Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


NXIVM: Lauren Salzman under cross-examination about Keith Raniere and his slaves

Lauren Salzman concluded her testimony this morning, and Keith Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo began his cross-examination of her. Fortunately for us, our correspondent Dianne Lipson was in place once again to give us her perspective on how things went down.

First, here are Dianne’s notes from yesterday’s afternoon session…

We pick up where Lauren testifies that Daniela has left the room where she was imprisoned for almost two years. Daniela was driven to the Mexican border, and left there with $128 in Mexican money, and no documents. No birth certificate, no passport.

Daniela was given an assignment to do in Mexico. She had to do a series of book report assignments, to redeem herself. Daniela communicated to her family and to Lauren that she did not have time to do a book report because she was having a hard enough time trying to find work and a place to live with no documents. Lauren and Daniela’s family felt that Daniela was lying and making up stories. There was also a claim by Kristin Keeffe, a Nxivm member, that Dani had stolen money. Lauren knows now that Dani was not lying. After two years in a room, and then left in Mexico with no papers, and no financial support from her family, Dani really was struggling.


The next government evidence was emails. Such as Dani’s father saying that Dani was still playing games. Dani was told to do a book report every 7 days or it would demonstrate a lack of character. Dani should return to Clifton Park, and no, the family was not sending her documents. Dani responded that she couldn’t get the book report done on time. And with no money and no papers, she could not get a visa. Dani said she was not asking for money, only for her papers. “Why won’t you send me my papers?” She could not get a passport or open a bank account. “What am I supposed to do? What do you want me to do?” Dani’s family thought what she was saying was a total fabrication, Dani is such a liar, the family should stay strong and hold the line. Lauren says now, that this meant that they shouldn’t give in to Dani. Lauren, in an email, said that Dani had given not one apology. Dani was lying, Dani was passive and making requests and demands, rather than being proactive. Lauren now feels that these emails were abusive. Dani, under horrendous circumstances, did what she was supposed to do, but was always shot down by Keith, and characterized as manipulative by Keith. “Nothing she could do was the right thing.” Keith said Dani was manipulative, so Lauren and Dani’s family came to see it the same way.

In Nxivm, shunning was considered a non-violent way to deal with unethical behavior. Lauren discussed her shunning of her own father. Lauren’s father refused to fire from his office an ex-Nxian who supported a letter sent by some members who had left. As for Rick Ross, he was considered a criminal who had kidnapped a boy from a religion. Stephanie Franco was said to have taken material from Nxivm and put it on a website.

Nicki was living in an apartment about a mile from the other Nxians living near each other, and she was required to move closer to the others.

A young man named Robbie Chiappone came to be considered a liability by Nxivm, so he was told to report all his activities to Lauren. To make sure Robbie was not lying, they set up a meeting between Robbie and Nicole, to see if Robbie would report it. Nicole was pretending to be just some woman, and not a member of Nxivm. She gave Robbie a false name and a false Facebook page. Lauren considered Robbie dangerous, and was worried about Nicole. Lauren asked Mark Vicente to edit Nicole out of a promotional video, so Robbie wouldn’t see her and catch on. The testimony of Robbie was dropped at this point, although Lauren had mentioned at one point, that Robbie joined the military.

Lauren was arrested. She had a lawyer and cooperated with the government and met with the FBI and met with federal agents more than once. She told the government about crimes and pleaded guilty. Lauren has a cooperation agreement. Lauren promised to provide truthful and complete testimony. All she is getting in return for her testimony is a letter attesting to her cooperation. If she doesn’t tell the truth, her cooperation agreement is forfeit.

The next evidence comes from thumb drives provided by India Oxenberg and Allison Mack. These are recordings and transcriptions of first line DOS meetings. Keith was leading these meetings, and Keith is not a fascinating speaker. During these videos, which lasted over an hour and of which we only heard the audio, the courtroom observers in the spectator area were shifting around in their seats from boredom. I could hardly keep my eyes open. I believe these videos were to establish Keith’s leadership and close involvement in DOS.

