Part 4: Lauren Salzman: Cross Examination Stopped by Judge: Branding Was Supposed to Be a Sisterly Bonding Experience

This the photo the government is using of Lauren Salzman in exhibits for the jury.

Frank Report has published in three previous installments, the cross-examination of Lauren Salzman in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere.

Her cross-examination led her to break down and the judge ultimately stopping it.

Because it is likely to form a basis of an appeal [Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo made a motion for a mistrial because of the suspended cross-examination], readers might be interested in reading the cross.

It reveals a lot about one of the key leaders of Nxivm and her slavish devotion to Keith Raniere.

In this part – which is Part 4 – a lot is revealed about DOS and the secret branding session.

Marc Agnifilo is doing the cross-examination. Lauren had testified for the prosecution prior to cross-examination.

Part 1: Lauren Salzman: Cross Examination Stopped by Judge: Women of Raniere and Lauren’s Acceptance of Them

Part 2: Lauren Salzman Cross  Examination Stopped by Judge: Lauren Asked If She Was an Adult 

Part 3: Lauren Salzman Cross Examination Stopped by Judge: Lauren’s Pain Over Not Having Child 

Branding was Bonding Experience

Q Now, your own branding, who were you with?

A I was with everybody in my circle except Allison. So Rosa Laura [Junco], Monica [Duran], Loreta [Garza], Daniella [Padilla], Nicki [Clyne], and Cami [name withheld].

Q And you said in the past that it was a bonding experience that you had with these other women. Is that true?

A Based on what I was believing at the time, I did experience that, yes.

Q So I’m only asking you your belief at the time. I mean, as it was happening, you are being branded in the presence of these other women, you felt close to them?

A I felt close to them believing that they wanted to be with me and that they chose me and they had always wanted me to be with them, not that they’re in a vow of obedience, that when Keith told them — if Keith told them to enroll me, whether they wanted me there or not.

Q But you — at the time, when you were all together, you believed that it felt like a bonding experience to you?

A Yes.

Lauren’s Slaves Got Branded The Same Day

Q Now, in terms of your own slaves, everyone was … branded… on the same day; correct?

A The five who were branded were branded on the same day; correct.

Q The five were branded on the same day. And the order, it is Jimena [Garza] was first, Audrey [last name withheld] was second, Sara [Edmondson] was third, Carola [Garza] was fourth, and Amanda [last name presently withheld to determine if she is still in DOS] was last?

A …. Yes.


Q …  Amanda … was screaming?

A Yes….

Q She’s being branded and she’s screaming; right?

A Yes, she was being branded and screaming.

Q All right. Before the branding, a stencil is put on the place where the brand is going to go?

A Correct.

Q For each of the women under you, that was in that hip area; correct?

A Yes.

Q So, at that point, everyone in that room knew they were going to be branded?

A They did know that they were going to be branded, yes.

Q …  no one thought they were going to get a tattoo and all of a sudden they’re held down being branded?

A Correct. They all knew they were being branded.

Q Not only that, after watching Jimena, everyone would have known this is painful?

A Yes.

Q Because there was no doubt that Jimena was reacting to experiencing pain; right?

A Correct.


Q Okay. And everybody goes through with their brandings?

A They did, yes….  But … Jimena, in the middle, said ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this, I want to stop,’ and I said ‘You can’t stop.’

Q She’s the first person to go?

A Uh-hum. Yes. So … I did tell them they can’t stop.

Q After the branding had started?

A After it had started.

Q Right. And during the branding, Carola…  noticed that [the brand formed the initials] … K and R?

A She noticed it during the stenciling.

THE COURT: What did she notice?

THE WITNESS: She noticed, when we were laying out the stencils, that it was Keith’s initials, KR.

Sarah’s Branding Video Left in Mexico by Lauren

Q Now, you said …  these brandings were videotaped?

A Correct.

Q And you believe some of the videotapes are somewhere in Mexico?

A … I don’t know if they were in Mexico or left here in New York. The people who had the videotape went to Mexico. Sara’s branding, I left on a hard drive in Mexico.

Q I was going to ask you about Sara’s branding.

A Yeah.

Q And Sara’s branding was videotaped as well, correct?

A Yes.

Q And then there was some talk, you testified on direct, of possibly releasing Sara’s videotape to a reporter or to the media, correct?

A That’s correct.

Q And that’s because Sara was making public statements misrepresenting the branding; correct?

A Correct.

Q She was saying that she was held down against her will, right?

A Yes.

Q She was saying she didn’t know she was going to be branded, right?

A Yes.


THE COURT: Sustained.

Q So, just in your own words, why were you going to release the video? I mean, because you said on direct examination you were going to release the videotape because of inconsistencies, and I’m asking you just to follow up on what you said on direct.

