This is the next in our series about Lauren Salzman. In our last post, we learned about a planned group blow job in Mexico, which Lauren, Nicki, Allison, Loreta, and Daniela Padilla were all going to do the blowing, so to say, and one gorgeous Vanguard was going to be getting, as the women described it, “pleasured.”
But it did not come off.
The women, including Lauren, just moved into the villa that first day, and Keith was not feeling well, and before he could even get better or get it up, a very sad event in the history of Nxivm occurred.
Sad for Nxivm, most auspicious and wonderful for hundreds – if not thousands – of others, including Lauren as we shall see.
AUSA Tanya Hajjar is examining Lauren. If you can get past some of Lauren’s wonderful run-on sentences, this episode is quite dramatic.
Q So, what happened after that? [After Lauren agreed to move into the villa with Keith and the other women who were going to be part of the group blow job.]
A So, right before we had moved over to the house, to the new house, I went over to talk to Keith and he wasn’t there, or I couldn’t find him, and I couldn’t find him anywhere, and I couldn’t find Daniella [Padilla] anywhere and there was — his room to his bedroom door was closed so I assumed that they were together and I was feeling very upset about this and talking to Nicki about it and then we moved our stuff over to the new house and when we came over to the new house he asked me if I wanted to — that he wasn’t feeling well and he wanted to know did I want to take a nap.
So, we laid down and took a nap and I calmed down a little bit and felt a little bit better and a little bit better with him and when we woke up he wasn’t feeling well, he communicated he wasn’t feeling well and asked if I would bring him some food and I went to the kitchen and I had brought him some food. I went back to the kitchen to make myself a smoothie and Loreta came running into the kitchen and said the police are at the door, they’re here for Keith.
Q What happened next?
A I ran immediately to Keith’s room and closed us in and tried to protect Keith and basically I tried to get him to leave, I was like you need to leave and I wanted him to get out — I wanted him to go out a window and he didn’t do that and he told me to call [redacted] and –
Q Who is [redacted]?
A [redacted], a mutual friend of ours, and I didn’t have a phone and I didn’t know how to work his phone so I communicated that and he was in the phone trying to find how to call [redacted] and I was like — honestly I just went into one mode which is like protect Keith and I put us on lockdown in this suite which was kind of ridiculous but I locked closed all the doors, all the blinds and I could see outside the window that federal police with machine guns and bulletproof vests, some of them wearing masks were like surrounding the property basically and I saw some of the women sitting across on a patio and —
Q When you say, “the women,” who are you referring to?
A Daniella and Allison and Nicki and basically they surrounded the whole property and they searched the whole property until they found that the only place they weren’t able to search was the room that we were in and they came to the door and they were banging on the door and Keith was going to leave to go into — there was like a walk-in, another room like a walk-in closet and he was going into the other room and I was like I don’t — I don’t know what to do and he said,” ask them if they have a warrant,” and then he disappeared and went into the other room.
And so I went to the door and I asked them if they had a warrant and they said, “open the door and we’ll show it to you,” and I said, “if you show it to me, I’ll open the door,” like do that first, and we went back and forth a few times and they said, look, you know — they were asking me if there were any other people with me and they were asking me if we had weapons and the whole time I just kept thinking like they could just shoot in this door and so I kept walking away from the door but then going back like to talk to them but I just kept considering that really like legitimately I might get shot right now and I kept interacting with them because my higher priority was making sure that Keith was okay.
And eventually they kicked down the door and they held me on the floor with four machine guns pointed at me and they were asking me is there anybody else in — is there anybody else here with you, like are you alone, who else is here and I wasn’t answering them and I expected — this did not happen but I was expecting that they were going to start becoming aggressive, like I thought they were going to kick me and when I thought that was going to happen I called out Keith’s name and at the same time in the room that he was in, the walk-in, there was a door on the other side and they were kicking down the door of that side but I called out — I wasn’t aware of that completely right then, so I called out his name and then he came out of the room and like for months after that I just like always felt like that was such a failure in myself that I hadn’t been strong enough to not call out his name, you know, like that I didn’t have the character to just protect him at all costs and I felt like I had let him down and then — but they — basically he came out, they put him on the floor too, they handcuffed him and then when he got — they let him stand up and they let him see the piece of paper and basically he called out to me what the allegations were, that they were out of the Eastern District of New York, that he was being accused of sex trafficking and I can’t remember what else and then they took him.
Q Were you surprised, Ms. Salzman, that the defendant went into the walk-in closet when Mexican law enforcement arrived?
