This is Part 8 of our study of Lauren Salzman and the madness she and Keith Raniere underwent together. Lauren was convicted of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in relation to the Nxivm racketeering enterprise.
She has yet to be scheduled for sentencing. She did appear as a star prosecution witness in the case against Keith Raniere and some say she was the most effective and persuasive witness.
Some of the posts in our series certainly make Lauren look like a perpetrator of crimes and cruelty and some, like this one, make her look more like a victim, an insane victim. A woman without any self confidence, a woman desperate for approval. But still a victim.
And it reveals Raniere as the vicious, manipulative psychopath that he is.
In this post, Lauren describes an incident that occurred in 2011 – more than two years after Raniere stopped having sex with her.
He has a harem. She is not permitted to have sex with any other man – or it will ruin the relationship, he says.
She has been promised for years that she and Keith would have children together. Now, after more than two years without any sex or intimacy from Keith – while he is having sex with literally dozens of women, Lauren made the colossal mistake of roughhousing with another man at volleyball, when Keith was present.
Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar is examining Lauren.
Q During the course of your relationship with the defendant, was his approval important to you?
A Yeah. It was like the most important thing to me; that he thought that I was doing well and that I was upholding — I was a good person, that I was upholding the principles that we upheld within our community, and that we said we all shared.
Q When you say “upholding the principles of the community,” is that a term that’s used within the –
A Yeah. Yeah. That’s like — that I was somebody who, um, made good moral decisions, or that I was like honest or had integrity or had a strong character. I wanted to be that and I wanted his — I looked at him and how he viewed me to determine whether I was that.
Q Were you ever accused of committing an ethical breach with the defendant?
Q And can you explain that, what that meant to you?
A Basically that I had compromised my ideology or had done something that was not ethical and that was damaging or destructive in favor of being mindless or more comfortable or lazy.
Q Can you explain or describe some of the ethical breaches you were accused of committing.
A Well, yeah. One — so one of them was we had to a corporate retreat at Pyramid Lake. And Keith released this writing project, and the writing project was something we didn’t know about ahead of time. It was just something that he introduced there. And so it — it was a very involved process and it took many hours, like we were there like ten hours, or something — like it was a long — a long process. And I wasn’t enjoying the process and felt like I didn’t have a choice to be there. I didn’t feel able to say I didn’t want to do it or I didn’t feel like that was acceptable as part of the leadership of ESP, and I was unhappy and — and it was visible to others that I was having emotional — a negative emotional reaction to being there. And then I was told that that was very damaging and destructive, and that I had changed people’s perception of the writing project itself.
And — and that I had hurt their perception of what a good leader is. Because if I’m a leader, and I’m acting in this really immature and damaging way, that it basically shows that I’m — that our technology doesn’t work, because look at how the lack of growth in me and that if this is acceptable in our leadership, then our leaders aren’t respected. And that if this is how the leaders view the project, then it instructs other people how to view the project in a negative way.
Q So your ethical breach was that you didn’t want to do the writing project.
A And demonstrated emotional upset in front of other people about it.
Q What happened after you were accused of having committed an ethical breach in connection with the writing project?
A I apologized and promised to fix it and — I mean, generally the process of when you — when there was a breach, you would, you know, humble yourself; you be humble and like confess, or commit. Like a — be honest about what you had done and the damage about it and make a commitment and a plan to fix it.
Q Was there another ethical breach in connection with volleyball?
A Yes. So — yeah. Sorry. So around 2011, at one point Keith had — he had come around that time and said that he thought that it was a good — it was a good time that we could start trying to have children, and then I would — I jumped on someone. I was excited and roughhousing in volleyball and I jumped on someone, Mike Baker, and Keith said that, um — he was like you straddled him like and that that communicated that I was open to having — the way that I behaved with men was inappropriate and that I was communicating that I was open to have relationships with all these other men, and that I was really disrespectful to him.
Mariana thought that I was easy and that how could he have children with me if this is the way that I respect or treat him, and it’s visible for other people and not sort of communicated to Mariana, and so he called that off.
Q Did you perceive roughhousing with Mike Baker to be some kind of sexual interaction or romantic interaction?
A No. But then I thought that how could I have been so mindless that that’s what I’m communicating and don’t even know that I’m communicating that. And so I must have something — it must be a bigger thing, a bigger problem, than I understand, because I can’t even see it.
Q When you say Mariana thinks you’re easy or — was that something Mariana said to you or the defendant?
