[Editor’s note: Nicole and others’ collateral was leaked to me, Frank Parlato. I immediately turned it over to law enforcement. When Nicole called meI told her I had received her collateral and turned it over to law enforcement. I also encouraged her to tell the FBI about what happened to her because, after talking to her, I realized she was a crime victim. She did go to the FBI and told me she did afterward. She never discussed what she told the FBI. We have not spoken spoke since she went to the FBI. The reason she called me originally was to ask me to remove her name from Frank Report and I did so. Removing her name was not contingent on her going to law enforcement and occurred well before she did go to the FBI to tell her story.]
By Dianne Lipson
Nicole also testified that she was influenced by what I wrote on Frank Report. Here is what she said:
Moira Penza: Now, at that time, was there any blog coming out that was covering what was happening with DOS?
Nicole: Yeah, there was this blog called The Frank Report that started blogging about all this and blogging about DOS and blogging about different people in the NXIVM community. I guess it had been doing that for a while, but it was not on my radar.
Q And at some point, did you appear on that blog?
A Yeah. And right – maybe like two or three days after I officially pulled out of The Source, an article came up online that said that I was a, like, sex slave of Keith Raniere’s.
Q And, so, what happened after that?
A It was, like – it was just that, like, the tiny bit of, like, courage or whatever I needed. It was like that flash of reality and it was just, like, the last little thing and I was like, okay, no. Just no. Like, no. What I – what I thought that I was getting into back then was a women’s empowerment group and now there is something saying that I am somehow a man’s sex slave? I’m like Allison told me in the car that she
wasn’t going to release my collateral if I leave. Like, the company is imploding from like the inside out. Like, I think I can do this. Like, I can do this and it will be safe and I’m just going to do it. Like, now is the option. Like, now is this little window when I can get out, and I’m taking it. And it was just – that was it. That moment, I wrote Allison a letter and I said, “I’m not doing this anymore. It’s not for me”.]
By Dianne Lipson
The 20th day of the trial of Keith Alan Raniere was Monday, June 10th. It was somewhat less eventful than other days but overall it surely furthered the case for the prosecution.
In the morning, the DOS slave Nicole concluded her direct testimony.
She did testify about the teen girls from Chihuahua, Mexico, who were, she said, between 15 to 17 years old and were in Albany for Keith Raniere’s very special, better-than-high school courses [Frank Report has written extensively about these girls who are part of the Mormon LeBaron polygamous clan].
The girls were sponsored by Rosa Laura Junco. [It was previously reported that Keith acted very inappropriately with them, even kissing the young girls on the lips.]
The contract that Allison Mack’s slaves were supposed to sign was admitted into evidence.
The contract had clauses that said that the women who signed it were doing so voluntary, they were aware of certain risks, such as physical or psychological injury and economic or emotional loss. There was a non-disclosure agreement [of course] and a non-compete agreement, and, significantly, a transfer agreement related to up to $1 million in cash and property.
As Nicole previously testified, this bizarre [DOS slave] contract was never signed. Nicole said it was because Allison booked a play at that time and was busy.
Nicole requested her collateral after she left DOS. She was told that Allison and Keith would not release it.
She also observed that the company was imploding [This was before the NY Times story came out and after the Frank Report broke the branding story.]
Nicole was frightened. She emailed Allison asking for her collateral back, especially the collateral that related to her family. Nicole says the email was forwarded to Clare Bronfman and Dawn [Morrison?].
Presently, Nicole has a “really cool job opportunity” working for a nutritionist and a cognitive behavioral therapist. She is also in school, studying psychology at NYU.
She is evidently not acting.
She said there is not one moment, not one single second, that she’s not grateful that she is no longer in DOS. And so her testimony ended.
Next came cross-examination by Keith Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo.
He went over much of what she testified to earlier, trying to show she was a willing, consenting adult to everything that occurred and not a victim.
He asked her about her relationship with Allison – and teaching The Source.
Agnifilo went over entries in her journal, where Nicole had spoken of how she was struggling before she joined DOS.
Nicole explained she had given up everything to move from Los Angeles to NYC, and while in NYC, she was not auditioning, just working at a low-paying job and she didn’t know how to move forward in her acting career before she joined DOS.
Agnifilo elicited from her that Allison Mack made time for her, prioritized her, and did make her feel better – at the time.
Agnifilo kept circling around to this, how Nicole was feeling bad and that she said she was losing focus, felt lost, berated herself – before Allison introduced The Vow (DOS).
Agnifilo emphasized that Nicole had told Allison how bad her life was [before DOS].
He asked her if her life was chaotic before DOS. Nicole said it was not chaotic, but she was struggling.
Agnifilo asked if Allison talked about people giving their lives to uphold a principle. Nicole answered that she wanted to live her own life, and was uncomfortable answering to someone else.
Agnifilo, as he has done so often, frequently asked her what she felt at the time, not how she feels now.
Nicole expressed in emails when she was in DOS [admitted into evidence] that she wanted to know how to enjoy life. She wrote that she wanted the hard work she did in DOS to translate into a joyful life.
Nicole said that since Allison said there was no way out of DOS that “I was trying to be joyful and also handle the situation.”
Agnifilo: You were trying to be joyful in your life?
Nicole: Sometimes I felt I must be missing something [in DOS]. This feels scary but maybe I’m missing something. I was trying to understand.
Agnifilo: Keith wrote you in an email that true freedom comes from commitment to a principle, and Keith said he hopes this doesn’t scare you away. You replied that it would take more than that to scare you.
Nicole: I was already in The Vow . . .
Agnifilo: Had you been pondering concepts like how to create joy by living your life for a principle?
Nicole: Allison asked me to contemplate that.
Agnifilo: You had a desire to understand what brings you a joyful life, you were interested in exploring that?
Nicole: I had no other option. I was making the best of the situation.
[Nicole was different in the cross-examination than she was during direct testimony. It was observed that Assistant US Attorney Moira Kim Penza was looking back and forth from Agnifilo to Nicole “like a protective big sister.”]
Agnifilo asked about Nicole getting into trouble over not being timely in her responses to readiness drills.
He asked her about the readiness drill.
Nicole said it was presented to her that if someone did not answer the readiness drill, to make sure they were safe.
Agnifio asked if the concept came from Mexico [because Mexico was a dangerous country at that time].
Nicole said the drill was different in Mexico, only once a day instead of at any time day or night in Albany.
Nicole: We had to be ready 24 hours a day, so we were constantly thinking about The Vow. It was for them to know where you were at all times.
Agnifilo brought up Nicole’s complaints about her paying job.
Nicole said when you wait tables, you can never predict how much money you will make.
Agnifilo: You often said you wanted to be “badass.” What did you mean by that?
Nicole: You don’t take crap. It’s someone who is strong in who they are and can protect themselves.
Agnifilo asked if Nicole had a conversation about a sexual fantasy that she had.
Nicole: No, not that I know of.
Agnifilo: You did not have a conversation about a fantasy of things sexual?
Nicole: No, I don’t think so.
(It was claimed that Nicole’s experience when she was blindfolded, with her hands on a table while Keith Alan Raniere spoke to her and as another woman – later identified as Cami – was performing oral sex] was something Nicole had told someone she had a sexual fantasy about.
Agnifilo kept pressing: You don’t think so?
Agnifilo: Are you sure you didn’t have a conversation about a fantasy? You never had this conversation?
At that point, Judge Garaufis told Agnifilo to stop asking the same question.
Agnifilo asked Nicole about her expressing anger over her life being a mess, and being angry at herself – before joining DOS.
Nicole explained that by “a mess” she meant that she moved to another place in Brooklyn, and with working and traveling to Brooklyn, she didn’t even have time to unpack.
In one email admitted into evidence, Nicole had written, “Wherever the walk led, which I did, it led many places.”
Nicole had written this shortly after the incident on the table.
Agnifilo tried to tie her statement to that incident.
Nicole said she did not know what that statement referred to.
Agnifilo: You wrote that you were excited about working with The Vow and Keith?
Nicole: I was interested in working on my life.
Agnifilo: When you had a criticism, you were not shy about expressing it to Allison.
Nicole: I was always careful, walking on eggshells. If I pushed her too far, there might be punishment.
Agnifilo: You wrote this, soon after the incident on the table? You wrote that you were excited to work with The Vow? That’s what you wrote?
Agnifilo: When you went to the Berkshires [with her fellow DOS slaves, and Allison Mack – to Michelle Hatchette’s home], you went hiking. You loved hiking?
Agnifilo: You had fun.
Nicole: Parts of it.
Agnifilo: You enjoyed each other’s [slaves and master Allison’s] company, right?
Nicole: They’re nice girls.
Agnifilo: You had long talks?
Nicole: There was a lunch that was a shaming session from Allison.
Agnifilo: How did you get that nickname, “The Brat.”
Nicole: I don’t know.
Agnifilo: How did India get the name “The Princess?”
Nicole: She had royal blood, and was a little spoiled.
Agnifilo: Do you remember an email where you told Keith you miss him?
Nicole: Yes, but Allison was always telling me to trust him. I was trying.