A To … show areas of positivity and consent and discredit Sara’s allegations.

Q Okay. And these were allegations made to, among other places, the New York Times?

A Yes. Correct.

Q There was a prominent New York Times article on this topic, correct?

A Yes.

Q And you believed that what Sara had told the New York Times was false?

A I believed aspects of what Sara told the New York Times were false.

Q And at the end of the day, you guys decided that you would not release the videotape of Sara’s branding to the media?

A Correct.

Q And none of the videotapes of the brandings, to your knowledge, have ever been released to anyone?

A Yes. And we didn’t release them because we didn’t want it to be seen as collateral and that it was the release of collateral. We didn’t want anybody to be able to say that we had released collateral. It’s on purpose that we didn’t release it.

Q Right. And so none of it has ever been released?

A Uh-hum. Correct.

[It was in fact released and was televised in Mexico.]


DOS First Line Slaves Allison Mack and Dani Padilla

Padilla Into BSDM?

Agnifilo asks Lauren about the DOS sorority house Rosa Laura Junco bought on Milltowne Road in Clifton Park and about First Line Slave Dani Padilla’s purchase of sex toys for DOS.

Q Do you know if Dani Padilla was into that kind of stuff?

A I don’t know. We had never discussed it outside of the context of DOS.

Q Did she say in the context of DOS, that she was into that kind of stuff?

A We didn’t really discuss it like that…   she was the one researching it, so I assumed she was into it.

Q You didn’t pay for any of it; right?

A No, and I never researched things like that either.


Q Do you know if Dani Padilla wanted these things for her own reasons?

HAJJAR: Objection.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q Do you know why Dani Padilla researched these things and then paid for them and bought them to have under an invoice with her name?

A She told me that they were for the dungeon because when things went public, she said these things she ordered for the dungeon and thank God that they hadn’t arrived yet and she was going to cancel them because she didn’t want it to become public that we were making a dungeon.

Q Did you and — I’m sorry. Pardon me for asking a personal question. You and Keith never engaged in BDMS?

A Correct, we did not.

Q Did Keith ever tell you or ask you or suggest to you that you and he engage in BDMS activities?

A Not outside of DOS.

Q Now, how did paddling become a form of penance?

A I think they were doing it before I got there, so I was grandfathered into that as well.


Dani Padilla [r] a first line slave to her master Keith Alan Raniere [l] walking in Clifton Park. Raniere’s days of walking – or paddling slaves for that matter – are gone – for the present – unless, of course, he is acquitted.

The DOS Handbook and Agnifilo ‘s Word Salad

Agnifilo then asked about the DOS handbook and quoted from it.

Q And DOS … was a tough program; right?

A Yes.

Agnifilo quoted another passage from the book: “Your master is actually a very complex thing. Your master starts out as, like in yoga, your guru, your God, you’re whatever. It is as a person, the person through which you took the vow, but it becomes something much deeper. When you internalize that person, it is that person with you as you and you as that person.”

Q Does that mean anything to you in the context of the master/slave relationship?

A … my relationship with Keith was very much like that before the master/slave relationship.

Q Meaning that you felt sort of devoted to him, committed to him that way?

A …. I always had the filter of how is Keith gonna think about this? Is Keith gonna think this is good? Is Keith gonna think this is balanced? Is this gonna be a problem? Is this something that’s healing? Is this something that’s fixing? It was something that I carried around with me all the time.


Lauren Salzman – pre-DOS – she was on the Executive Board of Nxivm – as the Director of Education. As such, she had a large say in promotions on the stripe path.

Agnifilo asked Lauren is she let her slaves know that Keith had a role in creating the DOS handbook?

A  …  at the time I read them the book, I told them there was a supreme master and that if we met our enrollment requirements, we would qualify for additional education. So I alluded to it, I didn’t tell them that.

Q And the supreme master that you had in mind was Keith?

A Yes…. Keith was the supreme master.

Q Right. But you didn’t say the supreme master Keith — to your slaves?

A No, I didn’t.

Q But you were suggesting,…  that Keith had a role in creating the DOS book?

A Yes.


Agnifilo went into more theories of the DOS master-slave relationship and in so doing, he nearly captures Raniere’s brand of “word salad.”

Q … The idea isn’t so much that you’re serving this master who is this other person, the idea is you’re incorporating the whole concept of this devotedness into kind of who you are, right? It’s really about you, it’s not about serving your master, it’s not about making your master’s life better?

A That’s what — yes, that’s what the theory is.

Q Okay.

A That if you serve your master, eventually you learn how to serve something outside of your reactivity or body, like lower, what was viewed as lower values, to be able to overcome that, to uphold your higher values.