A No, it’s something that he said. And then I thought like if this was something you wanted to do last week, [Keith wanting to have children with Lauren] and then all of a sudden Mariana is going to voice it, this opinion, and now you’re going to change the whole thing, like I don’t — it created a certain type of animosity between me and Mariana that didn’t exist before.
Q What happened after this?
A Can you be more specific.
Q Yes. What happened with respect to — after you had had this conversation about the ethical breach, did you try to fix it?
A Yes. I did. And also I didn’t — I was aware then that the way that I was being perceived was communicating something that I didn’t want to be communicating to the men, and I — I didn’t go to volleyball and — the next volleyball. And then I got feedback that I should have gone to the next volleyball and acted differently, or like that I wasn’t taking the breach seriously enough to have attended to it or been doing something about it.
So I cleared my schedule and stayed home for a whole weekend and came up with like a very involved seven-page plan about what were all the ways that I was behaving inappropriately, and how it affected everybody, like all the men who went to volleyball, and Mariana, and my mom [Nancy Salzman], and Keith, and the community, and how everybody perceived me as a leader, and basically held this like — just empowered the work that we were doing in the community and in the company and in the world. And I came up with this very involved plan about how to fix it.
Lauren is shown an email [Government Exhibit 1497.]
Q What is it?
A It’s an email that I wrote to Keith where I’m telling him that I am apologizing and that I canceled everything not pertinent to the intensives I was teaching. [because she roughhoused with Mike Baker]
She is shown another email [Government Exhibit 1497.]
Q Ms. Salzman, who is this email from?
A Me. From me.
Q And who is it sent to?
Q And what’s the date of this email?
A March 13, 2011.
Q And the subject line?
A “Lauren Breach Plan Specific Steps 0311.”
Q Is there a subject of the email that’s above that, what you just read?
A Oh, yeah. “Lauren Amended Breach Plan 0311.”
Q And above that, is there a subject line?
A “RE, a Sword in the Field.”
Q Okay. And the things that appear under that, are those attachments to this email? Do they look like attachments?
A I don’t see any attachments.
Q Okay. So these — the following pages, what are these?
A That’s the — yeah, the breach plan.
Q That’s the breach plan.
A All the consequent — all the damage that I felt I had caused in the plan and how I was going to fix it.
Q Okay. Now, is this email, Government Exhibit 1497, was this in connection with volleyball, the thing you mentioned?
Q Okay. Can you read the text of that email up top.
A Yes. Read the email?
Q Beginning “I’m so sorry, Keith.”
A “I’m so sorry, Keith. I canceled everything not pertinent to the two intensives coming up and the community project since Friday to try to figure this out. I hope you know how important it is to me. I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner.
“I also did feel uncomfortable going and being around everyone before really resolving myself with how I was going to heal them — with them and you. I also felt like until you saw that I had a solid plan, you might feel I would be a liability to have there. I certainly did. Given that the one time I showed up of my own accord, this year I created enough damage to thwart our plans together for the rest of our lives.”
[Ed Note: Evidently Lauren had not been going to volleyball for some time. She shows up and plays and her momentary roughhousing with Mike Baker, “created enough damage to thwart our plans together for the rest of our lives.”]
Q All right. And then the pages that appear after that, are these — is that the solid plan that you’re referring to in that email?
Q What did you intend to convey with this, with the documents that are attached to this email?
A That I was willing to do whatever it took to fix it. And that I had thought that through in a very responsible and well-thought-out way. And had real concrete steps for what to do to change it, to fix it.
Q So the top of this next to numeral 1, where you say: “I have not respected my relationship. I defaulted on my commitment and was not honest about what I was doing or mindful about the effects.” Was this in connection with roughhousing with Mike Baker at volleyball?
A It may have also been — it may have been referring to a different relationship where I was — had a flirtation with another person, and he asked me about it directly, and I sideswiped the issue. And then when he asked me a second time, I was honest. So then I had been dishonest, and that came up again as an example when the Mike Baker thing happened.
Q So can you just explain why are you referring to that in the context of an email sent in relation to the volleyball incident you mentioned?
A Because it was brought up as a pattern of how I relate with men and the ways that I disrespect the relationship and why we can’t go forward and have children.
Q Can you read the paragraph you wrote next to numeral 3. Just that first part.
A “I’m perceived as easy or available for relationship or viewed as jumping from man to man, so not taken seriously. This degrades me and also sets a bad example in the organization and reflects poorly on Keith and his choice to be with me or have a child with me….”
