This is the first in a series about the true role that Allison Mack played in the sex trafficking of her slave Nicole.
Nicole, a 31-year-old aspiring actress, came under Mack’s influence in 2015; at first, she was hopeful that Mack could help her with her career.
Nicole was soon recruited by Mack to join a secret sorority – called DOS – which she was led to believe would help her in life and lead to her ultimately meeting Mack’s master, Keith Alan Raniere. Nicole was induced to give blackmail worthy material to Mack, which she shared with Raniere and, ultimately, Nicole was branded on her pubic region – as a slave – with Keith Raniere’s initials.
All of the details we are going to reveal came from Nicole’s statements – to me – when I interviewed her – and later in the trial of Raniere in federal court in Brooklyn – where she testified.
Mack did not stand trial because she took a plea deal which saw her plead guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy – and avoid the serious sex trafficking charge – for sex trafficking Nicole.
Raniere was convicted of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy – and also, because of Nicole’s testimony, of sex trafficking.
I know quite a bit about this – since I was the first person to urge Nicole to go to the FBI, and arranged a meeting with her and Catherine Oxenberg in Brooklyn. Then, Catherine and I arranged for Nicole to go to an attorney, Neil Glazer, who, in turn, took her to the FBI. She became a star witness for the prosecution.
I knew after talking to Nicole that crimes had been committed against her by Raniere and possibly Mack. I outlined those crimes to Glazer, who, in turn, outlined them to the FBI and then later produced Nicole to the feds. Glazer represented Nicole pro bono.
Thanks to Nicole agreeing to become a witness, Raniere was convicted of sex trafficking – and for this crime, he faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.
Raniere could not have sex-trafficked Nicole without Allison’s help. She introduced Nicole to Raniere.
But how guilty is Allison?
As we unfold this little series, I believe the reader will be able to judge for himself or herself, whether Allison was a victim or whether she participated gleefully in the sex trafficking of Nicole.
Before we begin the actual testimony of Nicole, I would like to address comments made by some readers – that we have had enough stories about Allison Mack.
This is not entirely a story about Mack – but rather a story about a precedent-setting sex trafficking case.
Usually, sex trafficking comes with prostitution and involves women who are in the lowest, most vulnerable rungs of society – the most helpless. Nicole comes from a fine family who are at least middle class, if not affluent – and she is in the normal workaday world; she was gainfully employed and aspiring for her dream to be an actress and having some success at it.
Yet, she too was sex trafficked – not for money. Not as a prostitute, who could not escape some ruthless gang – who forced her to offer her body to many men for money paid each time she was degraded.
Nicole was in a so-called self-help group and was not sold – but rather coerced into having sex with just one man – the leader of the cult.
This is not your typical sex-trafficking scenario and, in this respect, it is groundbreaking.
Poor Allison – who is the most famous in the group – and who will attract the largest attention – because of her former celebrity [now notoriety, now infamy] – was in the middle of it, and now will help guide the public to a larger understanding of a new concept of sex trafficking, arising from this precedent-setting legal case.
Perhaps it is unjust to have what happened to Nicole deemed as sex trafficking – it may be a reach or overreach – but the charges were made by the feds and the jury decided it was true. Nicole was sex trafficked.
And Allison was in the middle, lucky to avoid the sex trafficking charges herself.
By exploring this matter thoroughly, readers may come to sympathize with Allison, coming to believe perhaps that she, as a slave, too, was sex-trafficked herself.
In this and the next posts in this series, we will be working from transcripts of the trial – with additional comments from me to explain the context.
Most of this has never been published and much of it is in Nicole’s exact words.
She is the witness, on June 7, 2019 – the 18th day of the trial of Keith Raniere. She is being examined by the lead prosecutor, Moira Kim Penza, an assistant US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Department of Justice. The presiding judge is Nicholas G. Garuafis.
Raniere, along with his attorneys, is in the courtroom and between her and Penza, to her right – seated in two rows – on wooden seats – with small monitors to examine exhibits – are 12 jurors and five alternates – listening – apparently quite intently – to her testimony.
As a matter of context, Nicole was Allison’s slave – in the master-slave sorority called DOS. Unbeknownst to her, this sorority was led by a man, and he was the master of Mack, which made Nicole, in the parlance of the group, the grand-slave of Raniere, the man on trial.
As a slave of Allison’s, Nicole was required to obey her commands or risk punishment – such as having her collateral released – collateral in the form of blackmail worthy material – which, if released publicly, or to the right people, could destroy her career and ruin her relationships with her family.
