The New York Daily News told Nine Women about the horrors faced by Bronfman and Raniere during the hearing in a federal court in Brooklyn, while Bronfman sat silently in the room.
On Wednesday, Clare Bronfman, the Seagram heir and NXIVM financier, was sentenced to 81 months of imprisonment. She pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and identity theft last year after she was arrested in 2018 in connection with Keith Raniere’s notorious sexual assault and racketeering ring.
The New York Daily News told Nine Women during the sentence hearing at a Federal Courtroom in Brooklyn of the horrors Bronfman and Raniere faced while Bronfman sat silently. The New York Times this week declared that the hearing was the first opportunity for many NXIVM victims and former members to speak with US District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis and that it was the first major hearing in the courthouse since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic started.
In my opinion you are a predator,” cried Susan Dones, a former NXIVM member. “You should feel shame, self loathing…You should understand there are lives you destroyed.”
“As long as you support KR (Keith Raniere) there is no forgiveness for you,” said another former member, Sally Brink. Also, ” You are not going to heal in your life with KR. You must take back your power To him there has no sense of self.
Bronfman has been active in NXIVM, the self-help group since 2003. She left her career as a horse rider to move to the headquarters of the organization in upstate New York. Prosecutors had asked Garaufis to sentence Bronfman to five years in prison, to NBC News and claim that her tens of millions of dollars of financial support was crucial for NXIVM’s existence. The group became more commonly known as a cult and pyramid scheme last year when Raniere was convicted of sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography, and it was revealed that he branded some women in the organization with his initials.
The prosecutors claim in court papers that Raniere would not have been able to commit the crimes with which he was convicted without powerful allies like Bronfman.
Bronfman’s sister Sara was also involved in NXIVM but has not faced any criminal charges and continues to profit from the organization’s property in Albany, which she owns. In 2010, Vanity Fair reported that as much as $150 million was redirected from the Bronfman sisters’ trusts and bank accounts to support Raniere and NXIVM.
The Times reported that many NXIVM victims were upset by Bronfman’s guilty plea because the charges dropped her organisational role. Prosecutors have said she fraudulently obtained visas for young Mexican women to work for NXIVM and helped Raniere cloak the financial market by using his deceased girlfriend’s credit card and bank account.
Bronfman’s lawyers had argued only for probation, arguing that she did not know or participated in NXIVM’s most disturbing crimes and that her health conditions meant that coronavirus would pose a heightened threat to her in prison. In a letter to the judge last month, Bronfman wrote that she never meant to hurt anyone; however I have and for that I am deeply sorry.
She still continued to pledge loyalty however. Most people, including my own family, think that I should disavow Keith and NXIVM and that I have not is hard for them to understand and accept,” Bronfman wrote in the Times. “Then NXIVM and Keith change my life greatly for the better for me,” Keith told me.
Bronfman already lost $6 million in her plea deal and prosecutors said the heir’s fortune was worth $200 million. She is the first defendant convicted in connection with NXIVM. Raniere is currently awaiting sentence and the Smallville actor Allison Mack is acquitted of racketeering and conspiracy after recruiting women for NXIVM.