Part 1: Clare Bronfman Files Appeal of 81 Month ‘Draconian’ Sentence

U.S. Marshals lead a weeping Clare MK10ART ==Clare Bronfman from the courtroom on September 30th, 2020.

Attorneys for Clare Bronfman filed an appeal of her 81-month sentence, arguing that Judge Nicholas Garaufis committed procedural error when he:

  1. Denied Bronfman’s request for a hearing regarding disputed facts relevant to sentencing;
  2. Based his sentence on a theory of culpability Bronfman had no notice of, or adequate  opportunity to contest [willful blindness to DOS – including failure to disavow Keith Raniere.];
  3. Made  clearly erroneous and internally inconsistent findings at sentencing regarding issues on which Ms. Bronfman had requested a hearing; and
  4. On the basis of those clearly erroneous findings, imposed a sentence that included 81 months’ imprisonment, which was three times greater than the upper end of the sentencing range provided by the United States Sentencing Guidelines and nearly two years longer than what the government had requested.

Bronfman was arrested on July 24, 2018, four months after codefendant Keith Raniere was apprehended in Mexico and extradited to the United States.

Bronfman moved to sever her trial from Raniere’s on January 10, 2019 – and again on and March 21, 2019 – due to the “unfair prejudice inherent in a trial involving shocking allegations of sex trafficking and worse that had nothing whatsoever to do with the charges against her”

As a result of the denial of that motion, Bronfman accepted a plea deal offered by the prosecution of pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to harbor aliens for financial gain, [Assisting Jane Doe 12, who was not a U.S. citizen and did not have immigration status, to live and work in the United States] – and one count of fraudulent use of identification [arranging to pay credit card bills for a card in the name of the late Pam Cafritz, knowing that the charges on the card were made for the benefit of someone else [Raniere].

Nothing in the government’s charges, Ms. Bronfman’s plea agreement with the government, or her allocution suggested she had anything to do with “the sensational and inflammatory allegations against Mr. Raniere and members of DOS.”

From the appeal: 

This case arises out of an investigation into an organization known as DOS.

According to the government, DOS was a secret group that extorted vulnerable women. The government alleged that Keith Raniere presided over DOS as the “grandmaster” and commanded a number of “slaves” to, for example, provide him with graphic photographs of their vaginas, submit to his sexual advances, and recruit additional women to serve as their own “slaves.”

The key tactic Mr. Raniere and other DOS “masters” allegedly employed was to collect “collateral”— such as nude photographs, fabricated confessions of embarrassing or criminal conduct, false accusations of similar conduct made against family members, or the deed to a house — which DOS “masters” used to extort their “slaves” in much the same way Mr. Raniere allegedly had done to them.

Clare Bronfman Was Not a Member of DOS

… DOS members, at Mr. Raniere’s specific instruction, concealed DOS from Ms. Bronfman and ensured she never learned of it. Although she sat on the executive board of NXIVM, a self-help group that Mr. Raniere founded, and saw Mr. Raniere as an important mentor, the evidence— including 813 exhibits received in evidence at Mr. Raniere’s trial, 5,752 pages of transcript from that trial, and countless interviews conducted by the government— confirm that Ms. Bronfman knew nothing whatsoever of DOS.

She did not plead guilty to anything related to DOS…

Yet in sentencing her, the district court (Garaufis, J.) imposed a sentence three times greater than the upper end of the Sentencing Guidelines range, and almost two years longer than what the government had requested, based on its finding that Ms. Bronfman was willfully blind to the conduct associated with DOS and thus bore culpability for the harms it caused.

But there is no factual basis from which the district court legitimately could conclude that Ms. Bronfman was willfully blind to DOS.

The district court rested its willful-blindness theory on the apparent basis of two findings: Ms. Bronfman (1) failed to renounce Mr. Raniere after the allegations against DOS became public; and (2) exhibited willful blindness to unrelated conduct in different circumstances.

From this, it concluded that Ms. Bronfman was willfully blind to DOS all along. That is a non sequitur. The district court erred in sentencing Ms. Bronfman on the basis of this logical fallacy.