A I was so surprised. I — because the whole — like my whole — everything we had done, like everything that I was teaching in NXIVM, everything that I was — that I believed that I — that I was learning in Jness and SOP and everything that I joined DOS to build all centered around the fact that we can live this principled life and that the highest principles that you can live are principles of love and love is when you do something lovingly without getting anything back and that you can die in many ways in your life but dying for a principle is like the most noble thing that you could do and I always wondered like in a moment where there was a situation, like if ever I was in, you know, this life or death situation or something would I be able to uphold my principles or would I just totally be a coward or would I forget and choose myself over somebody else, you know, but like in a situation — like this was the most life or death situation that I was in, I mean they didn’t obviously hurt me but I considered that they might. I chose what I believed we had been training for this entire time which was to choose love over everything including the possibility of losing my life and it never ever crossed my mind that if Keith and I were in the situation that he wouldn’t choose the exact same thing, it never occurred to me that I would choose Keith and Keith would choose Keith because they were there for Keith, they weren’t there for me and we all knew they were there for Keith so there was no need to send me to shield him or negotiate with them, he could have just protected all of us and just gone if he was going to not go out the window. Why, why would he do that, and it was — yeah, it was shocking and then I put it aside, beat myself up over my lack of character and spent the next three months focusing on how to help Keith but when I was indicted and I had initially like three months very alone, you know, with a lot of time to think, it was one of the things I just kept going back to.
Q What do you mean?
A I mean that everything he taught us was this: Society of Protectors; this is what men are; this is what men do; this is what is noble; this is when women don’t do; this is what women can’t do, and then he didn’t do it and I did it, and I was like, I cannot — I can’t even — I could not make sense of how that could even be in any universe where he was who I believed he was.
In short, Lauren found out that Keith was a coward. After all, he taught about men being stand-up and women being weak little entitled princesses; but he took the coward’s path and hid in a closet and let Lauren have machine guns pointed at her.
I suspect her testimony was highly coached beforehand. She was led to describe his cowardice to embarrass him before the jury.
At his moment of truth – he hid like a craven. And this debunked the notion that, despite all his peculiarities, his eccentricities, his sex-addicted teachings, when it came down to practicing the good standup bravery that he preached, he was a stone-cold coward.
It was a nice move on the part of the prosecution and it had the additional advantage of being true.
I think it is equally interesting that it took Lauren months to realize that she was not at fault when, with machine guns pointed at her head, she called to Keith for help and betrayed that he was hiding in the closet.
Perhaps the most telling thing she said was that she beat herself up over it for months afterward – but follow the timeline.
As soon as she was arrested and was forcibly removed from her Nxivm world – and facing prison – she finally began to realize that Keith was the coward, not [just] her.
Let us review what she said: “I …. beat myself up over my lack of character and spent the next three months focusing on how to help Keith but when I was indicted and I had initially like three months very alone [as part of her bail conditions of being on home detention], you know, with a lot of time to think, it was one of the things I just kept going back to….. everything he taught us was this: Society of Protectors; this is what men are; this is what men do; this is what is noble; this is when women don’t do; this is what women can’t do, and then he didn’t do it and I did it, and I was like, I cannot — I can’t even — I could not make sense of how that could even be in any universe where he was who I believed he was.”
Let me repeat that last sentence: “I could not make sense of how that could even be in any universe where he was who I believed he was.”
It is a little awkwardly expressed. To say it more differently: [Based on his action] “I could not make sense, in any imaginable universe, that he was who I had believed he was.”
Whether it was a realization of convenience, or if she would have ever realized that she was herself, for a very long time, in an alternative universe, one very divorced from reality is hard to know.
No, Lauren, he was not at all who you thought he was. And that is the great secret of this excerpt from her testimony.
Keith was not who she believed he was. She thought him a god, she found him to be a coward, like herself, in the end.
But now the question is: Is her separation from him real? Would she go back to him tomorrow and do it all over again, were she not facing prison and he already in prison and likely to be there for decades to come?
If she honestly could be healed, if she honestly would not and could not go back to the monster, who she napped with, and brought him food [while she, perpetually on a diet, had a smoothie] – a man she adored and with whom she was perfectly comfortable with – a human monster – if she could really leave him, not by force of law, but in the deeper recesses of the mind and heart – I would almost be inclined to hope for leniency for her.
But I wonder if she isn’t pining for him, missing him, wishing he was back ruling her life. Sure, she betrayed him in court. She had to do it for she is a coward and knave and wanted to save herself, much like she did when the Mexican police came for him.
And it was wisdom too. She could not save him. Why should she be shot by a machine gun? They were going to get him anyway.
And, again, she could not save him from the US DOJ and a judge and a jury. With or without her testimony, he was going to be convicted; he was going away. Why not try to save herself?
But that doesn’t mean it was sincere. She was testifying to save herself. But if she could have, if she had the power, I am not convinced she would not engineer a jail-break. I mean this sincerely: I wonder if Lauren would, if she could, run off with Raniere tomorrow, off to Fiji and get pregnant and have his baby and live happily ever after.
It is an impossible dream now of course. But still, and I think this is the secret, I think this – in her deepest recesses of the heart, I think this is what she would wish for: To go back to Raniere and have him all to herself.
She would betray her mother, her father, herself, to get back to the room in Mexico and take a nap with him again.
But reality set in and practical Lauren Salzman testified that he was a monster, to save herself.