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[Clare Bronfman leaves court after pleading guilty. Photo by VillageDianne]

We just spoke with VillageDianne, who was in the courtroom as Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty to two felonies that Judge Nicholas Garaufis said would have her facing a sentence of 21 to 27 months in prison.

Bronfman pleaded to one count of harboring an illegal immigrant for financial gain, and one count of the fraudulent use of identification, which were lesser charges than the racketeering counts she was facing. The first count carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, the second can go up 15 years. But Judge Garaufis told the court that if he stays between 21 and 27 months, Bronfman won’t have grounds for an appeal.

Her attorney, Mark Geragos, apparently worked a pretty good deal for the wealthy funder of much of what went on at Nxivm.

“Geragos gave us a statement. He said that it was an arduous experience for Clare, and that she never expected to plead guilty to two felonies. But they were glad that the racketeering charges were dismissed,” VillageDianne told us.

She also said the judge said that Bronfman would be paying $6 million in restitution. There was also a $97,000 penalty on the first count, payable to Jane Doe #2.


Dianne went back into the court to hear what was happening with Nxivm bookkeeper Kathy Russell.

UPDATE: Kathy Russell gets a slap on the wrist, pleading guilty to immigration fraud, and will face only about 6 to 12 months in prison, VillageDianne reports.

Russell gave an allocution to admit to giving bad information to help an immigrant come to the US to work for Nxivm.

“She started crying, and said she knows that what she did was wrong and compromised her own principles,” Dianne says.

Sentencing for Clare Bronfman is set for July 25 at 2:30 pm, and for Kathy Russell on July 31 at 11:30 am.


[Kathy Russell leaves court after pleading guilty. Photo by VillageDianne]

[Geragos speaks to the press about Bronfman’s deal. Photo by VillageDianne]


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 19, 2019 at 17:30

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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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