For 20 years, Nancy Salzman and Keith Raniere had been enterprise companions and allies who promised to enhance individuals’s lives.
They led the self-help group that they co-founded in the 1990s because it grew into the cultlike group Nxivm, and when it fell aside in 2018, Ms. Salzman and Mr. Raniere turned co-defendants, accused of operating a legal enterprise that subjected girls to sexual abuse.
Mr. Raniere was convicted on a number of expenses and sentenced to 120 years in jail; Ms. Salzman pleaded responsible to a single depend of racketeering conspiracy, and former Nxivm members have described her as an enabler who made Mr. Raniere’s abuse potential.
But as Ms. Salzman’s sentencing listening to approached, she sought to publicly distance herself from Mr. Raniere. In a letter to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, Ms. Salzman’s legal professionals portrayed her as Mr. Raniere’s dupe, writing that she had been “fooled, controlled, humiliated, and ultimately led to engage in criminal conduct by an egotistical, self-important, sex fiend.”
But Judge Garaufis didn’t seem to be persuaded, and on Wednesday Ms. Salzman was sentenced to 42 months in jail — barely greater than the sentence prosecutors had sought.
Before being sentenced, Ms. Salzman made a press release to the courtroom in which she stated that below Mr. Raniere’s affect, she had begun to “rationalize and overlook the wrongdoing around me.”
“I apologize to everyone I hurt, intentionally and not,” she added. “I don’t know that I can ever forgive myself.”
Judge Garaufis acknowledged that Ms. Salzman had been the primary of Mr. Raniere’s co-defendants to plead responsible. But he additionally stated that she had shared energy with Mr. Raniere, facilitated his crimes and betrayed and harmed others.
“You positioned yourself alongside Mr. Raniere atop the Nxivm pyramid,” he stated, including: “In 20 years at Mr. Raniere’s side, you left trauma and destruction in your wake.”
In the greater than two years since her responsible plea, Ms. Salzman had largely escaped the eye paid to co-defendants just like the liquor heiress Clare Bronfman, who refused to disavow Mr. Raniere, or Allison Mack, who was described as having inducted girls right into a clandestine group of “slaves,” a few of whom had been directed to “seduce” Mr. Raniere and branded along with his initials.
But as Ms. Salzman’s sentencing approached, former Nxivm members started talking out. They described her as indispensable to Mr. Raniere’s management of the group and stated she had performed a central half in crafting his philosophical concepts into teachings that unfold Nxivm’s code to followers.
Among these, in accordance to testimony in Mr. Raniere’s trial, had been precepts that portrayed girl as inferior and categorized anybody who questioned the group’s construction as damaging.
Prosecutors had requested for a sentence on the higher vary of the 33 to 41 months calculated in accordance to federal pointers on the time of Ms. Salzman’s responsible plea in 2019.
In their sentencing memo to Judge Garaufis, they enumerated the crimes dedicated by Ms. Salzman, who served as Nxivm’s president and was identified inside the group as Prefect.
She had taken half in illegal surveillance and investigation of Nxivm’s perceived critics and enemies, prosecutors wrote; had sought banking information belonging to a few of these individuals and had altered proof to be produced in a lawsuit in New Jersey.
“The defendant exalted Raniere’s teachings and ideology and demanded absolute commitment and deference” to him, the prosecutors added. “Raniere’s teachings, which Nancy Salzman helped to create and promote, were designed to maintain power and control over Nxivm members.”
Defense legal professionals had requested for a sentence of two years residence confinement, saying Ms. Salzman accepted “responsibility for enabling the horrific crimes Raniere committed, even where she lacked any knowledge of their commission or nature.”
They additionally stated she suffered from “debilitating physical pain” and “emotional anguish,” due in half to exposing her daughter, Lauren Salzman — who turned a member of Nxivm and in addition pleaded responsible to expenses associated to the group — to Mr. Raniere’s “sadistic attentions.”
Ms. Salzman’s legal professionals added that she now cares for her mom, who’s in failing well being and can be “gravely impacted by her incarceration.”
Some of the previous Nxivm members who criticized Ms. Salzman in letters to the courtroom or in interviews stated they feared she would reduce her position inside the group in an try to escape accountability.
One such individual, Ivy Nevares, wrote to the courtroom that after Mr. Raniere sexually assaulted her, Ms. Salzman had informed her she was fortunate. Ms. Nevares additionally described what she referred to as Ms. Salzman’s “abusive role” as a coach and instructor.
“As prefect, she had the second most powerful and exalted status: We bowed to her, we thanked her as a ritual at the end of every class and stood when she entered or exited a room,” Ms. Nevares wrote. “But as a teacher, she was brutal and punishing, often using public humiliation and verbal abuse to quash dissent.”
In courtroom on Wednesday, victims provided affect statements in individual and thru audio and video recordings.
Two former Nxivm members, Susan Dones and Mark Vicente, stated that Ms. Salzman had acted as an enforcer, unleashing a “wolf pack” of followers to intimidate or punish critics inside the group.
And Toni Natalie, considered one of Mr. Raniere’s former girlfriends, stated Ms. Salzman “propagated lies that Vanguard, as Mr. Raniere was known, was a celibate monk.”
Another speaker was a girl recognized in courtroom proceedings solely as Camila, whom prosecutors stated Mr. Raniere started sexually abusing when she was 15. She informed the courtroom that Ms. Salzman had failed to use her affect inside Nxivm to defend youthful girls and ladies as a result of she was extra in pleasing Mr. Raniere.
“People idolized her and gave such weight to her opinion that it was never questioned,” Camila stated, “It was her job to keep her community safe.”