In April 2016, Allison had a command for her slave, Nicole – who was, at the time, a struggling actress living in New York and trying to make enough money in acting to quit her regular job – in a nightclub.
Allison ordered Nicole to make contact with Keith Raniere – a man she had never met – but had heard about – as the leader of Nxivm.
As a matter of record, if Nicole was Allison’s slave, in turn, Allison was Raniere’s slave, and, just as Nicole must obey Mack’s commands, so also did Allison have to obey Raniere. This is important for while Mack ordered Nicole to begin to communicate with Raniere, I doubt this is something Allison likely dreamed up for herself.
It is my opinion that Raniere ordered Mack to order Nicole to start communicating with him. Why? Because Nicole is a naturally slender, attractive brunette, who was the type of woman that Raniere was sexually attracted to.
At the time, Nicole did not know Raniere was the secret leader of DOS. She had already taken the Nxivm five-day intensive so she was familiar with pictures of Raniere which hung on the walls of Nxivm classes.
After Nicole received her order from Allison to make contact with Raniere, Nicole emailed Raniere trying to get a response.
He did not respond to her first email.
Nicole then asked Allison what she should write, what should she do to get him to respond.
Assistant US Attorney Moira Penza is asking the questions.
Nicole, on the witness stand, is answering.
Q: …What did you do?
A I [texted Allison asking] what I should say – [Allison texted back]… that I needed to have him respond, so I sent another e-mail.
Q Did you end up sending a series of e-mails?
A Yeah, I think I sent one — I sent one more and then he still didn’t respond, and then she [Allison] was really getting on me, and then she said that … I was slow as molasses getting this accomplished [getting Raniere to respond] and then she said, if I didn’t get him to respond by 3:00 a.m…. that she would have to take a cold shower. [it was April and the water is still cold in New York]. So then I sent another e-mail.
Q Why did you do that?
A Because I was scared that I was going to get in trouble and I also didn’t want her to have to take a cold shower. At that time that seemed like kind of a crazy thing to do. I was like ‘why do you have to do that if he’s not answering?’ And I didn’t want to make her have to do that, so I tried to e-mail again.
Q And … this is now the second e-mail that you’ve sent to the defendant?
A Yes. And I believe Allison said to like ‘ask him a question.’
Q So is that why you say [in the second email to Raniere], “I go around and around in circles trying to think of the right question to ask?”
Q And do you remember there being a sense of urgency from Allison from the time you … first received the defendant’s e-mail address…
Q And so you end up asking a question: “The biggest question on my mind, how do I constantly challenge my fears and be joyful at the same time? While I’m challenging and facing my fears, my body feels constantly in fight or flight.” Do you remember asking that question [to Raniere in an email]?
Q And did you feel that way at the time?
A Yes, especially when like [Allison] was putting a lot of pressure on me to get an answer. Every time she gave me an assignment, my body just went into fight or flight because I knew I had to do it, so I would go into fight or fright.
Q And you say: “I’m about to start the five day in New York City with Lauren.” Did you end up taking the five-day intensive again?
A Yeah. Allison had talked about wanting me to do more ESP curriculum, which she wanted — it goes the five day and then like ten more days, but it had been such a long time I just said that I would rather do the first five day over again, then do more.
Q And at the end, you say [in her email to Raniere]: “In all the videos I’ve seen and things I’ve heard about you, you’re very joyful and playful, but for me, thinking about pushing on my fears for the rest of my life doesn’t make me feel playful. It makes me feel scared and heavy-hearted, it makes me want to run away.” Is that how you felt at the time?
Q And this is April 17, 2016…
A Uh-hum. Yes.
Q And did the defendant respond to this e-mail?
Q And April 18, so the next day, you send another e-mail?
Q And … you write: “… I have no idea how to befriend someone that I’ve never met, especially someone as intellectual and contemplative and as in demand as you, and having to do it over the internet while it’s pushing against all sorts of things I hate, like bothering people or asking for things or feeling uncomfortable or, even worse, feeling needy or desperate.” Did you have any desire to be e-mailing the defendant?
A No, there was no reason for me to.” [other than being ordered by Mack]
Q And then you say: “But Allison told me to be honest with you and the truth is that Allison is trying to push me, or I assume push against my fears, and is going to stand in a cold shower if I don’t figure out how to hear back from you by 3:00 a.m. Yeah, that’s happening. I would personally prefer not to have her do that. I know, shocking. At least not on account of, or because of my failure.” So did the defendant respond to this e-mail?
