Michelle Salzman’s Letter for Leniency With Judge — I Put My Beautiful Sister on a Pedestal and Emulated Her Care for Other People

Michelle, Nancy and Lauren Salzman

Lauren Salzman’s younger sister, Michelle, also filed a letter with the court asking for leniency from Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on her sisters’ sentencing.

Like Lauren, Michelle was recruited into NXIVM by her mother, joining from almost the start of the group in the late 1990s. Somehow, Michelle did not wind up in the harem of Keith Raniere and, instead, married another NXIVM member, Ben Myers. She did not rank anywhere nearly as high as Lauren in NXIVM, working in the admin office.

By Michelle Salzman

Dear Honorable Judge Garaufis,

I am writing on behalf of my sister Lauren in order to help speak to her character and to urge leniency in her sentencing. I am well aware of the charges presented, though it is still rather difficult for me to wrap my mind around the entire case.

Growing up, I have always looked up to my sister, I would even say I put her on a pedestal. It is hard to summarize all of the beautiful aspects too.

I have always tried to emulate her care for people, her intelligence, and her absurd humor.

I’ve always been so proud to be Lauren’s sister in school, amongst our friends, in ESP, and now. She has always been a well respected teacher, and someone many have looked up to.

I believe the way she was respected amongst so many and sought after for guidance speaks very highly of her as a person.

I believe she was very badly taken advantage of by a cruel man who wanted to control all aspects of her life. He formed a relationship with her straight after she graduated from college as a vulnerable, and highly impressionable young girl. Although I saw the pain she was in, I did not know what I was looking at and could not have fully understood everything until now.

Because she was so wanting to do good in the world and for people, and with a mistaken sense of loyalty to someone who did not have her best interest in mind, she was led to make some mistakes. I think it is very clear in looking at her actions, she was trying to do good and be seen as a good person, and a good follower.

Unfortunately, that vulnerability was used against her with ultimate cruelty.

Over the past year and a half, I have witnessed a complete transformation in Lauren. Not only has she deeply disavowed Mr. Raniere, she has dedicated her time to find a completely new career. She has used her time to educate herself, to find employment, and to study. She is using her love and care towards animals in the sweetest way. I believe she will make very good contributions towards the community of the animal world and her choice do so is truly kind and honorable.

In conclusion, I believe my sister Lauren is on an exceedingly solid path towards a respectable, quiet life.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I hope I have helped give you a clear view of the beautiful person my sister is.



About the author

Guest View


Click here to post a comment

Please leave a comment: Your opinion is important to us! (Email & username are optional. To leave a name, click on the email icon)

  • I thought this was a good letter until I read Erasend’s comment. You’re right, she missed all the criteria.

    I’d add that calling her crimes “mistakes” is in itself a mistake and sounds like Clare Bronfman’s statements which weren’t well received. Lauren committed crimes. Asking the Judge to go down from 14.5 years in prison to zero prison time is a heavy lift. Dancing around the truth of the matter isn’t going to get them there.

  • Quite simply, no thanks, Michelle. This is a really stinky nothing burger, made up of the same chopped and rancid meat which caused the troubles for so many and has led to guilty pleas for Clare Bronfman, Nancy and Lauren Salzman, Allison Mack and that poor old ballerina/accountant/threesome lady, who kept pleading the fifth. Come on now.

    Michelle is just another part, another face, of the entire Nxivm mess. She is and has been, quite simply, better concealed. But how sisterly. What to say, what else to do? Big so what.

    So. Ah so, dishonorable assho.’. .???
    Ooh. Oohy gooey. Sistah shit. Where’s the truth?

    And of course, cumgratulations or “lay-shuns” to Nancy Salzman, for all of her successes, for all of her big, impressive suck-cesses. All crumpled down in
    the miserable cesspools, salinized or not. The incense sticks don’t help.

    The Nancy Salzman/Hitler/Prefect cookie has crumbled. See it now, please, Judge Garaufis. The once number one spare wifey of a real s.ob. and a fool who wanted to live as a bermuda -shorts clad perv and as a selfish, nauseating
    fake shogun idiot, up in the NDNY for the most part, charming to have in any neighborhood on earth. Abusers and pimps with designer duds. Nothing new.
    Pull up to the bumper.

