As Clare Bronfman awaits sentencing for her role in NXIVM, prosecutors on Monday alleged the Seagram’s heiress went to extreme lengths to protect the sex cult’s leader—including sending “threatening letters” and attempting to file criminal charges against women who alleged they were branded and manipulated into master-slave relationships.
“When I was at my most vulnerable, Clare Bronfman traumatized me,” one former NXIVM member wrote in a lengthy detention memo filed Monday.
In the memo, prosecutors detail Bronfman’s continued loyalty to the purported self-help group’s founder, Keith Raniere, and argue that she should receive a harsher prison sentence for her “obsessive” attempts to investigate and intimidate perceived critics of NXIVM. Bronfman, 40, who was once NXIVM’s operations director and one of its largest donors, pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification. Prosecutors asked the judge to give her a 60-month sentence, restitution for victims, and make her pay a $500,000 fine at her Sept. 30 hearing.
“Bronfman spent millions of dollars of her inherited fortune on Raniere’s endeavors. She pursued Raniere’s accusers and critics by dispatching powerful teams of lawyers, private investigators, and public relations firms to attempt to discredit them and dredge up information that could be used to undermine their claims,” the memo to U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said, claiming that even now “Bronfman continues to support Raniere.”
Raniere, 60, was convicted last June of seven offenses ranging from sex trafficking to racketeering conspiracy after prosecutors argued he had founded a criminal enterprise that allowed him to have sex with underage girls, force women he impregnated to have abortions, and command his “slaves” to illegally monitor his enemies. He is currently facing a life sentence.
Bronfman was one of five women who was charged with Raniere in 2018, alongside co-founder Nancy Salzman and her daughter Lauren, a top lieutenant; Smallville actress and alleged second-in-command Allison Mack; and the group’s bookkeeper, Kathy Russell. While all five pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, Salzman was the only one to testify against Raniere.
In the sentencing memo, prosecutors detail how Bronfman tried to discredit Raniere’s critics and show her unfailing loyalty for NXIVM, which began in 1998 and amassed an estimated 17,000 members, luring them in with $5,000 workshops that promised to give followers the skills to promote a path to “greater self-fulfillment.” Prosecutors, however, say it was an illegal pyramid scheme, sucking in new recruits who were made to recruit others, that also relied heavily on Bronfman’s unlimited bank account.
Prosecutors allege that Bronfman provided millions to NXIVM and Raniere’s various investment interests, including giving him $67 million because he “wished to invest in the commodities market…with no expectation that he would ever be in a position to pay her back (he didn’t).”
In 2017, several women in NXIVM came forward stating they were lured into the master-slave program, DOS, under the guise of a purported secret women’s empowerment group. In reality, they claimed, the women were forced to have sex with Raniere, blindly obey their “masters,” and brand themselves with his initials near their crotch with a cautery pen—without anesthesia.
Prosecutors allege that starting in July 2017, Bronfman received “approximately five emails from DOS victims requesting the return or destruction of their collateral,” or the blackmail material that DOS slaves would be forced to provide in a vow of obedience to Raniere and their “masters.”
‘Violated Once Again’: Prosecutors Reveal Heiress’ Vicious Attempts to Silence NXIVM Victims
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