Allison Mack & Keith Raniere’s May 4th court appearance; aftermath

Allison Mack flanked by her lawyers.

May 4, 2018

Allison Mack arrived early at the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn, escorted by her lawyers. She wore black pants, a wine-red blouse and a black cardigan. Her ankle monitor could not be seen.

Mack was released last month from federal custody on $5 million bail. She is living with her parents in Los Alamitos, California and flew to New York for this pretrial status conference.

She and co-defendant, Keith Raniere, pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, and conspiracy to commit forced labor last month. They face 15 years to life.

Also in court for Friday’s hearing was Toni Natalie.  Asked why she was here, she told reporters, “Someone had to be here for the victims; someone had to be here to be a voice. This has been going on for 20 years.”

As they waited for Judge Nicholas Garaufis to appear, Allison sat in back of the courtroom. She was staring blankly, blinking a lot. She had her hands in her mouth. She looked down. Her shoulders moved. She smiled. She chatted quietly with her lawyers. She laughed, but it was a silent laugh.

As the time drew near for the judge to arrive, she rose and with her attorneys came in front of the bar and sat at the defense table.

Outside the court, Raniere could be heard being unshackled. He is held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He entered, wearing a brown prison jumpsuit. His hair shaggy. His face expressionless. He appeared not to have bathed, although he was clean shaven. His face was beet red.

Mack looked at him in the corner of her eye.

He sat down next to his lawyers, two chairs from Mack at the defense table. She looked nervous and shaken. Raniere had his mouth open, focusing on the judge and lawyers. She gazed at the floor except when looking up at the judge.

Raniere looked in Allison’s direction as her lawyer talked. While the judge was talking, he leaned back and attempted to look in her eyes. She did not make eye contact.

Raniere’s attorney informed the judge that Raniere was invoking his right to request a speedy trial. The judge declined the request, nothing that Mack had already opted out of having a speedy trial and that , as her co-defendant, Raniere is bound by her decision.

Raniere looked red-faced and angry. After all, Raniere might have thought: ‘She is my slave and she is dictating the pace of this trial while I rot in prison!’

Prosecutors alleged that they needed time. They had a “large amount of discovery” materials to review, much of which was the fruit of raids of Raniere’s ‘sex lair’ and the home of NXIVM cofounder, Nancy Salzman.

Investigators found, they said, an “enormous amount of electronic evidence” including “years’ worth” of alleged victim material from seized computers, electronic devices and email accounts.

Raniere’s lawyers mentioned bail.

Raniere looked red-faced angry when the prosecutor said there is no amount of bail that would satisfy them. Raniere is dangerous, has foreign ties and access to enormous amounts of cash, they said.

The judge said Raniere’s defense team could make a bail package application. He looked grim, as he said, “these are very serious charges”.

Raniere turned to look at Toni Natalie and gave her a snarl.

Allison Mack

Mack’s lawyer asked to waive the requirement for her to personally appear at each status conference. Mack has to come from California for every hearing, most of which last half an hour at best.

The judge said,  “I am not sure I am comfortable with the fact that she is 2,500 miles away. I don’t generally grant a waiver. This is a very serious matter,” but nevertheless he gave her defense leave to make a motion for her waiver of appearance.

The judge set the trial date for October 1, 2018. A follow-up status conference was set for June 12 at 11 am.

Before it ended, Assistant US Attorney Moira Penza rose to drop the bombshell news that the prosecution was “anticipating there will be additional charges and defendants” in a superseding indictment that could be issued in the next month or so.

As she walked out of court, Mack smiled and said, “thank you” to Raniere’s lawyers.

Raniere left the courtroom to be handcuffed and shackled and returned to prison.

After she left the courthouse, neither Mack nor her legal team made any comments. She walked, flanked by her attorneys – surrounded by reporters – to a limousine waiting for her.

Raniere lawyers: [l] Marc Agnifilio and Paul DerOhannesian.
Outside the courthouse, however, Raniere’s lawyers had plenty to say. They told reporters they were happy Judge Garaufis set a date for trial even though they had hoped it would be sooner.

They said they were eager to go to trial, to give his side of the story.

One of Raniere’s attorney, Paul DerOhannesian, said, “It’s still the United States of America and adults can engage in sexual relationships if they consent to them. I think what you’re going to see is these were consenting adults who knew what they were doing and approved of it – and I think that’s at the core of the sexual allegation in this matter.”