Q And paragraph 4 makes reference to Monkey. Who is Monkey?
A Marianna [Fernandez]….
Q Can you read starting from, “It also may put us at risk”?
A “It also may put us at risk if Monkey leaves or does something destructive. It also disempowers me to be able to help Monkey, if needed, and it would put doubt about Keith’s choice to have a child with me, given the way I have behaved.”
Q Can you read the last bullet point on this page.
A “Also by healing this and becoming more functional, I could impact the perception that Keith only spends time with weak, dysfunctional people.”
Q At this time, did you have a view of yourself as weak or dysfunctional? Are you referring to yourself there?
A I’m not sure if I did think I was dysfunctional. And there was a perception of Keith, that spending time with weak and dysfunctional people, who were also in addition to me.
Q Can you just read the first sentence next to numeral 7….
A “Mike [Baker], Ben [Myers], Jim [Del Negro] and others don’t see me as a respectable person for Keith to have a relationship or a child with. This reflects poorly on Keith and changes their internal representations of him….”
Q Can you read number 10.
A “I damaged the way others will view, relate with and treat our child, so I’m hurting someone who doesn’t even exist yet.”
Q All of these pages are in connection with your breach plan?
Poor stupid, gullible, insane Lauren. After years went by since Keith first promised to have a baby with her and some two years since he had sex with her, she shows up at volleyball for the first time that year.
Keith had recently told her that it was probably a good time to start trying to have children. Then ill-fated Lauren, while playing volleyball, in her enthusiasm jumped on a man. Just for a moment. She did not linger. She did not hump him. When he fell, she piled on him.
It only lasted a moment.
Likely, no one but the monster noticed it as anything unusual. But Keith saw it as egregious. She “straddled him,” he said and communicated to the world that she was a slut; the way she behaved with men showed she was the kind of whore that Keith, [the man whore], was in reality.
It was so disrespectful to Keith, so much so that there could be no avatar baby for Lauren.
Keith likely lied and put it on Mariana, saying Mariana thought Lauren was a ho, and that Mariana [who was also vying with Lauren for Keith’s sperm] thought how the hell could Keith have children with slutty Lauren.
Since even Mariana remarked it, Keith said he had to call off siring Lauren’s avatar baby.
Instead of realizing that Keith is a manipulative motherfucker who is cheating and lying to her at every turn [as he did with everyone], Lauren only saw his beauty and greatness and blamed herself.
She was “so mindless.” She was communicating her promiscuity without even realizing she had done anything wrong.
“It must be a bigger… bigger problem, than I understand, because I can’t even see it,” she says in her written apology to Keith.
Keith’s trickery also served to get Lauren offended by Mariana and create a schism. This is interesting on two levels.
One – Lauren was used by Keith many times to persuade Mariana to stay with Keith when she was jealous or upset. In Nxivm, the women did the dirty work on each other – for Keith.
Two – Keith ultimately chose Mariana to have a child with, several years later  and he punished Lauren for years because of this “ethical breach.”
The testimony of Lauren blaming herself is pathetic. It shows she is truly utterly mad and incapable of discerning who the real villain in her life is. This is her delusion. She thinks Keith is wonderful and she is bad.
She has not enough self-awareness or intelligence to realize that Raniere is ruining her life. She thinks the opposite. That she is a ruined, terribly flawed woman and only he can save her.
For a man to berate a woman – one of his many women – a woman he has starved for love and affection and doomed to a lonely life of waiting on him to get around to decide to sire a baby for her – when in all likelihood he had no intention of ever having a baby with her, shows him to be a brutal sadist.
He must have enjoyed it too – punishing Lauren with the destruction of her dreams – her future – what she craved for years and hung on for – having a baby – over a minor, innocent act.
He used this woman’s highest hope – motherhood – as a bludgeon to batter her.
And of this woman – this sick and mentally weak, insane woman, I cannot help but feel some compassion for and pity. I can understand how Judge Garaufis stopped the cross-examination of Lauren – declaring she is a broken woman.
He did not say it. He did not need to say it. She was broken by Keith Raniere.
In this post, which contained testimony from Lauren that I think was a reflection of her true and sincere feelings, I too see a broken woman, a victim of a monster.
“He who has the most joy wins,” Raniere used to say. He was having a lot of joy breaking Lauren, making her miserable. Robbing her future. Playing woman against woman. Lying all the time.
Now, we are all feeling great joy that this rotten bastard is in prison and likely to be there for the rest of his life.
Viva Executive Success!