Keith was saying that DOS should have crafts, another word for committees, for such things as operations, strategies, the branding, and discipline.

In a video of a subsequent meeting, Keith said that the branding was directly related to his initials. This meeting appeared to have taken place before the brandings actually occurred, as there was discussion of the size of the brand, and where it would be situated on the body. There were intervals of laughter and joking at the meeting. It was like they were planning the office Christmas party, rather than having a meeting about searing a brand into women’s flesh. There was discussion of a tattoo over the brand, giving the linage and DOS number of the woman. Perhaps a machine that could do the branding. It was discussed and decided that the brand should be on the side of the hip, above the hair.

Keith envisioned that if a million girls had the brand, some promiscuous men, and some doctors, would see more than one. There would be leaks to the press, and it really couldn’t be kept a secret. The brand would become popular, and women would want one.

Women could identify other DOS members by the brand. If a woman became aware that another woman had the brand, that woman would follow orders, because there was collateral on her.

There was discussion of a Homeowner’s association in Knox Woods objecting to video cameras being placed outside Nxians homes.

Keith was suggesting that Camilla, not present at the meeting, be brought into the inner circle. Loreta had the most doubts about Camilla. Loreta was head of Rainbow Gardens where Camilla worked, and she expressed to Keith that she felt Keith always gave undue preference to Camilla when she didn’t deserve it. Keith said: If I were a different kind of master, I would give an order and you’d have to suck it up, but I am doing this by the democratic process. However, listening to the video you could see that Keith was not accepting the women’s decisions about Camilla, he was not accepting his own democratic process. Keith told the women they were being resistant to him and acting like women. He said it would be much easier if he was dealing with men.

Tomorrow there will be more of the video, and then cross. A new witness is expected in the afternoon

Wednesday morning

Today started with Lauren and the continuation of the videos they were showing the day before.

And also about more emails. In particular, an email sent to Daniela, the prisoner in the room, now that she was in Mexico. The email was drafted for the family to send to Daniela, but reviewed by Lauren and Keith. They wanted Daniela to return to Clifton Park, and no they were not sending her the documents.

This email was a group effort, drafted by the family with input from Lauren and Keith and sent from Daniela’s fathers’ account, Hector. Signed by other family members.

Apparently this was to show how Keith was in charge of a group effort.

Back to videos. A video of a meeting of first line slaves, and Keith is talking. They’re discussing whether to allow Cammie into the inner circle.

Talking about the idea of brands, how they brought in someone who did tattoos and scarification, and he instructed them how they could do the branding. And Keith wanted branding and tattoos to begin happening in days, not weeks.

Discussion about “The Game” — a recruitment tool. A kind of truth or dare game to see how far someone would go. There was a questionnaire with the game that was a screening process.

In the game, Keith would ask what you would do for 100 dollars, 1000 dollars, etc. Would you go outside naked? TO see how far someone would go. He joked about two women going out naked holding hands.

Keith said that DOS could change the presidential vote in four years. That’s how rapidly he saw it growing.

Lauren said that Keith wanted to recruit a woman named Tessie because her father used to be president of a country.

There was also talk of Rosa Laura going to Mexico to arrange for a large amount of money to be given in collateral for someone she was enrolling.

Keith also wanted the branding to be done in a ritual fashion. After each of the seven strokes, the person being branded should say something. And they should be completely nude and held down at the table looking like a sacrifice. There should be a feeling of submission. And video of branding of ceremony could be used of collateral.

First-line slaves were not nude while being branded, because it was done by guy teaching them. But then subsequent slaves were branded nude.

Keith said the person being branded should ask for it, saying it was honor they wanted to wear for the rest of their life.

Lauren said she and all her slaves said those words.

Keith: They need to say this before they were held down, so it didn’t appear they were being coerced.

Keith is talking in the video about pain is how we know the depth of our love.

Now, it was time for Lauren’s cross-examination.

Keith’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo reminded her that she had testified that Keith was her most important person, her mentor, her romantic relationship, and Lauren was agreeing. But she was 21 when they met.