“I do not see Mr. Raniere pleading guilty,” said attorney Marc Agnifilo. “He has no reason to plead guilty. We will have a very vigorous defense and I predict that we will prevail after a trial in this case.”

Asked about rumors that Allison Mack will accept a plea deal in exchange for testifying against Raniere, Agnifilo said, “I’m not concerned about anything that is not the truth. The truth is on our side. I think that when the allegations are actually meant to be proven in court, they will not be proven in court.”

When asked about the branding, he replied, “I’m not qualified to say what is normal. There are well-known groups of men that brand themselves. It’s utterly uncontroversial. But a group of women decide to brand themselves, and then all of a sudden we assume that they’re victims.

“A lot of adult, strong-minded, free-willed women made decisions for their own lives and made their own choices. That’s what the evidence is going to show.… The case boils down to whether jurors believe witness testimony.  At the end of the day, this is a case about consent.”

He said he’d seek bail for Raniere in the coming weeks.

Outside the courthouse, reporters spoke to Toni Natalie.

“For me to see him held accountable, it’s pretty important,” she said.

She said she was pleased that more indictments were coming.

“There’s so much more,” she said. “This is literally the tip of the iceberg.”

She named some of the others NXIVM-related parties she thought might be indicted: Clare Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, Karen Unterreiner, Emiliano Salinas, Alejandro Betancourt, Lauren Salzman and Sara Bronfman-Igtet.

“Justice looks like the rest of the people that have helped him to facilitate this go to jail also. This snake has more than one head,” she said.

Keith Raniere has said he is the world’s smartest man.

As for Mack, Natalie said, “I think Allison should be held accountable for her actions. You get to a certain point where there’s culpability. I don’t think anyone goes into NXIVM and comes out the same way.”

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Frank Parlato


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  • “A University Headshrinker”

    I can guess why you haven’t received a response.

  • It’s good to see Allison getting ready to throw him under the bus

    She will rise out of this

    And just like Elizabeth Smart will be proven a victim

    Now she is freed from the likes of Keith who was like Jim Jones and David Koresh

    • I have no problem with her rising from the ashes after she has paid the price for the harm she did to others. Mack is a grown woman who walked into this situation on her own, not a child kidnapped from her family. Yes, Mack was a victim of Raniere, but she bears responsibility for her own actions in this. Ask yourself, is there any situation in which or person for whom you would voluntarily hold someone else down to be branded?

      • i agree she does bear responsibility. But before we thrash her for ALLEGATIONS lets see those allegations proven. Once proven then yes justice will be service.

        First off the idea that she held someone down is an allegation. You are stating it as truth. Be careful what you state as truth. There is a lot of speculation being thrown around.

        Right now the only people known to have been involved in holding down are ( those who were getting branded ) words straight from Sarah Edmondson who was there to be branded and said the victims held each other down

        And the brander ( who was danielle the doctor )

        Best wait until trial before pretending you are a lawyer, judge and all knowing.

        • Innocent until proven guilty applies to our legal system. This is a comment section in a blog not a court of law. I’m willing to change my opinion based on further information, but since I’m not judge, jury, or all knowing, I’ll go with what I have now. Did you really think your smug chiding would change my opinion?

        • Hello again, Allison’s Mom.

          You are the only one allegedly outside of NXIVM that believes that.

          Your preaching about your daughter isn’t changing anybody’s minds here.

          • And Shadowstate is back with his wild claims

    • They are both under the same bus. It was the testimony of the two Jane Does that made them co-defendants. Mack has no information that can’t be gathered from others down on the slave/NXIVM scale. They are both getting life.

  • Shadowstate 1958 started my brain-wheels turning this Saturday morning. The contextual “Mack-the-Knife” piece had me in stitches, especially in lieu of the president’s remarks on the state of the bloody floors inside of a London hospital, where the poor buggers of London have to resort to knives as weapons because firearms are so hard to come by – Bloody Brits!