Never Gave Bronfman a Chance to Rebut Willful Blindness

The sentencing proceeding itself was defective too. When the district court articulated its misguided willful-blindness theory at the end of the sentencing hearing, it was the first time anybody had raised that concept in Ms. Bronfman’s case.

Neither the government nor the Probation Department had argued willful blindness, nor had the district court suggested that it was considering that theory. Ms. Bronfman thus had no notice or adequate opportunity to rebut that finding even though it proved central to the district court’s justification for tripling the Guidelines range and locking Ms. Bronfman away for nearly seven years.

This denial of fair process was even more unreasonable given that Ms. Bronfman repeatedly requested a hearing to present evidence of her mental state. That request followed the allegation in the presentence report that she had “used her wealth to support” her codefendants’ crimes, including those related to DOS, and that she shared in efforts to “secure and recruit immigration status for non-citizens so they could … become sexual partners for Mr. Raniere.”

These suggestions were outrageous and demonstrably false.

Hearing Was Denied

Ms. Bronfman sought a hearing at which she would be able to show that she had no culpable mental state regarding DOS or her codefendants’ alleged conduct. The district court denied that request and, as became clear at the sentencing hearing, apparently believed it could skirt the issue by declining to find that Ms. Bronfman “knew” about DOS, while still punishing her for being willfully blind to it.

In doing so, the district court whipsawed Ms. Bronfman: it denied her a hearing on the issue of her mental state and then made a finding about her mental state that neither the Probation Department nor the government had advanced. The upshot is that Ms. Bronfman had no adequate opportunity to be heard on the key finding underlying the district court’s draconian sentence.  That is improper.

Improperly Tying Her Immigration Crime to DOS

The district court offered a handful of other justifications for punishing Ms. Bronfman for DOS, but they fare even worse.

For example, the court asserted that, by failing to pay what she had promised to the unauthorized immigrant who was the victim of Ms. Bronfman’s immigration offense, known as Jane Doe 12, Ms. Bronfman somehow primed Jane Doe 12 to become a DOS slave.

The district court also suggested that, because Ms. Bronfman participated in supposedly retaliatory and abusive litigation tactics aimed at detractors of NXIVM and Mr. Raniere, she contributed to a culture that “gave rise to the darkest and most horrific crimes that Raniere and others committed.”

These reasons, and the others the district court offered, are unsupportable. They would not suffice to find Ms. Bronfman liable in a negligence suit, much less justify a nearly seven-year prison sentence, three times the Guidelines range.

This excessive sentence rests on misconceived reasoning, unsupported findings, and strained logic. Underlying all of it is the district court’s false yet abiding premise that Ms. Bronfman was responsible for the alleged conduct of Keith Raniere and others in DOS. She wasn’t. Having pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for two felonies, she was entitled to be sentenced based on her history and characteristics and her conduct—not her codefendants’. The district court’s failure to put aside its disgust for Mr. Raniere and sentence Ms. Bronfman for what she did was unreasonable.

This Court should vacate and remand for resentencing….

See the entire appeal here

Keep in mind that the appeals court can only vacate the sentence and send it back to the sentencing judge [Garaufis]. They cannot reduce the sentence. The appellate judges can agree [or not] that the sentence is excessive and give reasons.

If they do so, a resentencing reduction is entirely up to Judge Garaufis. He can stick to the original sentence or reduce it marginally.

This seems like another way the judiciary takes care of itself, a system that has no checks and balances.

[Stay tuned for Part #2]






About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • We should examine this case for procedural error so that we can see if it’s possible to increase Clare Bronfman’s sentence. Also, she should be held personally liable for her actions in a class-action civil lawsuit!!!!!

  • Before we can comment on Clare’s sentence, we need to know if Keith thinks Clare B is innocent or not, and whether it was his fault for not trust-testing her or gaslighting her or spending all her money or whatever he’s going to take responsibility for. Can we look forward to be enlightened (see the blue light) on this subject soon?

  • Infinite wisdom flows from the keyboard of Vanguard Nicki Clyne!

