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With Clare and Kathy out, Nxivm leader Keith Raniere faces sex slavery trial alone

[Keith Raniere]

Yesterday, we covered the big breaking news that Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and bookkeeper Kathy Russell both entered guilty pleas just a few weeks before trial is to begin in the Nxivm prosecution. That leaves only Nxivm leader Keith Raniere left to stand trial beginning May 7.

In our story yesterday, we pointed out what a sweet deal attorney Mark Geragos got for Bronfman, who had largely funded Nxivm and its vicious attacks on critics and defectors, including mafia-like tactics and scorched-earth legal tactics. But despite all that, Bronfman was allowed to plead guilty to two of the lesser felonies, and escaped sentencing on racketeering charges that could have sent her to prison for up to 20 years. Instead, Judge Garaufis said in court that he would be looking at a sentence of between 21 and 27 months.

Mark Geragos even said that Clare’s agreement came with non-cooperation, so even with the $6 million fine she’ll be paying, Clare walked away with a sweet deal.

Here’s how else yesterday’s proceedings played in the press…

The New York Times, whose 2017 article about Nxivm’s branding and sex slavery gave prosecutors the push they needed to file charges after decades of complaints about Raniere and his group, noted that Bronfman said she was remorseful. “I wanted to do good in the world,” she said.


The Daily News noted Bronfman’s words to the judge, which were difficult to hear because she spoke so quietly: “I was afforded a great gift by my grandfather and father. With the gift comes important, tremendous responsibility. It does not come with an ability to break the law; it comes with greater responsibility to uphold it. I failed to uphold the following laws set forth by this country, and for that I am truly sorry.”

Frank Parlato quotes Keith Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo saying that Keith is still determined to go to trial now that all of his co-defendants have pleaded guilty: “We’re going to trial. We don’t believe Ms. Russell and Ms. Bronfman should have been charged, and we are happy they’re out of the case.”


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 20, 2019 at 12:00

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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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