    Our fearless leader stated this: “They don’t have guns. They have knives and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war-zone hospital…knives, knives, knives.” There is an actual program to confiscate knives from citizens of London, q.v., “Britain’s Knife Control is a Bad, Real-Parody of Gun Control.” (

    Anyhow, ’58’s piece made me curious about the Raniere cult’s media site, “The Knife of Aristotle.” Good Google, what a lovely article by Brook Wilbur popped up at the top: “The Knife of Aristotle Isn’t Just a Fake “Fake News” Site – It’s a Cult.” The same search led me to several articles about “The Knife” that were written by our gracious host, Mr. Frank Parlato. These priceless pieces led me to one on the cult’s a cappella group, “Simply Human.” (Is Raniere’s A Capella Group, “Simply Human,” now Defunct?) Now that got me to thinking, especially when I noticed that several of these instrument-free groupies had actually performed, at one time or another, in a production of “Sweeney Todd,” the musical. “Todd” certainly rivals Bertholt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera” (from whence the song “Mack the Knife” originates) for blood and gore.

    Then, as I gradually worked last night’s sand from my eyes, eased the fuzz balls from my brain and put on my favorite tin-foil wizard’s cap, I suddenly recalled that, according to the timeline of Keith Raniere’s life (From RPI to NXIUM: Keith Raniere timeline, that from 1984-1985 none other than that multi-talented con artist, multi-level marketer, and multiple slave owner, Keith Alan Raniere had performed with the prestigious RPI theatre company in the musical, “Sweeney Todd.” This would have been around the same time that he was accused of having raped an underage girl for the first time.

    Jeez, I thought to myself, as I took off my foil wizard’s cap in order to scratch my head, “that’s an awful lot of bloody Toddsters for such a small group unaccompanied harmonizers.” It is so weird how like will sometimes attracts like. What is it with Raniere and his obsession with knives, blood, branding, torture, and rape. Didn’t his alcoholic twinkle-toed mother ever allow him to have a jackknife when he was a boy? There is something really dark and hidden about this geek. I do not want to go into too much of an amateur psychoanalysis of the lewd, rude ,and shrewd dude, however; he does present as a likely subject for someone who has the three personality traits of the Dark Triad. These three traits are; narcissism, Mahiavellianism, and psychopathy. When a fourth trait, sadism, is added to this group it then forms the Dark Tetrad. I am just trying to understand Keith Raniere, as a human being, from a clinical perspective. I don’t want to overly demonize him, but there is a strong whiff of sulfur about him, and he does act like a spoiled little prince of darkness (starting to turn red and all that). What do you all think?

    In Albany did vainglorious Vanguard
    A doomed pleasure-dome decree…

    (Well, I think that we all know how this poem is going to end)

    “A savage place as holy and enchanted
    As e’er beneath a waning Moon was haunted
    By woman wailing for her demon-lover.!”

    “And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.”
    So, now in Hell with Lucifer lies!

    With apologies to that old cockayne addict Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

    • Hey Larry,

      All good points! There’s something about VanGrifter’s compulsion to mark people. He uses sashes, belly chains, brands. He has to see that others are his property. It has eerie similarities to the Zodiac (Slaves for Paradise).

      Any leads on this? I emailed a University head shrinker about this, but no response yet. Any thoughts?


      • Thank you very much for your kind words, however; the parts of the poem that are in quotes are from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “Kubla Kahn.” (See the Wikipedia article on the same for the complete version of the poem.) I was incorrect concerning Coleridge’s substance addiction. He was not a cocaine addict, and I should have checked my facts before I wrote that. However, it is widely known that he wrote, “Kubla Khan,” after awakening from an opium-induced dream. Evidently, he became addicted to opium through his gateway use of laudanum as a medicinal.

      • Facts not speculation ( especially by shadowstate who was turned down by allison mack on twitter after he stalked her before the event) says:

        you mean your abuse of mac. Oh right thats because you were turned down by her. so sad shadow

    • Ms.Mack understands the meaning of Mack the Knife.
      She was born in Preetz Germany where her father was an opera singer.
      Allison Mack would know both the American version and the original German version Macki Messer.

      From her mentor Ms. Mack has learned that she enjoys dominating and torturing others.
      Ms. Mack derives joy from the pain and suffering of other.
      Raniere introduced Mack to the Dark Side of her personality.

      I am trying to figure out if Raniere is more like Svengali or Rasputin.
      Like Svengli Raniere thought he could turn Mack into a great singer.
      And Mack would be Ranieri/Svengli’s Trilby.
      Hence all of the A Capella business.

      Like Rasputin Raniere has a harem of women who regard him as Holy.
      Women who revere Raniere.
      Women devoted to Raniere spiritually and sexually.
      The female followers of Raniere and Rasputin were both upper-class.

      Ms. Mack’s next lesson from Raniere will be how strong her loyalty is to him now that her skin is on the line.
      Ms. Mack is about to learn some very ugly things about herself.

