Kathy Russell’s lawyer made a motion on August 15th to increase her client’s bail amount – possibly bowing to concerns expressed by the prosecution – who may have threatened to make a motion to the judge seeking a higher bail for the longtime NXIVM bookkeeper.
Russell, 60 – an aspiring ballerina and longtime NXIVM student – was arrested on July 24, 2018 and charged with participating in a Racketeering Conspiracy. She is named in two of the 10 racketeering acts charged in Count One of the Superseding Indictment, both of which charge her with identity theft crimes involving the late Pamela Cafritz.
On the day of her arrest, July 24, 2018, Russell appeared before Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York. Judge Stewart set a bond in the amount of $25,000 to be secured by cash or U.S. property. After spending at least one night in jail, Russell’s long-time NXIVM associate, Karen Abney, signed a $25,000 bond, secured by cash, and Russell was released.
It is not known where Abney got the money, but since she was a longtime member of NXIVM A/K/A Executive Success Programs – it is a pretty good guess to say it was not her money. Almost all longtime members of Executive Success Programs go broke paying for the company’s expensive courses. It is hard to believe Executive Success Programs founder Keith Alan Raniere would have allowed her to leave that much money in her possession, when it could have been used for more courses to help make her an executive success!
Raniere is now in federal custody in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center having been denied bail by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis – despite offering $10 million cash bond and offering to hire a private security company to guard him at a mansion of his choosing in the NYC area.
Initially, Russell could not make bail either, for she had less than $2,000 available to her – as her attorney admitted at the time. She must have been saving up for another Executive Success course.
After her release, the United States Attorney’s Office raised concerns about the low amount of the bond set by Judge Stewart. This is the likely reason Russell’s lawyer- Justine Harris – filed a motion to request – before Judge Lois Bloom – seeking to modify Russell’s conditions of release to add a supplemental bail bond in the amount of $150,000, to be co-signed by Russell’s friend, [Name redacted] – who is also a NXIVM member and brother of [Name redacted] who is also a longtime member and unpaid official photographer for NXIVM. [Name redacted] often volunteered her services to do professional photographs of Raniere and other NXIVM members in exchange for the privilege of attending NXIVM classes at a slightly reduced rate.
The prosecution consented to Kathy Russell’s bail modification – which means they are satisfied with the new $150,000 bond in addition to the original $25,000 cash bond. Insofar as the prosecution is satisfied, it is likely the judge will grant the request.
In the court filing Harris restates Russell’s bail conditions. They seem to suggest that Russell has a drug or alcohol problem. The conditions are:
1. Report to the Pretrial Services as directed and allow a probation officer to visit at anytime at Ms. Russell’s home or elsewhere. Ms. Russell shall permit confiscation of any contraband observed in plain view of the probation officer and shall refrain from possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapon.
2. Maintain or actively seek employment.
[This was modified later – see below.]
3. Surrender any passport to the Clerk of the Court.
4. Obtain no passport or travel documents.
5. Restrict travel to the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of New York unless approved by Pretrial Services or the Court.
[This means Kathy is free to travel throughout the Northern District and in the New York City/Brooklyn area.]
6. Remain at an authorized address as approved by Pretrial Services or the Court.
7. Avoid all contact with potential co-defendants and potential defendants in related cases unless approved by Pretrial Services or the Court.
[This was modified later – see below.]
8. Refrain from excessive use of alcohol.
[Is this a suggestion that Kathy was drinking heavily or standard language?]
9. Refrain from possession, use, distribution, importation, or manufacture of any and all controlled substances, and any and all controlled substance analogues, as defined in 21 U.S.C. § 802, except that possession and use of a controlled substance properly prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner is permitted.
[Again, another drug condition. Was Kathy using drugs, selling them or possibly using prescribed drugs such as medical marijuana?]
10. Refrain from obstructing or attempting to obstruct or tamper, in any fashion, with the efficiency and accuracy of any prohibited substance testing or electronic [ankle] monitoring.
11. Participate in electronic [ankle] monitoring.
12. Be restricted to her residence every day from 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM as directed by Pretrial Service or the Court.
[Kathy now has a curfew of 9 pm.]
13. Report within 72 hours, to Pretrial Services or the Court any contact with any law enforcement personnel, including, but not limited to, any arrest, questioning, or traffic stop.
14. Not commit another crime, in the United States or elsewhere.
Russell, who was arrested in Albany and whose bail conditions were set there, was arraigned on the indictment before Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York [Brooklyn.] on July 27, 2018. Russell entered a plea of not guilty.
Judge Garaufis ordered the conditions of release and bond for Russell that were ordered in the Northern District to apply in the Eastern District case. He also ordered that Kathy submit to an initial drug test and refrain from working for entities associated with NXIVM, including the Estate of Pamela Cafritz.
The parties also agreed that the bond would include a condition prohibiting Russell from contacting any current or former employees or independent contractors of or for NXIVM (including any and all affiliated entities) or with any individual who is currently or was “formerly on the stripe path.”
The stripe path is the expensive path of NXIVM for coaches. They earn colored sashes and stripes to indicate rank. Kathy Russell after nearly 20 years had risen to the rank of Orange Sash with One Stripe.
[Name redacted] achieved the rank of Yellow Sash with three stripes. Her brother Eric – while a NXIVM student – does not appear to have ever trodden on the expensive and laborious stripe path – which may explain why he has property worth $150,000 to pledge as collateral for Kathy’s bail.
The government evidently conducted a telephone interview of [Name redacted] on August 13, 2018 and he consented to Russell’s request that he act as a supplemental suretor for her bail. [Name redacted]resides in Boston, MA and said he is prepared to sign a bond in a federal court in Boston once the bond is approved by the Court.
The prosecution consented to Russell, who lives in the Albany area, appearing before Judge Giraufis in Brooklyn via telephone for the hearing on this bail matter. Pretrial Services took no position with respect to Russell’s telephonic appearance.
Meantime Kathy is broke, possibly going through withdrawal, subject to surprise inspections, facing a possibly long prison sentence, and waiting for that big break Vanguard promised her of world stardom as a prima donna ballerina.
Viva Executive Success!