There were a number of major developments in the case against six members of NXIVM on Wednesday, starting with a guilty plea from one the individuals on trial.
Nancy Salzman, the woman who co-founded the group with Keith Raniere, broke down in tears as she entered a guilty plea to one count of racketeering while apologizing to her daughter and co-defendant, Lauren.
She said that it took a great deal of soul searching to arrive at her decision, and then struggled to gather herself as she stated: ‘I am deeply sorry for the trouble I have brought to my daughter.’
Salzman did this without a plea deal in place and said she was eager to begin atoning for hers sins, with her crime carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
At the same time, attorneys for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York began laying out their case against the remaining five members of the group, who in addition to NXIVM were also involved in the branded sex cult DOS.
The most shocking claims to emerge out of a memorandum filed in court this week by prosecutors was that Raniere allegedly raped two underage women for years.
Raniere was also in an ‘intimate relationship’ with billionaire heiress Clare Bronfman, claim the documents, who had previously been funding the legal defense for her five co-defendants but is now distancing herself from the group.
Guilt trip: Nancy Salzman (above on Wednesday) entered a guilty plea to a charge of racketeering in court on Wednesday, breaking down as she spoke
Bombshells: The US Attorney’s Office filed a new memorandum stating that they would present evidence that Keith Rainiere raped two minors for years at trial (memo above)
‘I am pleading guilty because I am in fact guilty,’ said a shockingly frank and emotional Salzman.
‘I got involved with NXIVM because I believed we would be helping people, and I still believe some good came out of it.’
The judge scheduled her sentencing for July, and it is unclear if she will now be testifying against her former co-defendants in the case.
‘NXIVM’s teachings and practices are no more inflammatory than the allegations surrounding the predicate acts and charged offenses themselves, which include keeping a woman in a room for nearly two years, nonconsensual sex, extreme diets and sleep deprivation, sexually explicit photographs and branding of Raniere’s initials on women’s bodies without their knowledge,’ states the new prosecution filing, submitted on Monday.
Those underage rape claims were revealed in greater detail further down the documents.
That is where is was stated by prosecuters that many people ‘including the defendants, were aware of and facilitated Raniere’s sexual relationships with two underage victims.’
The first was ‘a fifteen-year-old girl who was employed by Nancy Salzman and who—ten years later—became Raniere’s first-line ‘slave’ in DOS.’
The second was ‘a child whose sexual relationship with Raniere was known to, and facilitated by, members of the Enterprise.’
The prosecution also revealed how they would be offering proof of these crimes, stating that they were in possession of ‘dated images of the victim, constituting child pornography, that were created and possessed by Raniere.’
There is also ‘electronic communications between the victim and Raniere reflecting their sexual relationship and indicating that it began when she was fifteen years old.’
Allegation: He photographed one of these underage children performing a sexual act that will be used as evidence said the prosecution, noting the photo is dated
Court date: Bronfman (left in October) and Allison Mack (right in May) will be in court next week
Shortly after, the government presented how they would make a case on those counts of human trafficking that Rainiere and Smallville star Allison Mack are facing at this time.
‘At trial, the government will offer evidence that the defendants and their co-conspirators sought to secure visas and immigration status for certain non-citizens so that they could work in one or more NXIVM-affiliated organizations or as sexual partners for Raniere,’ reads the memorandum.
‘The evidence relating to this conduct will consist, in large part, of testimony from the same witnesses who will testify regarding the charged offenses.’
Kathy Russell actually took care of housing one of these ‘slaves,’ leasing ‘the property for over seven years and, each year, paid the rent in cash and in full.’
Mack meanwhile engaged in a ‘sham’ marriage with a woman who ‘recruited DOS “slaves” who pledged loyalty and obedience both to her and to Raniere, their “Grandmaster.”‘
The memo also details how the government plans to show the ways that the defendants ‘protected Raniere and the Enterprise by, among other things, attempting to silence and intimidate DOS slaves and issuing public statements falsely denying Raniere’s involvement in DOS.’
One example that is offered involves comment that Bronfman made after she ‘received letters from separate DOS victims requesting the return or destruction of collateral, which included descriptions of the collateral, including nude photographs and videos.’
Despite having seen those letter, Bronfman still publicly stated that DOS was a ‘sorority’ which had ‘truly benefited the lives of its members, and does so freely.’
She went on to state: ‘I find no fault in a group of women (or men for that matter) freely taking a vow of loyalty and friendship with one another to feel safe while pushing back against the fears that have stifled their personal and professional growth.’
A brief mention is also made of a campaign launched by Bronfman and Raniere to lure former members to Mexico where there were reportedly warrants out for their arrest.
Prosecutors also plan to hone in on the subservient role that woman play and are taught to play in the organization.
‘Nxivm’s teachings about women’s allegedly prideful natures and willingness to “play the victim,” and the emphasis in Nxivm’s teachings on penances and “ethical breaches,” are interwoven into Jane Doe 4 and the DOS victims’ experiences,’ sattes the memo.
‘These concepts also appear throughout the documents that will be trial exhibits, including emails between the victims and the defendants.’
It then cites: ‘For example, Jane Doe 4 and Raniere exchanged at least 300 emails discussing her supposed “breach” and approximately 400 emails discussing her acting like a “victim.”‘