He reminded her that she said how much she looked up to Keith. And how much Nancy and Lauren admired Keith.

There was her testimony about living with her mother, and Keith suggested she move out. But didn’t that end up being a good thing? Lauren said it did inspire her self-reliance.

Did Lauren know about Keith’s other relationships? Yes. With Pam. Lauren loved Pam. They had a sexual relationship, and Pam mentored her.

Agnfilo asked Lauren about romantic feelings for Keith and when they started. Lauren said that Keith’s relationships were selective and special.

She went over that she was supposed to be monogamous but Keith didn’t have to be. She accepted this because she thought he could make her life better.

Agnifilo asked if Keith was ever improperly aggressive except for a situation with Dawn. Lauren said there was an incident when Keith tried to pull Lauren’s pants down in front of Dawn.

As for sexual threesomes. Lauren go to the point where she did’t want to do it anymore. Agnifilo: Did you ever tell Keith that? She said she wasn’t able to communicate that to him.

Agnifilo said that Keith was afraid to have women leave him, and Lauren agreed.

Lauren got a chance to say that Barb J had died alone, and Keith didn’t visit her at the end, and Lauren was afraid that would happen to her as well.

Agnifilo asked if Lauren knew that Keith had a sexual relationship with Nancy, Lauren’s mother. Yes, Lauren said. But it wasn’t clear when she knew.

Agnifilo brought up an exhibit of women in the inner circle, and Rosa Laura was the only one Keith didn’t sleep with.

Why did Agnfilo do this? To show that Lauren was aware of what was going on.

Agnifilo tried to nail down if sleeping with Keith increased her position in Nxivm, and Lauren was able to say that not sleeping with Keith, women were treated differently. So that didn’t seem to be a good point for Agnifilo.

Agnifilo brought up the incident of the “Nxivm 9” and the “extortionate” demands these women supposedly made when they defected. Lauren was able to say that the exec board was replaced because the Nxivm 9 made the accusation that the board were all women Keith had slept with. So in reaction, Nxivm swapped out the board, but Lauren was brought back. (Replacing the board seemed to indicate an acknowledgment that the Nxivm 9 were right, but Lauren coming back was a counterexample? It wasn’t clear what Agnifilo was going for here.)

Agnifilo turned to Daniela, who was kept prisoner in a room for two years. Agnifilo’s questioning seemed like he was trying to portray Daniela as a less than angelic person. Daniela was accused of stealing from Nxivm accounts by Keeffe.

There were times when Daniella was deteremined to stay in the room. At one point in an email Daniela actually proposed extending her stay in the room for a week because of some prideful behavior that Lauren had said Daniela exhibited.

Agnifilo asked Lauren, did Daniela sometimes propose her own punishments? Lauren: she had.

Agnifilo asking Lauren, you were helping her see the error of her ways? Lauren said she couldn’t handle any concept that what she was doing was bad. So she avoided it.

Agnifilo said Daniela’s parents were for Daniela staying in the room. But Lauren said that anything she said to Daniela was at Keith’s direction.

At one point, when Lauren was talking about Daniela being younger than her, Lauren broke own. Sobbing. I did a lot of shitty things in my 20s, she said, but I got my shit together. I don’t think anything I did rose to the level of being kept in a room for 2 years, and then being given 128 dollars in Mexico. Full on sobbing, Lauren now appears to see how badly Daniela was treated.

Agnifilo tried to get Lauren to admit that she had said critical things of Daniela, and Lauren admitted that she had.

Dianne’s feeling was that “cross-examination was so diffuse, and it was really hard to see where it was going, and Lauren was good at dealing with and expressing her own feelings.”

It appears that Agnifilo is trying to lay the case that although there were things going on at Nxivm that might seem outlandish or distasteful to outsiders, it was done with the knowledge and willing participation of the members, and so wasn’t criminal. He isn’t denying that he weird and crazy things happened, only that it wasn’t done under coercion. But Lauren seemed to punch holes in what he was trying at times.

Cross-examination continues in the afternoon, and Dianne is going back in…


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 22, 2019 at 15:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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.)


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email