Kathy Russell Get Probation – No Fine; No Victims – Denounces Keith as a ‘Monster’

Kathy Russell leaves court.

By Eduardo Asunsolo


The last of the NXIVM defendants was sentenced today at the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn New York. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis presided.

The defendant, Kathy Russell, was sentenced to 24 months probation and no fine for her conviction of one count of visa fraud.

The judge noted she can’t afford to pay any fine. She also got 200 hours of community service, and a $100 special assessment. The judge said there should be no restitution.

There were also no victims making impact statements. The hearing lasted less than one hour.

The conditions of her two years’ probation were simple: She may not communicate with anyone affiliated with ESP, NXIVM, DOS or any other NXIVM-affiliated companies.

The defense attorney Justine Harris said to the judge that there are a few people,  below the coach level and completely disconnected from NXIVM now, who are part of her rehabilitation. The judge said she might see them, as long as the prosecution agreed.

Further, Kathy may not go to any establishments connected to NXIVM or where people affiliated to NXIVM gather.

The judge pointed out that since she moved to Georgia, it is not likely that she will run into them.

He said, “I am not going to restrict you from traveling. Just don’t meet with ‘these people'”.

He left it to the probation department to determine if she needs a mental health evaluation or mental health treatment.

Prior to sentencing, her lawyer, Justine Harris, told the judge that Kathy was a victim. She has a new career. She is in quality control and that it is really hard at her age, 62, to make a change in careers.

The judge agreed she was a victim.

Harris told the judge that Kathy was fully “deprogrammed” and that it was remarkable since for 17 years she was coerced and blinded as to who Keith Raniere was.

She added that “I believe your honor was right in the leniency” shown to Lauren Salzman, who got probation at an earlier sentencing.

AUSA Tanya Hajjar, for the US Attorney’s office, did not push hard for prison and said that she was satisfied with the 6-12 months of prison suggested by the Sentencing Guidelines.

Before being sentenced, Kathy spoke, reading from a letter that she said “came from her heart.”

She was permitted to read while seated since her voice was weak and was at times barely audible.

The judge smiled at her.  She started crying. The judge interrupted and said [evidently he had read her letter] “I found your letter thoughtful and very emotional.”

Kathy calmed down. Still, as she read, she choked up and alternately cried. The judge had his hand on his cheek in a show of compassion.

Kathy apologized for her criminal decisions but admitted she was unable to say no to Keith.

“He is a monster who destroyed so many lives,” she said.

“It is truly a horror that I believed Keith was an honest, honorable man,” Russell told the judge. “I have never known or met anyone who went to the lengths he did to manipulate, abuse, and harm.”

Russell said she is “deeply ashamed and regretful for what my actions have caused and what it meant to be someone who supported and was complicit with Keith.”

She spoke of her son and wanting to be a good mother.

When she was done, the judge asked Kathy if she was ready to be sentenced. She said yes.

Seemingly to assure her, he spoke of mercy, as well as justice, and noted that she had pled guilty.

The defense had submitted a number of emails between Keith, Clare Bronfman and Nancy Salzman written to Kathy and vice versa.

The judge noted that these emails made him more certain that his sentencings had been fair. These three received the harshest sentences: Raniere -120 years; Bronfman – 82 months; and Salzman – 42 months.

Contrasted with Allison Mack, 36 months, Lauren Salzman, probation and Kathy Russell, probation.

The six NXIVM defendants, Upper Row: Kathy Russell, Keith Raniere, and Nancy Salzman. Lower Row: Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman, and Clare Bronfman.

Speaking of Bronfman, Nancy Salzman and Raniere, he said, “Clearly, they took advantage of her.”

The judge also noted that Kathy was financially struggling and had been abused before joining NXIVM.

“Now she has a community that is the opposite of NXIVM,” he said. He also noted that she is a good mother, according to the letters of support.

“You basically have shown you have been rehabilitated and incarceration would stop your rehabilitation,” the judge said.

In handing down his sentence of probation, he said “This is the final event of a four-year-old litigation that has demonstrated to everyone the great harm that can be done to so many by so few.  But this sentencing has represented the relieving of the horror that happened upstate. There is no one associated with this litigation that does not feel the harm that Keith Raniere has caused.”

Judge Nicholas Garaufis showed mercy in the sentencing of Kathy Russell.


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  • Frank
    This is Kathy – we will have to say goodbye- you are NOT who you said you were and you are NOT who you told us you were.
    Am sorry 😢 WE have wasted our time with this whole corporation.
    Take care – Kathy

  • Frank
    You haven’t answered any of my questions- why is that ? I am NOT Kim – I am a person of trust and honor and YOU haven’t attempted to call or email the family back- what is going on- ?

  • Frank
    Why is it you will NOT answer the Snyder family? What is really going on with you and that situation? It is like you have left the “victims” and moved on. What’s up with the issues of “kicking to the curb?” They feel neglected and alone – and feel that no one cares – what’s up with the “movies” and just NOT communicating with a “victim’s family man ?” What’s up with that?