Agnifilo: You said in an email to Keith, “I must be starting to trust you. I miss you. I’m looking forward to seeing you. I’m sending you and Pam my love.” Why did you say sending you and Pam my love?
Nicole: Pam was sick [She dies of cancer in November 2016].
Agnifilo: Did Keith talk about Pam?
Nicole: He talked about her a lot.
Agnifilo: That didn’t upset you or make you jealous?
Nicole: No. I was trying to be supportive, really trying to trust and support Keith.
Agnifilo: You feel different now, but at the time you cared about him?
Nicole: I’m an empathetic person, but I don’t know if I’d say that.
Agnifilo: You wrote [to Keith], “You are on my mind a lot. I miss you. I’m looking forward to seeing you.” That’s what you wrote?
Nicole did admit that at times she thought maybe Keith could work with her to make her a better actor. At times, she wanted to see if she could learn anything from him.
Agnifilo: Were there times when you explicitly asked Keith for intimate [sexual] contact? You would send him messages, saying you wanted to have sex with him.
Nicole recalled one message.
Nicole: I thought this was my future. I was in an arranged marriage situation [to Keith, as he told her]. I was celibate other than Keith [at Allison’s and Keith’s command].
Agnifilo asked if she remembered asking Keith if he wanted rough sex.
The government objected to that.
The judge sustained the objection.
She and Keith had communicated by the app Telegram. After leaving DOS, Nicole deleted Telegram on her phone. Nicole was “bummed” she had done this, for she couldn’t provide their texts to the government.
Agnifilo presented Nicole with a printout from Telegram.
He asked about a “selfie” she took in the mirror which she sent to Keith.
Nicole confirmed the picture was of her, but she didn’t see her name above it.
“I don’t know if it’s from me.”
It was almost lunch time. The jury was dismissed.
There was discussion about the printout of the Telegram text messages.
Penza said there was no authentication of this.
Agnifilo said he wanted to show a relationship between her and Keith in real time.
Judge Garaufis said if Agnifilo wants to authenticate it, he should bring in someone from the company. The witness [Nicole] didn’t authenticate it. “You are stuck with her answer.”
Agnifilo said he was not stuck with her answer.
The judge asked, “Where is the phone?” (Keith’s phone, where the printout presumably came from).
Agnifilo did not know.
Judge Gaurafis said, “You have no idea? This is not a joke! You are stuck with my ruling!”
After lunch, Agnifilo asked Nicole if she expected to be paid for work she did for Pam Cafritz’s memorial service.
Nicole said she had been given the task on short notice, and stayed up 23 hours to finish it.
Agnifilo said a lot of people worked on Pam’s memorial.
Nicole explained that what she did for the memorial was an assignment from Allison.
Agnifilo: Allison helped you with your career. Did you think you should pay her for that?
Nicole: I thought it was part of mentorship. In the industry, you try to hook someone else up, give them a reference (to get an agent.)
Agnifilo: Do you remember discussing expressing your own sexuality?
Nicole: That was through The Source. Allison said to work on this. This was for character [acting] work, to portray a person who has confidence in their sexuality.
Agnifilo asked her about her setting up a “Pizza Night” with Keith at the library [his sex lair at 8 Hale Drive which he called the library].
Nicole: I did that once when I was trying to make the best of it. I thought I was never going to go on a date again. It was one of my ideas, to make this a date.
Agnifilo: You were doing things to try and make a relationship?
Nicole: When I thought I didn’t have any other option, yes.
Agnifilo asked about a text to Keith in which Nicole said Keith and her should have sex before her branding because it might be tricky afterward.
He asked why Nicole said that.
Nicole: I have no idea.
Agnifilo: Did you say similar things when you wanted to have sex with Keith?
Nicole: I don’t remember.
Agnifilo: Do you recall sending Keith a highly sexualized message on Valentine’s Day?
Nicole: It was not sexual. It was to make him laugh. It was right after Pam’s memorial.
Agnifilo: At this point, were you and Keith having intimate relations?
Nicole: If you call it that.
Agnifilo: What do you call it?
Nicole: I don’t know. There’s no word for it.
Agnifilo asked Nicole if Keith was sweet to her? Did he ever raise his voice in anger, call you a name, make you feel bad about yourself.
Nicole said he had made her feel bad about herself at times.
Agnifilo asked if Keith gave her access to money – and then referred to a time when Nicole got a $5,000 tip at work. Did she tell Keith that she did not need money for transportation that week?
Nicole explained that the tips were pooled among 13 other people.
Agnifilo: Did you say, ‘I don’t need money for the trip, because I got a share of a $5,000 tip?