Keith Raniere’s super lawyer, Marc Agnifilo can match the Vanguard “word-salad”  for “word-salad” He asks Lauren, “Eventually you learn how to serve something outside of your reactivity or body… viewed as lower values, to be able to overcome that, to uphold your higher values..” [Photo by Dianne Lipson]

Q — Bhakti yoga which this is … yoga of worship, where someone can go and worship a guru that is a fool, a guru that is an asshole, a murderer, whatever it is and still reach enlightenment because you are reaching yourself through something in the outside world, but everything in the outside world is just a play of consciousness. We are tricking ourselves that something external is important to us. The thing, itself, isn’t important to us. It’s something on the inside that’s important to us, that we’re making the external thing be. Right, that’s that same concept, right, or is it not? I’m asking you.

A Is it the same concept as what we were just discussing?

Q Yes.

A I mean I see it a little bit different.

Q Go ahead, tell me the way you see it.

A That — I mean that, ultimately, you could become unified in yourself separate from what’s going on in the outside. Right? And that the inside self is the most important thing than what’s going on in the outside, but that doesn’t make it good that you worship a guru that’s a murderer or something like that.

Q It might not be good as a thing in itself, but it could bring you — the point here is it could bring you enlightenment, you could worship a guru that’s a fool, but it is your devotedness, the state of your devotion that is the thing that’s causing you enlightenment or to improve or to become more joyous or whatever you want to say it is?

A I think that’s the theory of that.

Frank Report first published this photo in June 2017 – 10 months before Raniere was arrested – and six months before the FBI began investigating. Frank Report was first to report that paddling was used as punishment. This is Frank Report’s original caption: “This is a representation of the paddling punishment imposed on the women of DOS who fail to meet their quota of slave enrollment. The man with the paddle in this picture is not Mr. Raniere. Sources say that the paddling is administered by women on women.”

Texts Between Lauren and Her Slave Audrey

Agnifilo reviews a number of chats between Lauren and her slave Audrey. [Government Exhibit, 432-R.]

Q [Audrey writes]: ‘Amanda [another of Lauren’s slaves] and I want to do our mega penance from our readiness failure while we’re in San Diego with you.  Can you advise on what method instrument we should use?’ And you [Lauren] say: ‘Go to a sex store and get a paddle. They have leather ones. I sent Jimena a picture.’

Did you think of this on your own or did you get this idea [of paddles] from somewhere else?

A This is what we did in my circle. I came into the circle and they already had these paddles and that’s what we used.

Q And so you are suggesting to them they can do the same thing?

A Correct. They can do the same thing because they chose to do the same penance that I was doing for their failure.

Q And it was a readiness failure?

A Correct.

Q And …  Audrey says: Spoke too soon. KF is having another freakout, asked me not to submit her collateral and to back out. I talked her down. She’s processing through her reactions faster.

… and you’re basically saying, remind her that she made a life commitment?

A Yes.

Q …  you say: Be gentle, but speak to her about this, right?

A Yes.

Q And part of what you’re imparting here is you have to be tough because this person, you know, thinks the program is better for them, but is worried about the collateral; so you have to be tough, but you have to be gentle.

And those are the words that you’re saying to Audrey here?

A Yes; talk softly but carry a big stick.

Q ….And you write here: The idea of creating weight for yourself is so that you can stack the odds in your favor towards growth and your ideals. And weight is the collateral, correct?

A That’s correct, yes.

Keith and Burt Reynolds

Q You go on to say: We say “I want to grow to be my best self”; and then it quickly turns into “I want to grow to be my best self if it’s not uncomfortable or scary”; and then it turns into, “I didn’t really want that goal or ideal,” which turns into “My life is fine the way it is,” which is a lie… we lower the standard of our goals and dreams to match our low capacity for difficulty or discomfort, right?

A Yes, that came from Keith telling me about a Burt Reynolds movie where he swam out to the water and was gonna drown and then he started making all these promises with God that he was going to do a whole bunch of things; and as he gets closer to shore, he’s like, Nah, I really didn’t mean any of those things.


Q He says: God, if I get back to the shore, I’ll give you everything I own?

A Yes.

Q And when he gets halfway, he says: God, I’ll give you half of what I own?

A (No response.)

Q And then when he gets almost there: God, I’ll give you a fourth of what I own….

[More discussion on texts and the afternoon break.]

Stay tuned for Part 5 of Lauren’s Cross Examination.

Before we offer Part 5, Frank Report will leave its readers with a crude image, first published in June 2017, when Frank Report was the first and only publication reporting on DOS, its branding, its blackmail, its extortion, its sex trafficking and its bare bottom paddling.

