NXIVM's Salzman can't attend first grandchild's birth, judge says

Sentencing date set for August; lawyer seeks more time

Albany Times-Union/July 9, 2021

By Robert Gavin

NEW YORK – A federal judge has scheduled the sentencing of former NXIVM president Nancy Salzman for Aug. 2 while rejecting her bail modification request to be with her daughter for the birth of her first grandchild.

Salzman, who co-founded the cultlike personal growth company in Colonie with Keith Raniere in 1998, will be sentenced for her March 2019 guilty plea to one count of racketeering conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

Her attorney, Robert A. Soloway, asked the judge for a later sentencing date, noting his plans to be on vacation and time needed to prepare.

Salzman, 66, of Halfmoon, known within NXIVM as “Prefect,” was the second-most powerful figure in the shadowy organization behind Raniere, the reputed cult leader and longtime Halfmoon resident known as “Vanguard.”

NXIVM and its Executive Success Programs (ESP) had locations in Los Angeles, the Pacific Northwest, Mexico, Canada and Florida, spreading the now-notorious teachings of Raniere, who portrayed himself as a deeply ethical and intellectually powerful being whose presence and energy could impact computers and affect the weather.

Salzman lived for decades in a large upscale home on Oregon Trail, a short drive to the Knox Woods townhouse complex where more than two dozen top members of NXIVM resided, including Raniere.

In her guilty plea to racketeering conspiracy, Salzman admitted to underlying acts that included conspiring to commit identity theft to get the names and passwords of email accounts of perceived “enemies” of NXIVM. The names of the company's so-called enemies were kept in boxes in Salzman’s basement that were seized by federal investigators, along with more than $515,000. The basement was decorated with several photos of Raniere.

Salzman also admitted  to conspiring to alter records for use in an official proceeding, which was a lawsuit against cult expert Rick Ross.

"I am pleading guilty because I am, in fact, guilty," Salzman told Senior U.S. Judge Nicholas Garaufis on March 13, 2019.

"It has taken me some time and some soul searching to come to this place," she told the judge. "When I began working with NXIVM, I believed that we would be helping people. I still believe that some of what we 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. 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 was charged in 2018 in a case that also included Raniere; NXIVM operations director Clare Bronfman, the Seagram's fortune heiress; television actress Allison Mack; NXIVM bookkeeper Kathy Russell; and Salzman's daughter, Lauren Salzman, a high-ranking member of the organization. 

All the defendants pleaded guilty except Raniere, 60, who went to trial and was convicted in June 2019 of all charges, including sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering counts with underlying acts of possessing child pornography, extortion and identity theft.

The judge sentenced Raniere last October to 120 years in prison, which Raniere is serving in Tucson. Ariz. Bronfman, who pleaded guilty to  conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification, was previously sentenced to nearly seven years in prison. On June 30, the judge sentenced Mack, an ex-member of Raniere's "master/slave" group Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS) and who cooperated with prosecutors, to three years in prison for racketeering and racketeering conspiracy.

Lauren Salzman, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, is scheduled to be sentenced July 28. She could receive major leniency as she was the star witness for prosecutors at Raniere's trial.

Nancy Salzman's other daughter, Michelle Salzman, is expected to soon give birth to a child, according to a recent letter to the judge from Nancy Salzman's attorney.

Soloway asked Garaufis if Salzman, who is on home confinement,  could 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."

Garaufis rejected the request, court papers show.

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