Nicole: No. Why would I?
Agnifilo went on about the large tip.
Nicole explained she had bills and was still paying Allison for The Source ($11,000 fee.)
Agnifilo asked if she paid back the money she had taken from Keith for transportation from NYC to Albany.
Nicole, “I did not.”
At one point, Nicole had taken a preliminary step to recruit someone into DOS. She asked a woman if she wanted a mentor.
Agnifilo: But it never came to pass.
Nicole: “Thank God, no.”
Agnifilo asked about thingss Nicole said in an email when she was leaving DOS.
Agnifilo: Did you say you were thankful to Allison?
Nicole: Yes, I wrote that.
Agnifilo: Did you say you were thankful to Keith?
Nicole: More to Allison.
Agnifilo: You were “eternally thankful” for everything?
Nicole: I was referring to Allison.
Agnifilo: You said you were thankful for the “unconditional love” from Allison?
Nicole: I was completely misguided as to what happened. I sent a kind email, I didn’t want to upset anyone.
Agnifilo asked about the last time she saw Keith, when she waited for him.
Nicole said she had given Keith an exact time. She felt the waiting was another of Keith’s tactics.
Agnifilo: Did you tell Keith he added to her life?
Nicole: I don’t remember.
Agnifilo: Did Keith ask if he’d ever see or speak to you again? He asked you not to say bad things about him. He didn’t raise his voice? Did he seem sad?
Nicole: The world was always laying on him in some way. [Keith is a born victim.]
Agnifilo: When you got home, did you send Keith a message that you got home safely?
After she left DOS, Nicole said Bonnie, Mark Vicente’s wife, reached out to her. Nicole didn’t want to talk. Nicole did talk with Catherine Oxenberg, while India was still in DOS. Catherine gave her the name of Rick Ross to talk to, but Nicole did not speak to Ross.
Agnifilo asked her why she looked for a lawyer.
Nicole: When I came out, everything was crazy. Mark Hildreth told me I should get a lawyer. I thought I needed to protect myself. They still had my collateral. Did I have a right to that? Getting a lawyer was the responsible thing for me to do.
Nicole was asked about Frank Parlato, (of Frank Report).
Nicole said she emailed him to take her name off the site.
She testified that Frank said she needed to call him first.
Agnifilo: Did Frank pressure you about a civil lawsuit?
Agnifilo: Do you remember telling the FBI that Frank pressed you to file a civil suit against Nxivm?
Agnifilo: Did Frank pressure you to go to the FBI?
Nicole: [wiping away tears]: He was scaring me. He said he had my collateral. I thought, ‘Again? I have to go through this again? Someone else can’t be telling me they have my collateral!’. So I got a lawyer.
Agnifilo asked if Nicole knew if Frank did, in fact, have her collateral.
She said she did not.
Agnifilo asked her again if Frank pressed her to file a civil lawsuit.
She said no again.
Agnifilo: Do you remember Frank telling you to go to law enforcement?
Nicole replied, “Yes.”
Nicole said her conversations with Frank happened only within a limited time .
Agnifilo asked if Nicole intended to file a civil lawsuit or be part of a class-action suit.
Nicole said no.
Agnifilo asked if there was a conversation about a documentary?
Nicole said she has no role in a documentary. “I didn’t want anything to do with it!”
Agnifilo asked did she have conversations with others who had gone to the FBI.
Nicole said they talked only of their experiences. She was told not to speak about what she told the FBI.
In response to her preliminary efforts to get someone in DOS, Nicole said there was a lot of pressure from Allison to do this.
That was the end of the cross-examination.
In re-direct, Penza brought up the friend who Nicole asked if she might be interested in mentorship.
Nicole said she didn’t want to bring anyone into DOS, but she understood she was supposed to recruit slaves.
She said she told Keith that she didn’t want to bring anyone in. She told Keith she didn’t want anyone else to go through what she went through. Keith laughed, saying, “You haven’t gone through all that much.”
Regarding recruiting slaves, Keith asked Nicole, “Don’t you want a friend to be on this life journey with you?”
Nicole testified she did not want anyone to go through the crazy things she did with DOS.
Nicole said she had a notion that she could keep a recruit as just a mentorship, that she could protect a person she brought in.
Penza asked if Keith was always sweet. Keith said, “You were 29 and you have nothing to show for it.” He called you prideful and defiant. He wanted to break you to rebuild you. Penza asked if Keith ever contacted her to return her collateral?
Nicole answered no.
Penza: Do you think that’s sweet?
Penza: Would you ever consider having sex with him now?