Knowing that almost the entire Nxivm group was reading the Frank Report – despite Keith telling them not to read it – I thought this photoshopped image of Rosa Laura Junco paddling Keith’s bare ass would help shock Kool-Aid drinking members and give them a laugh at Vanguard’s expense. 

Here is the original caption published in June 2017. “While the models featured in this cartoon are not accurately depicted, this artist conception does authentically show the bare bottom paddling that is administered to a disobedient DOS slave.”


About the author

Frank Parlato

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Mary Barnes
4 years ago

Where is Part 5?

4 years ago

It’s 11:54 pm on the east coast and after reading this latest court testimony of Lauren Salzman I am actually starting to feel some sympathy for her because she is so indoctrinated in the insanity and ridiculousness of Nxivm tech.

So “Brain Washing” does not exist?

Lauren Salzman sure seems like she is suffering from ‘something’ the scientific community invalidates.

So what is Lauren Salzman suffering from?

4 years ago
Reply to  niceguy

You are asking in the wrong place…BTW some scientist invalidates it (but most aren’t even in the field needed to judge…It’s like asking a geologist info about something that should be asked to a biologist).

The reality is that some people are (sort of) immune to those manipulations (like hypnoses) but some are sensitive to it.
Here, Raniere made sure he would have the greatest chance to manipulate them (vegan extreme diet and sleep deprivation).

4 years ago
Reply to  niceguy

“So what is Lauren Salzman suffering from?”

A Lust for Power and Money.
A Fruitless Search for Meaning in a Chaotic Life.

Never forget that Lauren profited from NXIVM.
Lots of money went through the hands of Lauren and her mother Nancy.
Maybe Lauren never had her Avatar Baby but she enjoyed a nice new BMW.

4 years ago

I still cannot get over the fact that Lauren and the other women were so incredible indoctrinated.

I understand the following word salad quote at the bottom of my post, I just believe it’s 100% bullshit….
…… And cannot understand why anyone would believe it unless they were indoctrinated or insane. So I guess Lauren was completely indoctrinated.

“The idea of creating weight for yourself is so that you can stack the odds in your favor towards growth and your ideals. And weight is the collateral.”

Lauren Salzman spent a good deal of her life believing in something that obviously to anyone on the outside her leader did not believe in.

4 years ago
Reply to  NotANiceGuy

“I still cannot get over the fact that Lauren and the other women were so incredible indoctrinated. ”
They were obviously not at first…but the diet is devastating for the brain and the rational thinking.

Still, why start that absurd diet at first.

4 years ago
Reply to  NotANiceGuy

it is true that those who have had ‘interesting'(in the Chinese curse sense) lives, are often envied for perceived qualities that make them ‘heavyweight’, or ‘deep’ ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ – this group of privileged women definitely suffered from a little of that ‘nostalgia de la bouie’ as the french call it.

4 years ago

Gee, they all received 3rd degree burns on the same day. Burns generally treated in a medical facility.
Keloid scars.
Burns through all layers of the dermis.

I am sure Keith came up with this branding idea and not Allison though, with the influence he had over her, he made her believe it was all her idea.

4 years ago

Agnifilo can’t get enough of the ‘Sex Cult’ angle because he can use it as a distraction from the actual crimes that Raniere has been charged with. Better to talk about the ‘Sex Cult’ than Raniere’s rapes. Better to talk about the ‘Sex Cult’ than Dani’s imprisonment.

Raniere has not been charged with running a ‘Sex Cult.’ He’s been charged with very specific crimes, that Agnifilo wants to conceal beneath a fog of titillating ‘Sex Cult’ irrelevance.

Keith isn’t a horny guy who liked variety in his sex life.

He’s a guy who likes to rape underage girls.

He’s a guy who believes that having sex with children is normal and healthy.

I thing the jury will be intelligent enough to see through Agnifilo’s smoke screen.

4 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Agnifilo is a dirty bird at heart thus why he keeps bringing up the kink angle. Also it’s a way to distract from the real charges.

Not that I am a fan of Clare but my advice to her is cut your losses, stop funding Keith’s defense, and go to Fiji, and live quietly for the rest of your life.

4 years ago

What does it say about these NXIVM women that they could hear their fellow women screaming in agony and writhing in pain and not feel some sympathy for their sister-wives?

And I will be brutally honest:
Not just role playing or mild bondage.
Real Hard Core BDSM.

And the HIDEOUS Lauren Salzman and the equally HIDEOUS Allison Mack were All In for BDSM.

4 years ago

I think it’s fair to say they were into self-debasement. It’s sad, really…

4 years ago
Reply to  Actaeon

“It’s sad, really…”

Yes, it is sad since they thought they were really empowered.

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.” Parlato was also 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 premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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