The former president of Nxivm, Nancy Salzman, 64, will likely be working with the Feds from this point onward. After that, she’ll be their guest – in federal prison.
In Brooklyn Federal Court today, she pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy in the NXIVM case – and also admitted she stole email addresses and passwords of others and altered a tape used in a lawsuit against cult deprogrammer Rick Ross.
The racketeering conspiracy count carries with it a maximum 20-year sentence but the sentencing guidelines call for a sentence in the range of 33-41 months, based on her lack of a criminal record and taking responsibility for her wrongdoing.
Depending on her cooperation – or lack thereof – against the other defendants in the case, the prosecution could recommend an “upward” or “downward” departure from the guidelines.
And, as just saw in one of Paul Mannafort’s cases, federal judges are not bound by the guidelines.
Regardless of how helpful she is, however, it is almost inconceivable that she won’t spend some time in federal prison – and, after that, at least 3-years on probation.
Her prison stay will likely to be at a federal women’s camp or low-security prison.
Her taking responsibility for her crimes means she has to tell all she knows. She began today in court as she read from a prepared statement.
Her voice breaking at times – and at other times sobbing – she quietly stated for the record: “It has taken me some time and some soul-searching to come to this place … I want you to know I am pleading guilty because I am, in fact, guilty. I accept that some of the things I did were not just wrong, but sometimes criminal. If I could do it all over, I would. I justified them by saying that what we were doing was for the greater good. I am deeply sorry for the trouble I caused my daughter, the pain I caused my parents. I still believe that some of what we did was good.”
Salzman admitted she obtained passwords and user names to monitor Nxivm enemies – whose names have not been revealed – and to monitor Nxivm members suspected of being moles within the organization to see if they were revealing group secrets.
She confessed to “having others destroy video tapes” memorializing Raniere’s teachings.
Salzman sobbed when she read, “I am deeply sorry for the trouble I have brought to my daughter.”
Her daughter, Lauren Salzman, stands charged in the same case and is facing up to 20-years in prison. The Nxivm trial is scheduled to start April 29th.
As an indication she is fully cooperating with the Feds, Salzman will not be sentenced until July 10th – well after the trial is expected to conclude.
If the trial is delayed by a superseding indictment, Nancy’s sentencing will likely be delayed also. The prosecution will want to weigh in with a sentencing recommendation to the judge, and it will be based on how well she cooperates as a witness during the trial.
Her lawyer Robert Soloway, told The NY Post that Nancy did not sign a cooperation agreement to testify against her fellow Nxians. However, the prosecution does not need a written cooperation agreement with Nancy, as long as sentencing is scheduled after the trial.
To get support for a lighter sentence from the prosecution, she will likely have to testify honestly and without any limitations.
Whether her cooperation includes giving evidence and testimony against her daughter Lauren is unclear.
Lauren was barely of legal age when Nancy started encouraging her to give her life to Nxivm, and to begin having sex with Raniere. Both mother and daughter were part of Raniere’s harem at the same time.
Lauren spent her adult life working as a top leader for Nxivm – and waiting for Raniere to fulfill his promise to impregnate her, sources said.
Raniere promised Lauren he would sire for her an avatar baby – his first born child – more than 15 years ago. He has sired at least two children since he made that promise.
In anticipation of the advent of their child, Lauren reportedly set aside a room and decorated a nursery in her home – for the baby that never came.
Did mother Nancy really have any true regret – or were these just tears for show? Time will tell.
While Nancy pleaded guilty to only one racketeering act, there were two “predicate acts” that comprised the charge.
She admitted to stealing the email passwords of people perceived to be NXIVM foes – and to altering tapes of herself teaching courses before turning them over for use in a lawsuit against Ross.
Salzman ordered the altering of videotapes of herself teaching NXIVM courses to remove certain teachings that might suggest Nxivm was cult, before turning them over for use in a federal lawsuit against Ross, a cult deprogrammer that Raniere chose to sue.
NXIVM sued Ross and The Ross Institute in 2003 after it published excerpts from a NXIVM training manual provided by Nxivm student Stephanie Franco who had signed a non-disclosure agreement.
Federal Courts determined the institute’s quotations were covered by the fair-use doctrine. The suit was dismissed in late 2017 – 14 years after Raniere first started it.
Nancy Salzman was arrested – along with Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman, and Kathy Russell, last July.
Nancy was released on $5 million bond. She wears an ankle monitor but is permitted to leave her house by day as long as she returns home at night. She was originally under home confinement, but several weeks ago the judge approved her request to be able to leave her house during the day. The judge likely approved the condition in part based on the prosecution’s consent to that arrangement.
The Times Union reports that, “According to a person familiar with the case, Salzman’s attorney, Robert Soloway, did not inform Raniere’s attorneys that Salzman would be pleading guilty before the news was first reported Tuesday afternoon by the Times Union.”
This may have come as a surprise to Raniere in his jail cell as well as the other defendants although rumors of Nancy taking a plea deal have been reported by Frank Report since last September.
Besides prison, Salzman faces a maximum fine of $250,000 plus possible restitution and forfeiture.
Currently, the Feds are holding $520,000 of cash seized from a raid on her home in Waterford NY on March 27, 2018, the day after Raniere was arrested.
Salzman and her attorneys left the courthouse without taking questions from reporters.
An eyewitness, who readers know as VillageDianne, tells Frank Report:
“I was late to the hearing, but in time to hear the judge describe the implications of her plea. The judge said the max sentence in the guidelines for her is 20 years. There is no minimum. The judge asked her to describe in her own words her guilt in count one of the superseding indictment. Even though she was standing facing away from me, addressing the judge, it was obvious she was breaking into tears as she spoke. One of her lawyers put his arm around her onto her shoulder to comfort her.
“She described how she thought she was helping people, acting for the greater good, and would change things if she could. She said she took actions against critics of NXIVM. I heard her mention her daughter(s) but I couldn’t catch what she said. That’s about all I could make out of her remarks, with her facing away from me.
“The judge set an appointment for her with probation. Before sentencing she has the right to present a letter to the court, and have others write letters for her, attesting to good things she has done. The judge said he’s sure she has done some good things, and she should be sure to include them.
“Later when Nancy left court her countenance appeared less troubled than I’ve seen at other hearings.”
Here are Village Diane’s photos: