Clare Bronfman’s attorneys have now submitted their “Sentencing Memorandum” to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, the U.S. District Court judge who will decide how much time, if any, she will spend in federal prison for the crimes to which she pleaded guilty in the NXIVM sex-slave case.
And to buttress the legal arguments that are set forth in their 80-page filing, they have added 123-pages of exhortations from people who think Clare should either be treated as gently as possible – or perhaps even nominated for sainthood.
Before we analyze this latest filing, however, let’s first recap Clare’s current legal status.
What Is Clare’s Legal Status – and How Did She Get There?
Although she was originally charged with one count each of Racketeering, Racketeering Conspiracy, and Conspiracy To Commit Identify Theft, Clare was allowed to plead guilty to two lesser felonies: one count of Concealing and Harboring An Undocumented Immigrant For Financial Gain – and one count of Fraudulent Use Of Identification.
In conjunction with that plea deal, Clare agreed to pay $6-million in restitution – and a variety of other standard court charges and fees and $99,000 to the woman she concealed and harbored, a DOS slave named Sylvie.
Clare also agreed not to appeal any prison sentence that was 27 months or less (The federal sentencing guidelines that were cited at her plea hearing indicated that she would likely receive a sentence in the 21-27 months range).
But on December 17, 2019, Judge Garaufis announced that after reading her “Pre-Sentencing Report” (PSR), he was considering an “above Guidelines” prison sentence for Clare.
That set off some serious alarm bells as Clare realized for the first time that the “great plea deal” that superstar lawyer Mark Geragos had negotiated for her wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.
After Judge Garaufis’ announcement that he was considering an “above Guidelines” sentence for her, Clare fired Geragos and replaced him with Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. and Duncan Levin.
Clare’s New Attorneys Argue for a “Below Guidelines” Sentence
In a rather obvious attempt to gain as much negotiating room as possible, Clare’s new attorneys are now arguing that she should receive a “below Guidelines” sentence.
Indeed, as they concluded in their latest filing: “For the reasons explained above, a Guidelines or above Guidelines sentence in this case will not serve any deterrent effect and will certainly be a sentence ‘greater than necessary’ to achieve 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a)’s objectives. Rather, in light of the federal sentencing factors as well as safety concerns in the face of the rapidly-evolving global pandemic, the appropriate sentence for Clare Bronfman is three years of probation, which is sufficient but not greater than necessary to satisfy the goals of sentencing”.
Clare’s “Pre-Sentence Report” Must Contain Lots of Ugly Allegations & Facts
Although Clare’s PSR was filed – and will remain – “under seal”, her lawyers’ latest filing does give us some insights into the likely contents of that document.
That’s because in order to argue for a “below Guidelines” prison sentence, they needed to address the various allegations and facts that are set forth in her PSR.
Clare Had Nothing to Do With DOS – and Didn’t Even Know About It
In their “Sentencing Memorandum”, Clare’s lawyers begin by claiming that Clare had nothing whatsoever to do with “Dominus Obsequious Sororium” (DOS), the secret sub-group of the NXIVM cult that was founded by Keith Raniere.
Indeed, they claim that she never knew about – and certainly never funded – any of the “sex trafficking, human trafficking, abuse of minors,[or] branding” that were part of DOS.
If that allegation is true, then Clare must be extremely obtuse – and she must never have read any newspapers or watched the news.
She also must never have provided any funds to any of the people who were involved in DOS. You know, people like Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Dr. Danielle Roberts, etc.
Clare Never Meant To Harm Another Living Soul
While her attorneys concede that Clare did write a lot of checks to NXIVM, they also say that she did so because “she was funding something that she believed in deeply” – as if that’s some sort of exoneration.
And then they make the mistake of going way too far in their defense of Clare by claiming that “None of the money Clare loaned to NXIVM or invested in any of the associated companies were used to support DOS or anyone’s personal lifestyle. They were for the purpose of investment, or loans for litigation, and a few business expenses”.
Given his extensive experience and expertise, I trust that Judge Garaufis knows best how to proceed at this point in process sentencing of sentencing.
But wouldn’t it be great if he ordered a halt to the proceedings – and called in the Internal Revenue Service and an outside third-party firm to do a comprehensive forensic audit of Clare’s finances for the past 20-years?
Although her attorneys have certainly opened the door to such an audit, that probably won’t happen. But just imagine everything that would come out from such a foray through Clare’s finances for the past 20-years.
Other Things That Clare Didn’t Do or Know About
According to her attorneys, Clare also had nothing to do with any of NXIVM’s other illegal activities – and wasn’t even aware of them.
Here are some examples of what Clare didn’t do – and what Clare didn’t know:
- That there was a DOS.
- That she made a false statement about DOS after its existence became publicly known.
- That her funding was necessary for NXIVM to exist because NXIVM itself was profitable (Here’s another great opportunity for a forensic accounting of NXIVM’s past 20-years of financial records).
- That she funded a sex cult – because (wait for it), according to Clare’s attorneys “NXIVM was not a sex cult”.
- That she “used her wealth to support her co-defendants’ crimes”.
- That she “participated in efforts to secure and recruit immigration status for non-citizens so they could…become sexual partners for Raniere”.
How Clare’s Sentence Should Compare to Her Co-Defendants’ Sentences
Next, Clare’s attorneys try to limit her prison sentence by trying to convince the judge that she shouldn’t serve more time than Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman or Allison Mack because, unlike them, she didn’t plead guilty to participating in the NXIVM racketeering enterprise.
This, of course, goes back to the reason why a forensic audit of Clare’s finances – and a forensic audit of NXIVM’s finances – would be just so appropriate at this point in time.
Sixty People Sing Clare’s Praises
Clare’s new lawyers close by noting that “approximately 60 letters [of support] have poured in on her behalf – and ask him to take into consideration what the authors of those letters have to say about Clare.
While we’ll be featuring copies of all those letters in future posts, here is how Clare’s lawyers indicate the authors of those letters describe Clare:
“Clare is described as a kind and compassionate person, intensely driven and disciplined, humble and generous, possessing good moral character, a charitable nature and purest intentions, who lives her life guided by a strict set of principles. These principles require that she dedicate herself and her wealth to making a positive impact on the world, that she live an ethical and honest life, and not harm any person or animal.
It has been also repeated that Clare is trusting and loyal, almost to a fault, that her deep capacity to believe in others has led unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of her. And that once her relationships turn into friendships, she is steadfast and generous — again, at times, to her own detriment. That Clare is, above all else, motivated by a burning desire to do good and help others, but that she has not always been able to live up to her principles, struggling with insecurities, and at times making mistakes as she tried to find acceptance. However, when she falls short of her standards, Clare holds herself accountable and feels a deep obligation to make it right.
What Happens Next?
As of right now, Judge Garaufis has at least three things to consider as he decides how much time, if any, Clare could spend in federal prison:
- The “Federal Sentencing Guidelines” – which indicate that her prison sentence should be 21-27 months;
- His own gut instinct after reading her PSR that she should spend more than 27-months in prison.; and
- Her new attorneys’ arguments that she should be given no prison time – and simply serve three (3) years of probation (She will likely get those same three years of probation on top of any prison sentence that is meted out by judge Garaufis).
And on or before September 11th, he’ll be receiving the government’s response to this latest filing by Clare’s attorneys.
Stay tuned folks…the best is yet to come.
Viva Executive Success!
Extra Bonus Material
Because we know our readers always want a little more, here’s a list of the people who submitted letters-of-support on behalf of Clare Webb Bronfman (These are in the order they appear in the latest filing). We’ll be going through some of these letters in detail in future posts – and underscoring just how non-helpful some of them are for Clare.