    Let’s talk Nancy Salzman and her immense culpability, cancer or no cancer.

    And, by the way(side), yes, both Mother Prefect and Lauren just happen to be born with the astrological sunsign of Cancer. Huge lessons about womanhood, and about motherhood in particular. These were the cards that these two have dealt out for themselves.
    Quite a wing-ding they have had, too. Right out of the unreal House of Spirits. Without much, if any, heart or spirit?

    I have loved much of Isabel Allende’s many works as a writer, so very much, really. Such magnificence of expression. Such heart and intelligence, willing to explore, to adventure, to be one with loving, to accept loss, to trust the self.

    Where oh where is the beauty, the elegance, the noble heart of life? In Raniere’s and in Nancy Salzman’s dismally, cruelly, greedy and perverted, fabricated worlds? There is nothing but coodhearted, stupid ugliness out of them both.

    None of that Allende dignity is inside of this phony Nxivm nothing burger, and that is expected. Not any kind of revelatory assistance for Lauren can come out of her sister, who has been caught up in the same rotten world as Raniere, Nancy and Lauren Salzman.

    Never mind taking Michelle’s words with a grain of salt. Here is a ton of salt. And a five hundred pound canary, too.

    • Oops, “coldhearted” no good co(o)dfish in the entire shopping basket. Cootie fish? Coyote ughly? Pick a phrase with adjectives.

  • Dear judge,

    I am a standard poodle with impetigo.

    Lauren Salzman has developed a proprietary homeopathic treatment that has changed my life.

    This is not an exaggeration. No one wants a dog with a gross rash. It is contagious. And unsightly.

    Let me back up..

    My “family” dumped me in a terrifying shelter after having a second (human) baby. To say my heart was broken would be an understatement of enormous proportions.

    I could tell you about the day that I thought we were getting in the car for an adventure only to find myself locked in a really scary dog jail. Even though I was a GOOD dog…

    But instead I will tell you how a poodle rescue organization bailed me out and sent me be cleaned up by a human angel who is named, Lauren.

    I was so scared when I was left on Lauren’s metal table. Was this a new dog jail? Would I be “put down” as I heard barking about at the dog prison?

    Instead small, dexterous and very gentle hands carefully examined the painful sores on my belly that I had contracted while wrongly incarcerated.

    All the while ,Lauren was speaking to me kindly. Her voice so sweet. It caused me to tremble. Tears filled my eyes with gratitude. I was so tired. It was just so loud at the animal impound. So terrifying and I was so lonely for my family and my old dog bed that I could not sleep.

    My spirit and body were hurting. I have much to tell. But out of a desire to respect the court’s time I will wrap this endorsement up.

    Who cares what a used second hand poodle thinks? You may be asking yourself.

    Well. I am proud to say that I am now a licensed service dog. I have a job! I have a family! I take care of a little boy who has autism and we are best, best friends.

    None of this would have happened without the tender care , expert grooming and innovative remedies (okay and some antibiotics too) of Lauren Salzman.

    She literally saved my life. And now I never itch. And I have a new name. It’s Jake.

    I will always be grateful to Lauren for touching my skeevy fur and scabby belly when no one else believed in me.

    Now my outside reflects my inside. And anyone can see that I am a good dog. Deserving of love and a second chance at life.

    Thank you,
    Jake the Standard Poodle

    Guardian of Brian.
    And friend to all.

  • I was way off the mark on Mack’s sentence so not going to bother to guess with Salzman but so far not seeing her make the same solid argument that Mack made. Seems the judge sees the woman mostly as victims and is hoping for them to give him a reason to go relatively easy on them. He wants to see an effort to change, an effort to recognize the error of their ways, an effort to distance from Raneire and everything NXIVM, and an effort to create a post NXIVM life. Best I can tell family ties have prevented Salzman from making a solid argument on most of those criteria with her testifying against Keith possibly being the only thing that may be a big assist on sentencing.