A Yes. Finally.
Q …. Before he responded, had you actually sent another e-mail as well? …
A Oh, yeah. Yeah, I was just trying to think of anything to spark up a conversation so I sent one of my favorite Ted talks by JK Rowling.
Q So …. on the 18th at 5:20 a.m., you had sent the e-mail about her taking the cold shower, and then on the 18th at 12:42 p.m., you sent the Ted talk. And then did the defendant respond on April 18 at 6:46 p.m.?
Q Okay. So the defendant [Raniere] writes: ‘Oh, dear, how far do you want (me) to go? Also the thing with Allison and the shower is not a good lever for me, but more of ethics later.” Did you know what that meant?
A Not exactly, but I assumed that he considered what I did unethical, like I don’t know why, but, yeah, that is what I got from it.
Q [Penza continues to read Raniere’s email to Nicole] “How committed are you to working to get this answer? It is a scary, difficult journey to experiencing existence with the lightness of true freedom with the depth of love.” Now, did you want to “experience the lightness of true freedom with the depth of love?”
A I mean, I don’t really know what that is, to be honest.
Q Okay. And then [Raniere] said: “Thank you for persisting. I just got your three e-mails, long after Allison must have started her refreshing shower.” So that’s in response to the cold shower?
Q Now, did you respond — did you end up responding to the defendant?
Q Were you checking in with Allison during this time and telling her about whether there had been a response from the defendant?
At this point, Raniere’s attorney Marc Agnifilo objected.
AGNIFILO: Your Honor, object to the leading [the witness].
THE COURT: Rephrase the question.
Q Nicole, during this time, are you communicating with Allison?
A Yeah, because I have to let her know that I accomplished it.
Q And how is she responding?
A Like “good job, finally. Good job, now like start a back and forth.”
Q And did she say that?
Penza shows Nicole a two-page e-mail chain.
Q Is this the back and forth between you and the defendant following his response?
Q So, Nicole, you wrote back to the defendant: “Yeah, I wasn’t sure about that lever [mentioning that Allison would have to take a cold shower], but I got scared and panicked. Thank you for the feedback on that. I have so much to learn on ethics.” What’s feedback?
A That’s like an ESP-like NXIVM word – people were constantly giving you feedback on how you could improve or what you could do better. Yeah.
Q And then you talk about “it’s the whole process of acting and the discipline and the human exploration, and the person I have to become in order to be a great actor that I love?”
Q You are talking about your interests here; are you talking about your interests in improving as an actor?
A Yeah. Yes.
Q … was that your focus?
A I think that sentence is a very good way of explaining it. I loved exploring humanity and human nature, and learning how to be a more like grounded and better person so I could become the kind of performer I wanted to be. That’s why I was doing all of this, you know. Yeah, yes.
Q And then, at the end [of her email to Raniere], you say: “I guess the other part of my question is, why there has to be so much struggle and difficulty to get joy or freedom and how does one not get lost in the struggle and fear and hardship.”
A Yeah, so there’s something that I noticed just about the ESP community. And also, what I was experiencing and going through, was everyone seems like everything needed to be a struggle and you had to be in pain, and you had to struggle in order to grow. And it just felt really overwhelming sometimes because I’m all for growing, but I just didn’t want to live my life constantly needing to struggle and feel bad or ind something to struggle against. Like, life gives you enough struggles.
Q And then, April 19, 2016, does the defendant respond?
A Yes. Yes.
Q And he says: “True freedom in the physical world comes from absolute commitment to a principal with no tolerance for excuses or an out, escape. Only then do we find freedom does not depend on being able to do what we want; it depends on not being able to do what we want yet still experiencing self. Love is only measured through pain. Our ability to feel human pain determines the depth and strength of our love.” Is that what he wrote?
Q At this time, did you know that the defendant was part of DOS?
Q Those concepts, … were those DOS-related concepts?
Q And would you later discuss them with the defendant?
Q So during … April and May 2016, during that time period, what are your feelings about DOS?
A Confusing. It was stressful and scary to constantly be facing this commitment that there was no [getting] out of. It felt really scary, but also, Allison was still being nice a lot of the time and she was helping me with some career stuff, so it was a little bit confusing.
As we shall see in the next post in our series “The Sex Trafficking of Nicole,” it was to get a lot more confusing and a lot more scary – and Allison was to become a lot less nice – as the relationship with Keith and Nicole evolved.