NXIVM's Salzman asks for bail modification to become a grandma

Albany Times-Union/July 5, 2021

By Robert Gavin

NEW YORK – For more than two decades, former NXIVM president Nancy Salzman was known as “Prefect” in the cult-like personal growth organization she founded in Colonie with Keith Raniere.

As Salzman awaits sentencing for racketeering conspiracy in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn, the Halfmoon woman is about to gain a new title: Grandma.

An attorney for Salzman has asked Senior U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis if the ex-NXIVM president could be allowed a bail modification so that she may be with her daughter, Michelle, for the birth of her daughter’s first child.

The lawyer, Robert A. Soloway, requested Salzman be allowed to accompany her daughter to a local hospital for the baby's birth and delivery,  "including staying overnight with her daughter as desired during the infancy of the child so as to help her daughter and son-in-law, and to bond with her first grandchild," according to court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

 The daughter, Michelle Salzman, who is married to former NXIVM member Ben Myers, is due to give birth Aug. 1 or earlier, the motion said.

The 66-year-old Nancy Salzman, who c0-founded NXIVM in 1998, pleaded guilty on March 13, 2018 to one count of racketeering conspiracy. Her underlying acts included conspiring to commit identity theft to obtain names and passwords of email accounts of perceived "enemies" of NXIVM, and conspiring to alter records for use in an official proceeding, which was a lawsuit against cult expert Rick Ross, court papers show.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Salzman faces 33 to 41 months in prison. She could face a substantially less stringent term depending on her level of cooperation with federal prosecutors. On Wednesday, for instance, the judge sentenced former NXIVM insider Allison Mack, a former actress on the television show "Smallville," to three years in prison for her guilty pleas to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. She faced 14 to 17 and a half years in prison under the guidelines but received leniency due to her cooperation and acceptance of responsibility.

At her guilty plea, Salzman told the judge that when she first began working in NXIVM she believed she was helping people – and said she still believed some of what NXIVM did was good.

"The problem began when I compromised my principles and did things which I knew or should have known were wrong. I justified them to myself by saying that what we were doing was for the greater good," Salzman said. "Now, having had time to step back from the community I was immersed in for nearly 20 years, I accept that some of things I did were not just wrong but criminal."

Salzman’s other daughter, Lauren Salzman, the government’s star witness against Raniere at his 2019 trial, is scheduled to be sentenced for racketeering and racketeering conspiracy on July 28 by Garaufis.

Raniere, 60, who was convicted of all charges including sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering, is serving 120 years in federal prison in Arizona. He has just hired new lawyers, Marc Fernich and Jeffrey H. Lichtman, the former of whom represented financier Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious late sex offender.

Former NXIVM operations director, Clare Bronfman, is serving six years and nine months in prison for conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification,

Nancy Salzman and former NXIVM bookkeeper Kathy Russell await sentencing, but no dates have been set for yet for those proceedings.

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