This is part 3 of Allison Through the Looking Glass – a series on how Allison Mack was portrayed at the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. It is important for some readers to get a glimpse of Mack who will be sentenced most likely sometime this year for her role in the Nxivm crime organization.
Allison’s likely sentence is in the 3-5 year range. However, the judge could sentence her to the max of 40 years or suspend the sentence altogether.
The witness on the stand is Mark Vicente. It is the fourth day of trial. He is being examined by Assistant US Attorney Mark Lesko.
He has already testified that Allison was starved and confused. Now, he speaks more directly and exclusively about Allison.
Lesko: Did you witness the defendant [Keith Raniere] being physically intimate with Allison Mack?
Vicente: I did…
Q Let’s discuss Allison Mack for a moment.
Q Do you recall when you first met Ms. Mack?
A Yes. I don’t recall the exact year, but it was at a volleyball game. She had just flown in from, I think it was Seattle on the Bronfman jet, and he had just come from the airport to come and meet — well, she told me to come and meet me and Raniere.
Q What was Allison Mack’s role in NXIVM?
A Well, in the beginning, she was, you know, a student who became a coach, who eventually became a proctor. She was one of the heads of Jness… she was one of the leaders. She was [also] the head of humanities in Albany.
Q Was that a committee?
A That’s a committee…. she also was the head of the company called The Source, which would be the acting program. And then she also for a time was involved in a company called The Knife. The Knife of Aristotle was a media analysis company.
Q Who promoted Allison Mack to proctor?
A I don’t recall exactly, but I do remember having a discussion with Lauren Salzman about it. Because I remember when she was going to be promoted, I remember saying …. ‘are you serious? That’s insane. There’s something not stable about her. And … she’s got this gaggle of women that she’s mentoring that are not doing well.” I was very concerned. I don’t recall who exactly gave the final sign-off on the promotion, though.
Q Who had ultimate authority to decide on who would progress on the path?
A The ultimate authority was [Keith] Raniere. Lauren Salzman would make the final decisions because he [Raniere] would be the final say.
Q Was Allison Mack a member of the defendant’s trusted group?
A She was.
Q When was The Source developed?
A The Source was developed sometime at 2014. It was one of the companies under … The Ultima umbrella, and it originally consisted of Allison and then I think there was 12 of us… altogether.
Q And did The Source have curriculum?
A The Source had curriculum. What would happen … is Raniere would meet with us. Myself or somebody else would videotape the meeting. And that would be turned into the actual curriculum. And then once he had done [this] … the term … he and others used, ‘the download of all of the material,’ that was turned into written things and videotapes and then we began running trainings.
Q And the focus was on actors?
A The focus was on actors. We were told later musicians and public speakers, but it was mostly performance. …. being in front of people, how to best use the instrument of presentation or performance.
Q Did the curriculum developed for The Source, was that an adaptation of the defendant’s tech system as applied to actors?
A To some degree. There were certain things in there that were part of some of the other curriculum. There was a section that was from Ultima Reverence in terms of teaching people: emotional flexibility, how to deal with feelings that you struggled with. And then there was this…. focus on showing — looking like you’re having the feeling. But you don’t have to [feel] it, just look like you’re having it. So again, like you don’t have to be feeling any grief just… look [like] what people look like when they’re grief-stricken…. do that. What do their heads do, arms do, do they look down? And basically, you know, teach actors as opposed to models. I was used to the more inside out [method of acting], which was with ‘field of thing’ body, find a moment in your life [to capture the mood]. This was more, well, a shortcut. Just look like you’re having the emotion and the audience will believe you.
Q Did Allison Mack eventually move to Clifton Park?
A She did eventually. She moved from Casual Gardens, I think, to Clifton Park.
Q Do you recall approximately when this happened?
A I know for sure it was pre-2013, but I don’t remember the exact year.
Q And where did Allison Mack reside in Clifton Park?
A So she moved into 77 Generals Way, actually, along with my wife and I….
Q Did you stop living with Allison Mack at 7 Generals Way?
Q What happened?
A She said at one point she needed to do some more private work and she needed to be alone. So she moved a few blocks away to Grenadier Court…. She said she needed privacy to do some of the different projects she was working on.
Q Did Allison Mack get along with your wife?
A At the beginning, I think, yes. Later, not so much.
Q Was your wife involved in The Source?
Q Was there conflict between your wife and Allison Mack regarding The Source?
A There was. The concerns my wife [Bonnie Piesse] had related to the divisions that were occurring in the company, where there were like 12, maybe 13 people that all felt that this was part of their company, and then suddenly there were their divisions, of like, ‘no, you people are not in charge, these people are in charge.’
And it … was messy. She [Bonnie] had concerns about the way it was handled. The way some people had been … pushed to the side as unimportant, in essence, just having no value in this company at all. And she brought that up a few times, and she was challenged a great deal about that. And she also had concerns about Allison’s psychology [her] erratic behavior and whether she would be able to lead well.
Q At some point do you recall a meeting involving yourself, Allison Mack, your wife and the defendant?
A Yes. He [Keith] offered to do an arbitration between Allison and my wife, and I was there as well. Because I had said to him ‘things were not working. There’s a lot of unresolved issues with this company and a lot of people feel very slighted.’ So he said, ‘Well, maybe I should jump on board,’ which is pretty unusual. Most of the time he would say ‘it’s not good if I would do an arbitration because I’m final point. After me is the point of no return,’ so [he had] other people do that. For some reason, he felt that he would do the arbitration.
Q What was an arbitration at NXIVM?
A An arbitration at NXIVM is basically figuring out what is the issue that each person is having, and then trying to help them understand how the issue they’re having is related to their particular issues. You know, their inner deficiencies, their life issues, that kind of thing and to get each party to take responsibility for what’s theirs and then see if there’s any action that needs to be taken in some way.
So it wasn’t just, “Well, okay, each of you talk.” It’s “Each of you talk and now let’s look at other unresolved things with respect to each of you that you need to look at that may be affecting the way you’re seeing things.” That’s generally speaking.
Q So what did the defendant say at the arbitration meeting involving yourself, Allison Mack and your wife?
A Well, he started the meeting by saying, “Well, let’s just start with ground rules. Does everybody at the table believe that everybody at this table has good intent?’ And, of course, everybody said ‘yes.’ If you said ‘no,’ it would be a huge problem. Saying ‘no’ was a huge problem because it looks like, you project. Like you think somebody has bad intent, well, clearly you’re the one with bad intent, so of course you said ‘yes.’
And then he began to elicit from each person different things. He basically had Allison admit that she hated my wife, was trying to destroy her. Was very jealous of her. And then, you know, he said to my wife, basically, “There’s things you’ve been through like loss of innocence. I’ve seen this kind of thing.” And then he tasked Allison with finishing it [ending the problem], that what she’d done was a real problem and that she needed to really look into herself and fix this impulse that she has to destroy another woman. You know that has to be fixed. So that was the way I remembered [the arbitration] ending was basically she [Allison] has to go fix this.