      • Facts not speculation ( especially by shadowstate who was turned down by allison mack on twitter after he stalked her before the event) says:

        Note to everyone. Focus on how many times shadowstate talks about allison mack vs anyone else. It borders upon an unhealthy obsession. I’ll explain why he does this. Long before NXVIM went down he used to send her tweets on twitter ( yes we have the tweets ) and she turned him down. Since then he fuels his hatred for her into this website in the hopes of getting validation but he fails every time as he’s proven wrong.

  • To stop this madness, all heads of the snake need to be cut off.

    The fact that there is a Level 2 training happening in Mexico goes to show these people are. not going stop their cycle of abuse. As people jump the sinking ship of NXIVM, the upper leadership must look for replacement.

    Lauren Salzman will carry the NXIVM touch and is just as evil as Raniere and her mom, Nurse Nancy. Lauren Salzman’s skill to mind-bend others into doing her evil deeds is one of the highest in all of NXIVMVILLE.

    Lauren Salman was most likely more a Mastermind behind DOS than Allison Mack was. She is better at manipulation than Mack.

    Both Salzman’s need to be behind bars. Clare Bronfman needs to be behind bars because of the money she supplies. More need to be held accountable for the criminal enterprises.

  • posted this in the wrong place it was for here!

    Vandouche’s legal team is likely to extrapolate from the branding carried out by Omega Psi Phi males at Howard, but this is a very exclusive african-american fraternity who have reasonable explanations for their decision. Raniere and most of his executives, wouldn’t pass the entrance criteria:

    You need a Bachelor’s degree, a 2.5 grade average, (Raniere’s is 2.26)
    and crucially, the material experience of coming from a group of people who have known actual slavery in their history.

    People do the strangest things. But, I see the experience of the OPP as qualitatively different from that of the DOS women. One group is paying homage and subverting something that once implied the worst sort of shame – to the greatest pride; the other is not based on consent and implies torture. Plain and simple.

    this is interesting:

    • There have been several lawsuits re fraternity branding and I suspect Raniere’s lawyers will be relying on them for legal precedent.

      One involving Blake Novacek maybe has not been resolved (can’t find resolution of court case)? And he was blindfolded, so a key case to follow. That incident also got that fraternity shut down at University of Oklahoma. Fraternity branding is not officially condoned by any universities or fraternal organizations.

      Fraternity branding is genuinely voluntary, with many unbranded members as proof. And the location for the brand is up to the student getting branded. Also, the brand takes only seconds!!! Not 20-30 minutes. Here’s a video to illustrate how long fraternity branding takes and pay close attention at the 12 second mark because the branding lasts only one second:

      • thank you! v. interesting. I just can’t wait for Raniere’s professionally embarrassed legal team to begin their sorry attempts at neutralising his cruel and unusual crimes. Just can’t wait.

  • It’s Crunch Time for India Oxenberg and Nicki Clyne.

    To save her skin, Allison Mack will have to sell out her friends.
    Ms. Mack has a long history of selling out her friends and family.

    To provide “collateral” for blackmail, Ms. Mack did the following:
    Mack’s collateral was described as:
    A letter regarding Mack’s mother and father that would “destroy their character”
    A letter addressed to social services alleging abuse to Mack ‘s nephews.

    Do India Oxenberg and Nicki Clyne trust their future to a woman who would sell out her own family?

    India and Nicki MUST cut their own plea deals with the US government and throw Allison Mack under the bus before she throws them under the bus.

    Allison Mack prattled on about “female empowerment.”
    What was Ms. Mack’s version of female empowerment?
    To torture and enslave her friends, so that Ms. Mack could rise in the good graces of her boyfriend, Keith Raniere.

    That sounds more like treason to women than friendship.
    Allison Mack is a Traitor to women.
    She is a traitor to her friends.
    She is a traitor to her family.
    Don’t trust Ms. Mack with her future.

    Ms. Mack will surely stab her friends in the back.
    Allison Mack should be called “Mack the Knife.”

    • Allison is a victim and will rise from this despite shadowstates attempts at dragging her name through the mud

      • Sorry but if she wasn t a starlet and ugly, you ll never say that she is a victim. She has became an abuser to please the man she ideolize. I don t think the women she has abused would feel sorry for her.

        • Yes, she would. It’s just Allison’s mother who corrupted her youth by selling pimping Allison as a child actor complaining on every page how her daughter is innocent, and it is all speculation.