    Nicki Clyne
    Curious if anyone is paying attention to the “Abby Honold Act” relating to “trauma-informed training for law enforcement.” So far, I see a lot of potential issues.

    Nicki Clyne
    If anyone is brainwashed, it’s the people who believe that the government exists to protect the rights and well-being of its citizens. People watch endless documentaries of wrongful convictions and then cry, “but it was proven it court!” #doublethink

    Nicki Clyne
    There needs to be public accountability and media willing to expose corruption in real time. This affidavit is a simple tool that asks prosecutors to affirm they didn’t lie, cheat or threaten to gain a conviction. Why won’t they sign?

    Nicki Clyne
    When a government witness confesses to unrelated crimes for which they’ve been granted immunity on the witness stand, juries are asked to believe the word of the person with the lowest moral character… and they do.

    Nicki Clyne
    If calling out inconsistencies, corruption and oppression is verbal tap dancing, then call me Fred Astaire!
    Quote Tweet
    tommyspoon (he/him)
    · 3h
    Replying to @nickiclyne
    You can verbally tap dance all you want. Doesn’t change the fact that your boy is guilty. Please seek help.

    Nicki Clyne
    They “save us” by keeping us in our cages.
    Quote Tweet
    Gender Studies for Men
    · 3h
    Replying to @nickiclyne
    Male judges are the worst.

    I had a witness start crying on the stand while I was cross-examining and I stopped and looked at the judge. The female judge just said: “She’s alright.” The trial went on.

    Nicki Clyne
    “In the case of Keith Raniere, Judge Garaufis stopped the cross-examination of a key government witness because she began to cry. In my opinion, this paternalistic act does not move women forward, but instead treats women as if they can’t be questioned like an adult.” (1/2)
    Show this thread
    Nicki Clyne Retweeted
    Adrienne Lawrence
    It’s so weird to me that folks can’t fathom that a woman would simply walk away from something she did not want.

    Believe it or not, we have agency and we can exercise it. Not all nonsense must be tolerated.

    Nicki Clyne Retweeted
    Angelica Hinojos
    Replying to
    Denying that I had responsibility in anything that happens in my life is denying a part of me, it was my doing. Then we wonder why anxiety and depression are on the risePensive face.
    Nicki Clyne Retweeted
    “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

    -Malcolm X

    Nicki Clyne
    Mar 3
    As great as it feels to celebrate exonerations, we need to address the cause. The whole culture of “winning” amongst prosecutors needs to change. Truth and justice should take priority over their next promotion.
    Quote Tweet
    The Original Interloper
    · Mar 3
    Replying to @nickiclyne
    And yet prosecutors have absolute immunity. This is where reform is needed.
    ” call me Fred Astaire!” Nicki Clyne

    Dancing On The Ceiling 1951 (Fred Astaire)

  • Athenian lawmaker Draco, known for making harsh laws.

    From Latin draco (“dragon”). Thanks Wiktionary 😉

    On another note, what happens to the dictionary now that there’s a Wiktionary?

  • I totally sympathize with Clare.

    Clare’s refusal to renounce Mr. Raniere, (like Danielle Roberts) is based on not being able to separate the message from the messenger.

    Mr. Raniere behaved like a sexual compulsive, and the things he did were harmful and unlawful.

    But he may have stumbled onto some form of training, – even if borrowed and re-framed from one or several organizations, that worked for some people. And the community that built itself up around the teachings, seems to be where most of the trauma is being experienced.

    If Clare goes before a judge again, I would hope that she differentiates between the two.

  • Frank,

    Thank you for posting the link to the appeal. Please post Clare’s sentencing minutes, if possible. Also, when the government responds, please post their response so that readers may get a balanced view of her claims. Often, appellant briefs take words out of their context to better fit their claim.

    From what I have read of the appeal, it appears frivolous. It appears they are arguing that a court cannot make fair inferences that are supported by the facts of the case. The court’s decision seems to be fair and procedurally proper.

