My comments on Lauren Salzman’s letter of support for her mother written to Judge Nicholas Garaufis are related to one aspect of her argument.
Her letter, at over 2,000 words, is revealing and at times persuasive, but largely a masterpiece lesson on how to be a grifter.
Lauren expends a good number of words about how her mother – and by implication, she herself – were not the only guilty ones who promoted Keith Raniere.
But, unlike the others, she and her mother bravely stepped forward. Lauren writes that not many, other than Nancy and she, were willing to:
- Step forward and accept the truth,
- To say, ‘… I accept responsibility.’
- The number of people who have taken this step, in relation to the universe of culpable actors, is relatively few.
- My mother stood up shortly after our arrests,
- Upon learning the fast-emerging truths [about Raniere] of what had happened, she spoke the truth to her co-defendants.
- She acted decisively on her belief in what was being revealed [about Keith].
- She pleaded guilty, and in so doing, changed the course of the case, by forging a path for others to do the same.
- Many hundreds of people … promoted Keith … and reaped significant financial and other benefits.
- Many were fervent supporters championing his rise to power.
- Very few have owned up to their participation as perpetrators as readily as they don the victim’s cloak.
Lauren and Nancy were among the top three or four people reaping rewards from NXIVM. Yet Lauren is trying to make the judge believe that others should share the blame and, more importantly, he should understand their claim to moral superiority.
For mother and daughter, this epitomizes their character. This is precisely who Nancy and Lauren Salzman were in NXIVM. Hypocrites.
Does anyone, even Lauren, believe that Nancy, or Lauren herself, would have stood up and admitted wrongdoing if they were not facing prison?
Her mother did more than anyone to promote Keith.
Lauren Salzman writes, “I think it is easiest to view the six of us charged as the full complement of ‘bad guys’ now brought to justice, which is hardly the complete picture, and fails to serve the interests of relating the whole truth. My mom has taken responsibility.”
Yes, agreed. Nancy took responsibility only when she had to. She cannot quite excuse herself on the claim that, thanks to the prosecutors and discovery in the case, she finally learned the ugly truth about Keith Raniere. Especially since she pleaded guilty before the second superseding indictment was revealed.
I would be fascinated to learn what she claims she really did not know. I doubt there was much. Between mother and daughter, they knew almost everything. Yet they continued to promote him.
Lauren, at least, knows how to “don the victim’s cloak” well. It did not fit Nancy as snugly.
Lauren got probation, posing and mugging as an innocent dog groomer.
Nancy, posing as the nurturing, loving, honest, brave soul who stood up and took responsibility on the very day she finally learned how enormously evil Raniere was, did not work. The judge gave the 66-year-old 42 months in federal prison.
It may not have worked because it simply was not true.
There were plenty of ways for her to find out if Keith was a good guy or not for years. There were plenty of allegations made prior to her arrest. [See the Times Union’s Secrets of NXIVM series in 2012 or more specifically In Raniere’s Shadows. Instead of investigating the truth of those allegations, she helped spread a deliberate misinformation campaign to the community to debunk the stories, some of which she knew were true.]
But she did not have to read back then about Raniere’s enormous evil. She witnessed a lot of it herself. Her victim’s cloak is a little threadbare when you consider Nancy:
- Knew about – and participated in – the vindictive lawsuits, even those against her former friends and therapy clients.
- Knew about his harem.
- Knew about his penchant for lying to women about his monogamy.
- Lied herself to women to keep them with Raniere and gave women therapy sessions to trick them into staying with Raniere based on his lies, which she knew were lies.
- Knew about his taking naked photos.
- Knew of his propensity for collecting material for potential blackmail.
- Participated in the spying on people Raniere designated as enemies.
- Knew of the allegations of underage sex, she even taught the comparative morality of it in classes.
- Knew, as well as her daughter, that Daniela was confined in a room for almost two years for kissing her future son-in-law.
- Knew or should have known about Camila, and his underage rape of her, for she prepared the way for him.
- Despite Lauren saying Nancy knew nothing of DOS, before I broke the story in June 2017, Nancy learned about it then and this was more than a year before she was arrested. She did nothing to break from Raniere. She supported him and enabled him to continue.
And when he vamoosed to Mexico, she remained behind to enable the NXIVM community to continue, and held them together.
And Lauren wants us to believe that Nancy Salzman did not once glean the remotest possibility of the enormity of Keith’s evil until after she was arrested. Then and only then did she “appreciate the enormity of what she had participated in.” Then “she was quick to decide what was right, and do it.”
I don’t buy it.
Lauren does raise an interesting point in her letter: That Keith demoted her and Nancy in 2009 when Barbara Bouchey, Susan Dones and the others of the NXIVM 9 left because they did not think Raniere should be sleeping with so many teachers and students of NXIVM.
And lying to them as well, and on top of that keeping it a secret from the greater NXIVM community.
Nancy must have known Keith was an enormously selfish person when she was demoted. She might have left him too. Instead, she and her daughter stuck to Keith and lied to the community about Bouchey’s claims.
Then came a stunning moment. Nancy shunned her children’s father, and encouraged her daughters, Michelle and Lauren, to shun their father because Keith demanded it.
I do not know about you, but anyone, in my book, who demands that a daughter shun father – not because of any foul deed of the father, but only because he would not fire a housekeeper, one of the women who left NXIVM, has the enormity of evil written all over them.
You would have to be an ass clown not to know this pig is all evil.
Funny, too, Lauren refused to speak to her dad from 2009 until after she was in trouble in 2018. Her father took her back with welcoming arms, which shows one good father is worth a million Vanguards.
Like her mother, Lauren came to the table late, donning the victim’s cloak, begging forgiveness.
OK let’s grant forgiveness, if we can to the two Salzmans.
But only after you realize the enormous hypocrisy of your pretension to moral superiority based on your accepting responsibility, or bravely standing up for the right. You did neither. You came crawling because you had to and now pretend you did it because you have a strong inner moral compass and are brave enough, unlike many others, to live it and to do it.
From my perch, neither mother nor daughter did that a single time in their lives and they certainly did not do that in their mea culpa ala Raniere.
This letter shows the cleverness of the Salzmans and how they managed to hold sway in NXIVM for 20 years, covering up for Raniere.
It does not show any true contrition.
It is them donning the victim’s cloak, as they profess superiority over others, equally culpable, they claim, but far less noble and not as brave or truthful as they.
I call it bullshit. For that’s what it is.