- Sara Bronfman: Sister
- Georgiana Havers: Mother
- Basit Igtet: Brother-in-Law
- Alejandro A. Imbach: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- Amanda Auspelmyer: Clare’s Bookkeeper
- Anna Boyce: Fellow Equestrian & NXIVM/ESP Student
- Antonio Aja: General Manager of Clare’s Wakaya Club & Spa
- Barbara J. Gottlieb: Managing Consultant for Clare’s California Properties
- Baron Stewart: Retired Mathematics Teacher/Friend
- [Redacted]: Design Architect for Real Estate Projects, Nxivm Member, and Married to [redacted]
- William F. Savino: One of Clare’s Passel of Attorneys (Did he charge her $750.00 for writing this letter?)
- Robert D. Crockett: Another of Clare’s Passel of Attorneys (Did he charge her $1,000 for writing this letter?)
- Brenda Clyne: Nicki Clyne’s Mother, NXIVM/ESP Student and V-Week Attendee
- Brett Diamond: NXIVM/ESP Student
- Carolina López Patiño: Member of ExoEso
- Christopher Pearson-Smith: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- Damon Brink: Member of NXIVM/ESP Since 2006
- Danielle Roberts: Director of Branding for DOS & Member of The Forgotten Ones Dance Troupe
- Deb Apthorp: Wife Of IT Consultant for One of Clare’s Companies
- Denise Cristina Reis: Performer at Innovation Acapella Festival
- Dilip Jamnadas: Another of Clare’s Passel of Attorneys (Did he charge her $750.00 for writing this letter?)
- Unknown: Minor Child of Caretakers of Clare’s Rai Ki Wai Estate in Fiji
- Derek St. Thomas: One of Clare’s Doctors
- Eben Bronfman: Clare’s “Distant Cousin”
- Edgar Boone: Longtime NXIVM Leader in Mexico
- Eduardo Asunolo: NXIVM Student & Member of The Forgotten Ones Dance Troupe
- Emma Young: Sister of Clare’s Former Classmate
- Esther Carlson: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- Gabriela Baker: NXIVM/ESP Student
- Giselle Fernandez: Co-Seller of Fiji House to Clare
- Gregory Zelenay: Clare’s Former CPA
- Henk Nooren: Clare’s Former Equestrian Trainer
- Hilary Neeves: Clare’s Former Nanny in England
- James Del Negro: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- Jane Jeffries: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- John Farrand: Property Manager for Clare’s Fiji Properties
- Judith Moore: Clare’s Former Equestrian Trainer
- Justin Elliot: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- Justin Arthur Kreizel: Son of a “Close Friend” of the Late Edgar Bronfman, Sr.
- Kim Constable: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- [Redacted]: Recipient of Bronfman Family Scholarship
- Kyle Carlson: Long-term Friend
- Leigh Robertson: Long-term Friend & Fellow Equestrian
- Linda Chung: NXIVM/ESP Student & V-Week Attendee
- Maggie Dou: Exo/Eso Student
- Marc Elliott: NXIVM/ESP Coach & Former Tourette’s Syndrome Patient
- Marielle Hajj: Worker at Wakaya Club & Spa
- Mark S. Miness: Fellow Equestrian
- Mr. & Mrs. D.J. Cleal: Parents of Fellow Equestrians
- Natalia Gaviria: NXIVM/ESP Coach
- Nicole Clyne: NXIVM/ESP Student & Member of The Forgotten Ones Dance Troupe & Current DOS Slave Leader
- Niumaia Niumataiwalu: Resident Manager of Wakaya Club & Spa
- Paul Kempisty: Clare’s Acupuncturist
- Paula Kent: Cousin
- Richard E. Leakey: “Father-Figure” & Well-known Anthropologist Whose Work Has Beren Funded By Clare
- Ronald P. Stewart: Headmaster at York Preparatory School (Clare Attended That School)
- Ryan Constable: Husband of Kim Constable
- Wayne N. LeBaron: NXIVM/ESP Student
- Sean M. Sweeney: NXIVM/ESP Student
- Serena Marama: Worker At Rai Ki Wai Estate, Wakaya Island
- Seremaia Senilagakali: Project Manager, Wakaya Island
- Stacey Cummings: Cousin
- Suneel Chakravorty: NXIVM/ESP Student
- Veronica Collignon: Mother of Clare’s Godchild
- Warren A. Kent: Husband of Clare’s Cousin