    Simply put, Clare is fortunate that she even received a plea deal. She kept many people trapped in NXIVM and DOS through her relentless and vicious litigation, of which all were aware. Her sentence should have been longer and I hope she leaves prison penniless since she so horribly abused her wealth. Clare could have done wonderful philanthropic things with that money. Instead, she used it as a sword to torture people whose only crime was to take back their life and their freedom of choice, and those still unfortunate enough to be in NXIVM during her reign of terror. Clare is truly a despicable person.

    • All the above compounded by the dishonour she showed her father by bugging his computer and colluding with Raniere’s evil character assasination up to his death and beyond. Grave consequences for this on a spiritual level, and in reality – banged up as she is – and morally bankrupt if she still believes that vengeance is hers for a fee.

  • “I didn’t know” is the lamest excuse in the playbook.

    Clare rolled the dice, she lost. Remember, “There are no victims”. So suck it up and serve your prison sentence, and stop wasting the court’s time.

    • She’s not wasting the court’s time, Alonzo’s Sausage. All that steady money 🤑 is going to a really good cause now.

  • There is much about the US criminal justice system that is a farce. However, can anyone think of a case which is less likely to serve as a rallying point for public mobilization around reform than anything involving NXIVM?

    Clare is getting off very, very lightly. She should spend the rest of her life in jail. She is too much of a danger to the rest of the world. She’s not willing to share the world kindly with other people, so I’m not willing to share it with her.

    Clare is a parasite born with a silver spoon in her mouth. We’d all be far better off if she were never born.

      • I love coincidences like this – I was listening to Shipping Up to Boston as I read that. It’s March, gotta get my Irish on. I realize this is completely off topic. So here’s something on topic – appeals in the 2nd circuit (where NY is) has one of the highest grants of oral argument, so that’s something in Claire’s appeal favor. Keith’s too. Reference:

  • This sentencing was a joke. An immigration case that amounted to less than 100k, with no violence, drugs, weapons or anything close to those things…. This type of case never even makes it to court, it’s usually solved on the phone. I hope this appeal works and this corrupt judge sees his day.

    • Hope is not a strategy. Get used to your guru sitting in prison. The sooner you move on with your life, the better. Try not to get caught up in another cult. At least try. 👍🏻

    • Per the terms of her plea deal, Clare can only appeal that portion of her sentence that is over 27-months: i.e., the 54 months that were an “upward departure” from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines’ maximum of 27-months.

      She cannot appeal her guilty plea; nor any other aspect of her indictment, pre-trial home confinement, remandment, or post-trial placement.

      Clare’s current appeal will take 2-3 years to wend its way through the federal appellate system. And even if she “wins”, the most she can hope for is that the appellate court will send the case back to Judge Garaufis for a re-sentencing that is in accordance with its findings.

      If Judge Garaufis re-sentences Clare to 81-months in prison – or something similar like 78 months – she can likely find a new basis for filing an appeal or argue that she had “ineffective counsel” on her first appeal. Either way, she’s not likely going to see any significant reduction in her prison sentence per that scenario.

      My best advice for Clare: Settle in and be prepared to serve 69 months in federal prison — which means that after accounting for all the “good behavior” time you can earn while there, you’ll be released on June 29, 2026. That’s only a little more than 5 years from now.

          • 😆. Thanks, Clav. Good to know Clare, at least, has some incentive for good behavior behind bars – let’s hope her attorneys and flying monkeys take it under advisement.

          • “fuckedus non-interruptus” means “non-interrupted fucked” in English. It is translated correctly.

          • Clare is far too asexual to want an uninterrupted fuck! Any fool can see this. Just ask me, an unabashed fool.

            That Bronfman is one nonorgasmic whirly-gig. Look it up, see her photograph, poor thang.

    • Having read the whole work of artful fiction submitted as the Bronfman appeal, my guess is that this is what’s called an expensive nothing burger.

      In fact, the contents of this appeal are so petulant, entitled, indignant and crabby sounding, one might think that Clare wrote it herself.