          I can certainly see how Allison ended up like this with a mother like that, but she still had the opportunity to make the right choices.

          Lots of people come out of childhood’s with terrible parents and don’t turn into perpetrators.

          • Facts not speculation ( especially by shadowstate who was turned down by allison mack on twitter after he stalked her before the event) says:

            Shadow state keeps referring to her mom when shes not here but shadowstate is under other names

      • … when does it end… who couldn’t be proven a “victim” in your eyes? Every murderer would be a victim of a certain situation… abuse…neglect…poverty… addiction… etc.


    Associated Press:

    “The alleged Clinton connection in the story is based on something that isn’t true.

    It claims that Seagram’s liquor fortune heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, who are followers of Raniere, are members of Bill Clinton’s foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, which requires a $15,000 membership fee.

    A spokesman for the foundation tells The Associated Press they haven’t donated any money or made a required “commitment to action” to the Global Initiative.

    Mack’s indictment and a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York make no mention of the Clintons, the Rothschilds or child victims.”

  • Natalie said, “…I don’t think anyone goes into NXIVM and comes out the same way.”

    Unfortunately, this seems true. Both people’s minds and hearts seem to change in some (at least subtly) negative ways when they partake in NXIVM, depending upon how long they stay in and how deep they dive, e.g., it’s OK to be self-serving at the expense of others. As others have commented here, Raniere teaches people to act like sociopaths and it looks like he’s been more successful with some than others.

    • I definitely feel like that is true for me.

      I had a horrific experience a few weeks after I did an intensive where I lost all control of my emotions while I was driving my car. I pulled over and sobbed uncontrollably for half an hour.

      Is it a good thing that I wasn’t so closed off anymore? Probably. Thank God, though, I was in that state no longer being involved with them. I was definitely vulnerable for a while after that intensive.

      It really is classic techniques, though. Barely eating (and feeling like you didn’t eat anything because of the vegetarian food). Hardly getting any sleep. Stuck in a classroom for 12 to 14 hours a day with minimal pauses. I couldn’t understand why anybody was signing up for 11 more days.

      • I can’t even stay focused in work meetings once they exceed thirty minutes. If a meeting goes longer or if I had eaten lunch earlier, my eyes will start closing and I’ll start dozing off. The human attention span is limited to 20-30 minutes and then it starts to drift anyways. I don’t know how anyone would think they could intellectually learn anything in 12-14 hours of mind fuck. There’s obviously some manipulation going on there that makes you believe that some light bulb has gone off in your head and you’ve changed for the better but it’s only some subconscious re-programming.

        The brain relative to the body’s size uses a significant proportion of your daily intake of carbohydrates. I believe the figure is around 30%. There is just no physical way that you can learn anything significant under those conditions. I’ve heard of Yogis being able to be active and alert with minimal food, but they have little fat on their bodies – are very fit – their breathing is tremendous in terms of its efficiency of oxygenation – some have a control pause of easily two minutes – and they train for years upon years to achieve that.

  • Toni Natalie sums it up nicely–Keith Raniere is the true evil and he, along with the Bronfmans and Nancy Salzman, need to be stopped and made to pay for all of the people they’ve hurt in the twenty years of running this cult. Yes, Allison, Lauren, Nicki and India have been hurt by this cult but they, in turn, hurt people and they have to face accountability for that. But we must not forget that Raniere and the Bronfmans are the true evil.

    I love that all of the behind the scenes players in this are slowly being exposed–excellent work Frank 🙂

    • Like your comment Lena, however I don’t think that the entire Bronfman fortune could make amends for the premeditated acts of hatred and sabotage inflicted on people targeted by the sadist Raniere, both inside and outside of the cult. Too many families and friendships have been burnt by the manipulation and lies of this envious egomaniac.

      His nazi-esque experiments are very disturbing. Encouraging a human being to watch a snuff film, to run head-first into a tree, to drink dirty water from a puddle speaks volumes about the entity known as Raniere.

    • In most prisons you tend to not have access to internet/phones, especially when you are member of a criminal organization. Others might get access to it easier, but there is a good chance of your phone being taped (or tapped as Drumpf would say 😉 ).
      As NXIVM is very likely still in possession of colateral it would be not smart to let KR send commands to his followers, who can put pressure on victims/witnesses. So my assumption is that he has access to books and a TV but no communication to people outside but his lawyers/visitors.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083