    Also interesting how the daughter seems to avoid naming Keith and/or her mother. Not sure if that was a good idea or not. In any event, her sister could only semi make an argument on those 4 criteria mentioned and besides working as a dog hair cutter, makes few specific examples of how her sister achieved any of them. It shouldn’t be that hard to do.

    Side note: Don’t use abbreviations unless they are truly universal like CIA, FBI, or DOJ. Even then, just spell it out if not sure. Especially when trying to say make an argument for your sister to not go to jail for a long time. What is ESP? “Education Support Professionals”. “Extra Special People”, “Extended School Program”, “English for specific purposes”. Yes, these are real things as abbreviations of ESP. A many page list can be found here: https://www.abbreviations.com/ESP

    For example, let’s say the judge reads it in the most common usage, short for Extra-Sensory Perception. Suddenly that paragraph reads as “I’ve always been so proud to be Lauren’s sister in school, amongst our friends, in Extra-Sensory Perception, and now. She has always been a well-respected teacher, and someone many have looked up to.”

    It reads as if her sis moved on from NXIVM to practicing another form of nonsense. Not a good sign if the argument is “She has changed for the better.” I assume she means “Education Support Professionals” but even then not sure. If so, reminding the judge her primary job at NXIVM was teaching overpriced “education” courses seems ill-advised. Not sure of the prices but if get bored, look into how much corporations pay for classes. In many cases almost as much as a semester of a college class, not even kidding and those prices are considered 100% legal (but I am digressing).

    Hmm…this meandered so TDLR: Michelle doesn’t make a strong argument to meet the areas of change the judge will be looking for, don’t assume people know your acronyms, and corporate classes are way overpriced.

    • Executive Success Programs. You know, the reason that Keith is in jail for 120 years.

      “Side note: Don’t use abbreviations unless they are truly universal ” – Ok, well please take your own advice, because what the fuck is TDLR? I literally have no idea and googled it, did you really mean Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation?

      • Beats me what TDLR is, just something see on reddit all the time. But point is correct, should have said summary.

    • ” “I’ve always been so proud to be Lauren’s sister in school, amongst our friends, in Extra-Sensory Perception, and now. She has always been a well-respected teacher, and someone many have looked up to.”

      “It reads as if her sis moved on from NXIVM to practicing another form of nonsense. Not a good sign if the argument is “She has changed for the better.”

      Sorry to single you out, Erasend, but you provide a great example of how most peoples’ standards for leniency because of “rehabilitation” and “recovery” don’t have anything to do with criminal statutes but with compliance with mainstream beliefs – which have nothing to do with any criminal activity.

      It should not matter that Lauren became a member of the Church of Scientology as part of her “rehabilitation and recovery” but it certainly does. It would be much better to say she joined the Catholic Church, or the local Jewish synagogue.

      Peoples’ beliefs and values corrupt the letter of the law, and their ability to act justly. That might be impossible to avoid. But it should be pointed out when it is so clearly corrupting justice in sentencing someone for crimes for which they’ve been convicted.

      Prosecutors, judges and juries are not supposed to be mainstream morality police.

      But in this trial, they certainly were/are.


      • You’re not entirely wrong in overall point but how it applies to Michelle, I don’t agree.

        She broke the law because she was in a cult and checked her moral compass at the door for the cult. Joining another cult (say Scientology) would indicate she learned nothing from the experience. Same with chasing down something else imaginary like extra-sensory perception (yes to others aware now what NXIVM shorthand for ESP is, just continuing the current track of analogy).

        Yes, her joining a recognized religion would be considered a notch in the plus column for her to get a reduced sentence, especially if got a church leader to write something on her behalf. Not something I agree with either but sometimes got to play the game. So she did miss an opportunity there to improve her chances.

      • Ah cool, thanks. A judge hears lot of cases so odds are he probably had to try to remember too so my overall point stands – don’t use abbreviations if you’re trying to convey something important. Her sister definitely f’ed up mentioning that as only hurts her sister to bring that up. She in effect said “Hey, when she was doing illegal shit she was well-liked!”

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
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com