By K.R. Klaviger
Although there is almost universal agreement among the many victims of NXIVM that the EDNY investigators and prosecutors deserve praise and commendations for the work they’ve done to try to put an end to the sex slaver cult, there are still some aspects of the case that have raised questions that may never be answered.
This is the first in a series of posts that will look at some of the “unanswered questions” concerning the ongoing criminal case against NXIVM and its leaders.
Why did the FBI only raid two of NXIVM properties?
Shortly after Raniere’s arrest on March 26th, the FBI showed up with search warrants at two of the many properties associated with NXIVM and two of its leaders, Nancy “Prefect” Salzman and Keith “Vanguard” Raniere. Those properties were the house that Salzman was living in at 3 Oregon Trail – and the townhouse that served as Raniere’s sex lair on 8 Hale Drive.
Based on numerous reports and court records, we now know that both of those locations produced a great deal of evidence that will likely be used by the prosecution in the upcoming trial of Salzman and Raniere – and their current co-defendants, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, and Lauren Salzman.
Among the items that were confiscated at Salzman’s house were the following:
– $515,577 in cash – plus another $971.00 worth of Russian and Mexican currency
– Dozens of data-storage devices
– Mobile phones
– Blackberry devices
And among the items that were seized at Raniere’s sex lair were the following:
– Audio-Visual recording equipment
– A box of unidentified white pills
– Data-storage devices
– VHS tapes
– A book entitled “History of Torture”
So, given how fruitful those two searches proved to be, why were similar raids not conducted at other NXIVM-related locations?
Some of the locations that it would have seemed logical and prudent to search include the following:
– NXIVM’s headquarters at 455 New Karner Road in Colonie, NY
– Clare Bronfman’s homes
– Lauren Salzman’s home
– Allison Mack’s apartment
– Kathy Russell’s home
By comparison, the New York State Police, under the command of Senior Investigator Rodger Kirsopp, simultaneously conducted a well-coordinated, pre-dawn raid on the residences of three people that were allegedly involved in illegally accessing NXIVM’s website: Toni Natalie, Joe O’Hara, and John Tighe. In conjunction with that effort, every computer in each of the three locations – and numerous boxes of what were believed to be NXIVM-related files and records – were confiscated by Kirsopp and his troopers.
Even though Kirsopp was well aware that there was no jurisdictional basis for bringing any charges in Albany County against Natalie, O’Hara, and Tighe, he nevertheless put a lot of time and effort into planning and conducting the simultaneous raids on their houses. And he used the occasion to seize just about anything that might contain any incriminating information against NXIVM and its leaders.
So, why didn’t the FBI conduct more searches on NXIVM-related properties – especially after all the valuable evidence they found at Salzman’s home and Raniere’s sex lair?
At a minimum, one would have expected a search to be conducted at NXIVM’s corporate offices. That, of course, is where the cult stored all the paper records concerning its operations – and where all its accounting records were created and maintained.
And didn’t the Feds think there was at least a possibility of finding more cash, more electronic storage devices, and more incriminating documents and records in the residence of the head of the DOS operation, Allison Mack?
And how about one or more of the homes owned by Clare Bronfman, the chief financier for – and the Director of Operations for – NXIVM? Didn’t the Feds think they might find some interesting records in those places?
And what about Lauren Salzman? Wouldn’t it make sense for her Mom to have entrusted her with some of the other cash that NXIVM had hidden away and/or some of the numerous data storage devices that were used to keep track of the cult’s various operations?
And, of course, why not search the house of NXIVM’s original bookkeeper, Kathy Russell? Wouldn’t you think that she might have been entrusted to hold onto some of NXIVM’s multiple sets of financial records?
Although the victims of NXIVM are grateful to the EDNY investigators and prosecutors for their efforts to put an end to this vicious cult, the victims are also cognizant that until they are convicted, Raniere and his flying monkeys are “innocent until proven guilty.”
I would not wish to change that important due process right. And I am not a supporter of wholesale raids on the homes of private citizens.
However, with Bronfman money, high-priced lawyers and a vicious psychopath calling the shots, if some of the defendants get off with light sentences or are acquitted, they will be back and likely seeking vengeance.
Why didn’t the FBI raid the other NXIVM homes and offices? Hopefully, we’ll learn more about this as the case proceeds to trial.