    Kim has tried to contact YOU over and over and to NO avail. What’s up with that?

    Your promise of “I will be there until the end” is lacking-

    What is the “neglect” issue all about?

    I would personally appreciate knowing.

  • Frank,

    What are the Ambrose papers? What is that all about?

    Why NOT turn your sights to more significant issues – as solving “homicide cases” and cold cases- and giving those victims a voice?

    I am a cousin of the Snyders, and wonder why YOU won’t answer Kim anymore? She is sad and has finally given up and has decided her sister is at peace in heaven.

    Why won’t you ever talk to her over the phone anymore?

    I guess you are too busy with the “Ambrose papers”. Oh well,

    Take care – Kathy

  • Frank,
    Finally, this battle with “NXIVM” is over – now what will you write about?

    Will you continue to “rehash” what has already been said and done?

    Will you try and write about the “monster” and his crew?

    Will you ever take time for those who have been left behind – and talk to their families? Will you ever NOT see yourself as a “victim”?

    Are you satisfied that this is finally over? Will you?

    Now what?

    Peanut head

    • We have a lot to write about — but the NXIVM saga is not yet over. There is a little more to write. But check out the Ambrose papers — there is something very significant going on there.

  • The Eduardo Report, has a nice ring, and articulate balance. What a concept!

    Thanks Eduardo for your unbiased REPORTING!

  • Two places where Eduardo veers from writing a straight news story:

    “Harris told the judge that Kathy was fully ‘deprogrammed’ and that it was remarkable since for 17 years she was coerced and blinded as to who Keith Raniere was.”

    The need to call out the word deprogrammed and put it in quotes suggests the author inherently does not believe it to be factual or a real concept.

    “Seemingly to assure her, he spoke of mercy, as well as justice … “

    The section on the interaction between the judge and Kathy suggests the author’s personal inferences on the judge’s thought process and intent. The choice of which details the author highlights are also suggestive and leading.

    Just thought you might want the perspective of someone who writes for a living.

    • Good notes! Clearly, you’re good at identifying bias in journalism — NXIVM would’ve recruited you into “The Knife.” (In quotes.)

  • “Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.” Then why is one of your subjects writing your articles?

    • Eduardo has switched from subject to investigative journalists in training. I am doing the training and he shows promise. He has heart and a great eye for detail.

      • Frank,

        It is dishonest for a man as intrinsically involved in a court case not to divulge that within the “investigative journalism”.

        This is not to say HOW the author should address this issue, but to NOT address it is unacceptable.

        It raises lots of questions and distracts from the “investigative reporting”.

        A reporter simply must acknowledge their previous personal relationship with a person or organization that they are “reporting” on.

        Even a frivolous entertainment review will clarify that the reporter works for a network of the parent company

        Come on now. You know it’s relevant. One sentence. Anything. It simply must be addressed head on.

          • Fair enough, Frank. Thank you for letting me opine. Just trying to hold you to the same gold standard as, ” The Knife of Aristotle”.

            Haha haha!

  • Eduardo,

    Pick your poison:

    1. Compliment

    Eduardo Asunsolo excellent and unbiased article! I mean it, English is a second language for you and you put me to shame. Sincerely.

    2: Insult:
    I was wondering when everybody’s favorite termite and buggery-hobbyist would come out of the woodwork. Have you been choking on sawdust or something else?
    Suneel is ready for the Nirvana Car Ride and the full JiffyLube™️ experience.

    “Sometimes a car ride is a car ride, and sometimes ‘it’s’ a spiritual journey with a oil check using an index-finger at the end.” -Eduardo & Emi Joyride

  • Would be interesting to read if so:

    The defense had submitted a number of emails between Keith, Clare Bronfman, and Nancy Salzman written to Kathy and vice versa.

    Work some magic, Claviger

    The judge totally got the right feel for this woman and I’m glad she’s been able to begin to rebuild her life with normal folks and didn’t have to serve any time.

  • Ed
    What was it like for you to witness the emotional nature of this sentencing, Kathy’s statements and write this article? What are your reflections about the ESP/ Nxivm experience?

  • Damn, Eduardo, you write English like it’s your native tongue! So, um, does your new Guru, boss, cult leader, Godfather, what have you, let you boff the harem leftovers (that LeBaron bitch is pretty hot) or have Keith, Nancy, Clare and Emiliano’s gross worth still got your balls? RIP, again, Jim Del Negro. (Don’t neglect your teeth, Mijo.)

    • —RIP, again, Jim Del Negro. (Don’t neglect your teeth, Mijo.)

      Cold-hearted and funny! You still got it, Heidi. Hope everything is well!

      PS Suneel wrote it!

      • Suneel wrote it? See Frank’s take on Eduardo’s mentorship above. He does not credit Suneel and doesn’t need you to lie for him. Or are you making your own self-delusional assumptions?

