having served 20 months following the deaths of three people at an Arizona sweat lodge he was supervising.

Joining "Piers Morgan Live" for an exclusive interview, the 56-year-old who was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide admitted to some of his personality flaws:

"Was I arrogant? Yes. I have that characteristic, I can be arrogant. And I think there's a lot of hubris that comes in my former business. You know, people flying all over the world and asking me how to have a better life," explained Ray. "It tends to go to your head. You know? You tend to think you've got all the answers, and so you get humbled."

Routinely expressing remorse for those that were injured or perished in the incident outside Sedona, Ariz., Ray also admitted to fleeing almost immediately after he realized he might be facing trouble:

"Within the first five minutes, the detective told me that they were investigating it as a homicide, and I was already in shock. And I was like 'what?'" he told Piers Morgan. "I called my lawyer, and my lawyer said 'get out of there.' I told him what the detective said, he said 'get out of there.' They'd seized my room, there was nowhere to go. And so I left. And again, there's many things I wish in retrospect I could do differently, but I was scared."

Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with James Ray, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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  1. S hall

    When will the families file wrongful death suit. If they haven't now is the time to start. This man is clearly a SCAM. He need to pay for every minute those people SUFFERED. Hope Ms. Winfrey will choose guest more carefully before blowing them up and MONEY is the only object. He shouldn't be treated any different than others who had way less evidence of a crime and paid DEARLY .

    November 26, 2013 at 12:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. lee

    It isn't right to glorify a non native to misuse one of our most sacred ceremonies to end the lives of three people to just serve only 20 months in prison,If it was one of us real lakota, we would probably get a few life terms

    November 26, 2013 at 12:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. vin

    Those of you that post here that never heard of James Ray, listen to his past seminars. I have some of his past ones and still listen to them. Some are ten years old. He is as honest a person as can be. Yes I feel for what happened. I truly believe he had no idea what was happening. None that passed were old, handicapped, sick etc. All were healthy mid aged people. If you go listen to his past speaches you have to like the guy. He's as honest a person there is. He truly tried to help people. And he has. I listen to his seminars still. They truly are inspiring. And will still listen to them. I wait till he has new ones. You will love the one he talks about Mourice the shoe shine person at the Minneapolis airport. I wish the best for Jim and know he will bounce back.... Go find and really listen to his talks. In fact he was the first that showed that equal is bad for you. It was in one of his speaches. Looking forward to when he speaks again nd hope he is close so I can attend.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Craig

      You are right in what you said Vin.. He did fry people, now wake up and smell the roses.. James is a Sociopath! No two ways about it! I will pray for you, because you are out of your mind. James is an uneducated motivational speaker who's motivation comes from lining his pockets with cash.. Nothing else. He lives on coning gullible people like you! these are facts!

      November 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Robin

    James Ray has served his sentence and is obviously remorseful. Shame on you Piers to keep digging and digging and digging. Have you never made a horrible mistake? Honestly, today's society just seems to love to kick anyone who is down. That is not right. The man was judged, found guilty, and paid the price that the judicial system imposed. If someone needs to be kicked, it may be the judicial system, but definitely not Ray James. I used to watch your program on a daily basis Piers because you stood up for things that mattered such as gun control. Now you just do interviews that are absolutely ridiculous. Shame on you. So much capacity wasted on fluff instead of focusing on international and national happenings that really matter such as how to improve schools, education, eradicate poverty, help the mentally ill, gun control, etc. Stop this madness of kicking people when they're down. That is not good for you or for anyone.

    November 26, 2013 at 8:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Hmmm

    Robin and Vin are followers and can't see the truth.

    James Ray is a sociopath. He only slightly admitted remorse etc, after being prodded. His first instinct was to try and make people sorry for his Mom because she has cancer and how hard it was for him to deal with that and not the deaths he caused. He also said there was still no proof of the sweat lodge being too hot, that he didn't really want to have a sweat lodge but contracts made him do it, that he didn't hear cries for help while in the sweat lodge. Those are blatant lies.

    That is just a small example of the lies he was telling during interview. If you want to bury your head in the sand about this guy, go ahead. But don't pretend he is some kind of nice guy etc. You obviously nothing about him.

    November 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Craig

    James Ray is your typical sociopath. Anyone with a thinking brain can see this just by looking in his eyes. He comes out and is concerned with his mom's health trying to play the victim as a typical momma's boy. He killed 3 people, so don't be easy on this guy. He should have spent more time in jail for his crimes. These people rarely change. I am surprised a woman like Oprah with enormous integrity didn't see through this man.. He is so obvious.. James is a nobody with tremendous inner pain brought on in early childhood most likely by a bad dad.. His issues and problems needed to be dealt with there, not acted out on society by an ego maniac.. So sad!

    November 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sweatlodge Participant

    I was there – this man is a delusional, egotistical sociopath. He will tell any lie - he can cry on demand - he will play the pity on me card - but in the end leopards do not change their spots – and he certainly will not. Anyone who listens to this man is would be better off seeking the counsel of a professional or better yet, finding their own answers within.

    November 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sally

    This is just phase one of the glorious sleezy comeback, folks. Facilitated by Piers Morgan, who shares the same agent as James Ray. A man named John Ferriter. You can look it up.

    November 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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