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Nxivm: Prosecutors provide some details of sex slavery in unsealed memo

[Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman]

In January, prosecutors filed a memo with the court in order to counter arguments by Nxivm defendants that their upcoming six-defendant criminal trial should be broken up into multiple trials.

That government document was filed under seal, but late on Friday Judge Nicholas Garaufis unsealed the memo, and we found that it contained some pretty interesting details about what prosecutors say they’re going to prove at trial.

The prosecutors were reacting to efforts by some of the defendants to unhitch themselves from Nxivm founder Keith Raniere and Smallville actress Allison Mack, who are facing charges of sexual trafficking among other charges associated with Nxivm and a subsidiary group known as “DOS.”

Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman, Nxivm bookkeeper Kathy Russell, and defendant Nancy Salzman proposed having the three of them handled in a separate trial because they were not involved in DOS. Nancy’s daughter, defendant Lauren Salzman, made another argument, that the trials be divided between those defendants facing sex trafficking charges and those who are not.

But in the memo, the government explains to Judge Garaufis why they don’t want separate trials, arguing that these are artificial divisions being proposed by the defendants…


By seeking to cast themselves as charged only with “bland white-collar” or “plain-vanilla” offenses…defendants Bronfman, Russell, and Nancy Salzman ignore that they are charged with the other defendants in an overarching racketeering conspiracy and that evidence regarding DOS is admissible against them as proof of the enterprise and the pattern of racketeering charged in the superseding indictment.

In order to prove that all six were part of a racketeering enterprise, the government is going to produce a lot of evidence of sexual conduct whether it had anything to do with DOS…

To establish the charged racketeering enterprise, the government expects to offer evidence of, among other things, intimate relationships between Raniere and members of the “inner circle”; efforts of the “inner circle” to recruit and groom sexual partners for Raniere; acknowledgements of so-called “ethical breaches” and the taking on of “penances”; extreme dieting at Raniere’s direction; and maintenance of “collateral” — all of which existed both within and outside of DOS and all of which is admissible against all defendants as direct evidence of the charged racketeering conspiracy. The defendants conspired together, they were indicted together, and they should be tried together.

That evidence would, prosecutors say, lay out the numerous ways the racketeering enterprise was kept under control…

— Promoting, enhancing and protecting the Enterprise by committing, attempting and conspiring to commit crimes, including but not limited to identity theft;
— harboring of aliens for financial gain, extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud and obstruction of justice;
— Demanding absolute commitment to Raniere, including by exalting Raniere’s teachings and ideology and not tolerating dissent;
— Inducing shame and guilt in order to influence and control members of the Enterprise;
— Obtaining sensitive information about members and associates of the Enterprise in order to maintain control over them;
— Recruiting and grooming sexual partners for Raniere;
— Using harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack perceived enemies and critics of Raniere; and
— Encouraging associates and others to take expensive Nxivm courses, and incur debt to do so, as a means of exerting control over them and to obtain financial benefits for the members of the Enterprise.

The memo then goes into legal arguments for why a single trial makes sense. And then, in order to explain why evidence regarding the DOS sex slavery would still be introduced against someone like Nancy Salzman, who is not accused of being involved in DOS, the government provides this remarkable example…

As just one example, on June 19, 2014, a woman in a sexual relationship with Raniere sent an email to Nancy Salzman listing “goals” for her to “uphold caring for Keith above urges to abuse and indulge.” The physical goals included an extreme diet of “400-500 calories max” in order to “reach 95 lbs.” The email also specified certain “check ins,” including the following: “a.m. text with weight; p.m. text verifying I’m on track; phone call at night; weigh in Tuesdays and Fridays.” To this email, Nancy Salzman replied, “This is very good for the most part.” In September 2015, the woman sent a series of emails to Nancy Salzman expressing dissatisfaction with the compensation she was receiving as an employee of Nxivm. Acknowledging that she had a personal relationship with Raniere, the woman stated: “[I]f I knew that working here meant that unless I lost weight, was in good standing with KR, etc., my work with corporate would not be valued for what it is, and instead would be undervalued, that’s a very different exchange than the one I think I’m under.” In a later email, the woman complained that she had attempted to “piece together” what she was owed “without ever understanding how Kathy [Russell] calculates my rate.” Nancy Salzman responded by telling the woman that she had benefitted by receiving “individual personal training from Keith,” a “personal interest free loan,” and that Salzman had paid “for [her] gasoline.” Salzman also told the woman that her purported “breaches” were appropriately considered in calculating the woman’s salary.

And as for asking for separate trials in order to separate themselves from sexual allegations…

Similarly, the government will prove at trial that Bronfman, Russell, Nancy Salzman and Lauren Salman were themselves each in intimate relationships with Raniere and, at various times, undertook efforts to facilitate Raniere’s access to other women. For instance, the government will prove that between approximately August 1, 2011 to September 1, 2018, Russell leased a property under an assumed name in Clifton Park, New York, at Raniere’s direction. The residence was used to house a DOS “slave” whose communications with Raniere feature significantly in the defendants’ motion for severance.

A footnote takes a backhand to Lauren Salzman’s argument that she wasn’t involved in trafficking at Nxivm…

In arguing that she would be prejudiced by evidence of sex trafficking admitted against Raniere and Mack at a joint trial, Lauren Salzman ignores that she is specifically alleged to have engaged in trafficking a victim for labor and services and document servitude after confining a young woman to a room as punishment after the woman developed romantic feelings for a man who was not Raniere.

The heiress also was admonished about claiming that she had nothing to do with DOS…

Bronfman was also significantly involved in efforts to silence and intimidate DOS “slaves.” For example, and as described in greater detail in the government’s motion regarding the defendants’ assertions of attorney-client privilege, Bronfman and Raniere drafted letters addressed to DOS “slaves” that Bronfman and Raniere feared would publicly disclose the existence of DOS. These letters were later sent to several DOS “slaves” by attorneys in Mexico.

In other words, it’s a world of hurt the prosecutors claim that they’re going to deliver in court, and it wouldn’t make sense to divide it into separate (and costly) experiences…

The government expects to present voluminous overlapping evidence against the defendants, including substantial racketeering enterprise evidence, such as the testimony of former members of the Enterprise, victims and eye witnesses, as well as audio and video recordings. Thus, denying the defendants’ severance motions will serve a number of compelling interests, including conserving time and scarce judicial resources; preventing numerous witnesses and law enforcement agents from having to testify more than once; and avoiding giving an arbitrary advantage to certain defendants based on the order in which they are tried.

Wow, that’s a pretty fun memo. What do you think? Should the judge consider breaking this thing up, or keep it a six-defendant trial?

Here’s the memo:

Prosecution memo against se… by on Scribd


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 11, 2019 at 17:00

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Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects at The Underground Bunker. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


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