        Btw, how’s that Florida Key Deer pal of yours doing, NG? Did you meet “James,” the killer alligator Frank and Chitra like to feed when he’s not after the neighbor’s dog? And are you over your online stalking of me? Or aware that the info you provide may be redistributed to the likes of Ncki Clyne’s Mexican drug cartel farmer groupies who keep popping up as mutual friends of mine and hers?

        Nice Guy’s finish last.

        • Nice Guy, are you stalking Heidi? I did not know that. As for my pet crocodile [she is not an alligator], she had babies and the family is doing well. She has grown to be about 6 feet long [from snout to tail] and is at times pretty hard to catch and bring in the house.

  • What if? What if Kathy was an heir with $200 million to her name? She was loyal to Keith nearly until her sentencing. In her letter, she said she begged for his attention for years on end. What if she had been rich like Clare and Clare didn’t have a dime to her name?

    Then the roles and probably the sentencing would have been reversed: Kathy would have done all the evil things with her money at the direction of Keith and she would have been the one to be sentenced to 6,.75 years in prison.

    Kathy should be grateful that she was poor.

  • Why is Eduardo writing hard news stories for Frank Report? I’m sorry but you’ve veered too far off the journalism path.

    • I second the sentiment: why is Eduardo writing this piece? It really puts a taint on it. And it definitely is very strange. The use of Eduardo as a reporter on this without any feedback from him is very bizarre. It seems like the only benefit to having someone like Eduardo generate one of these posts is for him to give his perspective on it and whether or not he agrees or disagrees with the things that Kathy Russell said about Keith, etc. It’s an absolute wasted opportunity. Anyone could have written this post, so why Eduardo?

      • Exactly. Anyone could’ve written this story. Bizarre. Eduardo obviously has a lot to say about NXIVM, yet he wants to write straight news pieces for the blog that took down his guru. I think Frank and Eduardo are both a bit nutso.

      • Actually not true. Eduardo was in Brooklyn. I am in the Keys. Not to brag but my own case is so patently powerful that I can win it in my sleep. Why? Because the truth never sleeps.

  • I am happy for Kathy that she can go on with the future she has worked hard for since she has left these abusive monsters. May they ROT in HELL. I feel Nancy should have been dealt with more severely. She is a terrible person who is still manipulating the sh*t out of the legal system, may have money hidden, and is still in contact with NXIVM players. At least Clare is where she belongs. I imagine she was shocked to her entitled, evil core by her sentence. Too bad her sister Sara was not dealt with too.

  • More arbitrary leniency. It’s absolutely appalling. Are some crocodile tears and a fake renunciation of the Vanguard all this judge needs to hear to absolve them completely?

    If he gave Raniere 120 years, how can the judge morally justify anything less than a decade or two behind bars for his most brazenly sociopathic and loyal deputies (Nancy, Allison) – no matter how much they cooperated and how much they pretended to renounce everything?

    NOBODY in the dock in this case deserved anything less than a stiff prison sentence, let alone probation.

    Garaufis, who likes to remind everyone that he’s just an old-fashioned regular joe from Brooklyn, clearly fits the stereotype in his benighted chivalry toward weepy female defendants.

  • Times Union

    In final NXIVM federal case sentencing, judge spares bookkeeper from jail time
    Robert Gavin, Oct. 6, 2021, Updated: Oct. 6, 2021 1:03 p.m.

    [ … ]

    The judge said he believed Russell’s rehabilitation would be hindered by jail time and interfere with her so far successful efforts to get on with her life.

    “I don’t think there is anyone associated with this litigation who doesn’t feel deeply about the human misery that was created by Keith Raniere over a 20-year period.”

    The judge told Russell that emails provided by her defense team made it clear that Raniere, NXIVM president Nancy Salzman and Clare Bronfman, the wealthy Seagrams heiress and NXIVM operations director, took advantage of Russell’s weaknesses to manipulate her.
    “This is a classic case study as to how a cult environment injures people even as they engage in the improper activities of the cult,” the judge said.

    [ … ]


  • This is very good news

    I’m happy for Kathy

    Justice has been served with her

    Nancy Salzman should have gotten more time in my opinion

    • Nancy Salzman deserved way more time. Her age shouldn’t have been a factor or her health. She was cruel and criminal to others with breast cancer or other illnesses.

    • But Nancy Salzman was “brainwashed” by the Svengali Keith Raniere.

      It was all Keith’s fault. Nancy’s power of choice was overridden by his cult leader powers, acting right out of the “cult leader’s playbook”. Prefect had little choice but to do everything Keith told her to do. So Keith got 120 years and she got 3.

      Such is the “judgement” of someone like Judgey G who believes in the superstition of brainwashing.


  • Robert Gavin
    1 min.
    *****BREAKING NEWS: #NXIVM bookkeeper Kathy Russell gets no prison, 2 years probation, 200 hours community service. Judge calls it “classic case study as to how a cult environment injures people even as they engage in the improper activities of the cult.”

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