      Some of its contents merely render Clare’s delusionary perceptions about herself as though this were really how Clare Bronfman was living her life. She wants to appear as the generous benefactor who had no knowledge of any real wrongdoing. The only exception to this is that Clare, well yes, she has deigned to plead guilty to two charges.

      But poor Clare didn’t realize anything was wrong in Nxivm and, due to her saintly generosity and her “unfortunate” upbringing which had SUCH an impact upon her, she made two little mistakes. She has admitted those two widdle mistakes, darn it all! Now stop arguing and let her out of prison. She has only good intentions, just like always. It is laughable to read this appeal.

      This is, overall, how bad the appeal sounds. Clare is NICE and doesn’t know anything NOT NICE. Believe Bronfman’s delusions about herself, goddamn it! Wah wah. That’s about all that is written here.

      Who pays for this shit from out of supposedly engaged, informed and competent attorneys? How about a wealthy nutbag?

      Clare and Tekashi 69. It worked for Tekashi fairly well. But he wasn’t carrying a verifiable history behind him of giving over millions of dollars and years of still ongoing devotion to the criminal, Raniere. Tekashi also was intelligent or clever enough to appear contrite and apologetic before the court, unlike Bronfman.

      Part of what I saw while reading the appeal is that it, once again, presents Bronfman’s illusions about herself and what she has done, as if it was all for the good and in support of something wonderful and educational.

      Seriously, I doubt that even Clare Bronfman really buys what she’s paying her legal team to sell.

      This is not a retrial, so this approach is self-defeating. It is too late for Clare to present arguments dithering about her own guilty plea. What’s done is done.

      Her ideations about her mental state are not going to change the perceptions of anyone, regarding her guilty plea, which was a pragmatic decision made to minimize what exact charges Bronfman could have been looking at had she decided to go to trial.

  • Clare deserves 30 years in jail. She is a sociopath of the worst kind that was never tried for all her real crimes. She is another Allison, another pimp. And she destroyed people’s lives. It’s funny how American and European White people are horrified by the massive migration from the countries they stole and corrupted for centuries — and the people they exploited sexually or treated like slaves. The Bronfmans are a criminal organización by themselves, a Luciferian linage according to Fritz Springmeier. Killers. So sorry, Clare, I don’t believe in jails and I am sure you’ve had a rough life, but you are crazy and dangerous – and unless you heal, you really need to be put away so you cant harm yourself and others

    • This is interesting. We are not taught in school how we stole and corrupted from Mexico and Central America. Please explain

  • Why is Keith Raniere the scapegoat? The target where everyone throws their darts? Years ago Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young claimed that misandry makes men the scapegoats for all social ills and women the official victims responsible for all good things. A macro-feminism is a social imposition on a macro-sociological level caused by the hegemony of feminist ideology. On some occasions, this ideology imposes through political coercion and on others through market mechanisms (seduction), but in both cases after the corresponding feminist indoctrination of society uses the mass media and the educational system. From the latter, it follows that taxation is sometimes neither political nor commercial, but purely social (by pressure and not by coercion or seduction). The phenomenon feeds itself back: more feminist indoctrination, more feminist impositions and, from there, more indoctrination. So, at this point, indoctrination itself, through the media or through the educational system, is also macro-feminism.

    • You STILL aren’t as hetero as me, but your argument that feminism exists, and that therefore, Keith is innocent, is extremely compelling.

      Once his attorneys present this to the judge, his release is imminent.

      Excellent work, compañero.

    • More word salad, but I’m going to interject anyway:

      You are linking Vanguard with feminism. In the eyes of most, Vanguard is a huge abuser of women, not the poster child of feminism.

      He is sitting his ass in jail because of this.

      Without his type, feminism and female empowerment can grow.

      It’s like Hitler marketing himself as the savior of Germany when, in reality, he destroyed it to ashes.

      Vanguard marketed himself as female empowerment the same way Hitler marketed himself to German empowerment.

      In both cases, the masses fell behind and followed the sociopath.

      In both cases, they lost so, so much.

    • Huh? Slow down on that Word Salad, Queef. You might choke on something before a fellow con gives you the Blue Light Special.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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