Attorney: Plaintiffs Try to ‘Intimidate’ and ‘Pressure’ Clare Bronfman in Lawsuit

Clare Bronfman

The civil case Sarah Edmondson et al v Keith Raniere et al – is being prosecuted in the US District Court for the Eastern District of NY before Judge Eric Komitee.

Seventy plaintiffs, former students or members of NXIVM’s leadership, are represented by Neil Glazer and lawyers from his Philadelphia law firm, Kohn Swift and Graf.

There are 15 defendants; only two of which have enough assets to justify a multi-year comprehensive lawsuit: Clare and Sara Bronfman.

Clare and Sara Bronfman

Timeline of Lawsuit and Clare Bronfman Responses:

January 28, 2020: Glazer filed a complaint.  

August 13, 2021: Glazer filed the first amended complaint.

January 28, 2022: Clare Bronfman’s attorney, Craig C. Martin of Willkie Farr, filed a motion to dismiss.

February 25, 2022: Glazer filed a second amended complaint.

March 15, 2022: Glazer filed Combined Response to Motions to Dismiss

April 11, 2022: Martin filed a response to opposition to the motion to dismiss.

More Ethical Lives

In his filings, Martin wrote NXIVM is “a 20-year-old company with more than 17,000 past students from 33 countries, which sought to inspire joy in people’s lives” and that “NXIVM’s goal was to help people live more ethical lives and create a more humanitarian society.”

Change of Heart

In his most recent filing, Martin writes, “The crucial fact that distinguishes most Plaintiffs from Defendants is a purported change of heart and, most obviously, a desire to seek monetary gain from Defendants perceived to have significant financial resources.”

Clare and Sara Bronfman

Martin wrote that the lawsuit is “an effort to intimidate and pressure a woman from a well-known and wealthy family” and “implicate Clare Bronfman in claims wholly unrelated to her.”

Craig Martin of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP.

Leadership Not Enough

“Plaintiffs rely on… sweeping generalizations, conclusory assertions, and group pleading… in an attempt to disguise their inability to plead specific facts as to Clare Bronfman,” Martin wrote. Plaintiffs think they “need not support their claims against Clare Bronfman with specific factual allegations because… she had a leadership position. Thus, her liability as to all claims can be inferred.”

This, he argues, is “illogical because… Multiple Plaintiffs also… had a leadership role within NXIVM.”

The NXIVM executive board. Nancy Salzman [Defendant], with Mark Vicente [Plaintiff], Alex Betancourt, Karen Unterreiner [Defendant], Clare Bronfman [Defendant], Lauren Salzman [Defendant], and Emiliano Salinas.

Money Grab

Martin writes, “Clare Bronfman had little-to-nothing to do with most of the accusations. Associating her with such outrageous allegations is a thinly veiled attempt to take her money. Plain and simple. Plaintiffs obviously perceive Clare Bronfman as a deep pocket. However, Plaintiffs’ shameless attempt to use this litigation as a vehicle for a windfall should not be tolerated.”

Clare Bronfman with Keith Raniere

 

Clare Bronfman’s official NXIVM photo.

RICO?

Clare is alleged to be liable to all Plaintiffs for NXIMV being a RICO enterprise.

“Plaintiffs admit to being members and leaders of NXIVM,” Martin writes. “Under this logic, Plaintiffs implicate themselves as participants of the alleged enterprise. To state the obvious, it makes no sense for Plaintiffs to seek to impose treble-damages for RICO liability on Clare Bronfman based on the very same conduct that they admittedly engaged in.”

Martin claims the plaintiffs “lack even a coherent story as to what the alleged enterprise is,” and there is nothing they “plausibly allege” that shows Bronfman “was a part of it.”

His arguments are similar for sex trafficking, forced labor, and peonage:

“Plaintiffs concede,” he writes, “that they seek to hold Clare Bronfman liable to Plaintiffs for whom she was ‘only an indirect cause of some injuries.’ But that is just another way of saying that those alleged injuries were caused by persons other than Clare Bronfman. ”

Clare Bronfman on stage at V-Week

Plaintiffs allege that NXIVM is a RICO enterprise because of the criminal case.

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

Martin writes, “Only Defendants Raniere, N. Salzman, L. Salzman, and Mack were convicted of or pled to racketeering offenses…  It is incoherent for Plaintiffs to argue that, because four Defendants were convicted of being involved in a RICO enterprise in a criminal case… it is ‘uncontroversial’ that Plaintiffs have properly pled a RICO enterprise in a separate civil action involving a different group of defendants, a different group of plaintiffs, and different claims.”

Specific Claims Against Clare

MK10ART painting of Sylvie.

Notwithstanding the argument Martin makes that the Plaintiffs do not make any specific factual allegations, there are several allegations against Bronfman in the complaint.

Martin has a reply to all of them.

One of them is that Bronfman Concealed and Harbored Aliens for Financial Gain, something she was convicted of in the criminal case.

Martin responded, “the one person Clare Bronfman pled to having harbored [Sylvie] is not a plaintiff in this litigation,” so it’s “besides the point.”

Camila by MK10ART.

Camila

Plaintiffs contend that Clare Bronfman illegally harbored Camila, a plaintiff.

Martin argues that “the FAC [First Amended Complaint]… do not support a claim, as they must, that Clare Bronfman acted for financial gain. Instead, they allege only that Clare Bronfman consulted an attorney on Camila’s behalf but did not allow Camila to talk with the attorney directly and that Clare Bronfman called Camila’s brother Adrian as he was driving Camila to Texas, demanding that he return Camila back to New York.”

Adrian

Martin continues, “As to Plaintiff Adrian, the FAC does not allege that Clare Bronfman had anything to do with him coming to the United States. While it does allege that Clare Bronfman worked out a way for Adrian to be paid through a Mexican entity, it does not allege that she did so to conceal or harbor Adrian or that she did so for financial gain. In fact, the FAC alleges that Clare Bronfman was the person who arranged to pay Adrian, not that she benefitted financially from him.”

MacInnis

The lawsuit alleges that Bronfman helped Lindsay MacInnis obtain a visa. When asked by MacInnis, Bronfman provided her with the funds required by her visa to keep her legal immigration status.

Clare Bronfman allegedly told MacInnis that these payments were a loan she would have to repay.

Martin argues, “Plaintiffs’ claims as to Plaintiff MacInnis fail because Plaintiffs’ allegations show that Clare Bronfman did not attempt to conceal MacInnis, but rather sought to help her reside and work lawfully within the United States.”

Threats

Plaintiffs allege Clare Bronfman drafted threatening letters.

Martin argues that these allegations are “bald and conclusory” and that Plaintiffs “do not identify any fraudulent statements in those letters, nor explain why they were fraudulent, or when they were drafted.”

Edmondson

Plaintiffs allege that Clare Bronfman made “false statements concerning Sarah Edmondson to the Vancouver Police Department.”

Sarah Edmondson

Martin writes that the Plaintiffs “do not explain what the false statements were when the statements were made, why the statements were fraudulent.”

Tourette’s and Human Fright

The Plaintiffs, Jen Kobelt, Margot Leviton, Isabella Constantino, and Caryssa Long-Cottrell, alleged that “participating in illegitimate, bogus psychotherapy” qualifies as forced labor and that Bronfman is liable because she “provided the funds for the rent of the premises and the purchase of equipment.”

Martin argues that the “NXIVM-sponsored psychological studies” are not forced labor because “voluntary participation in a psychological study does not qualify either as ‘labor’ or as being ‘forced.'”

Isabella Constantino from the documentary My Tourette’s.

 

Carysa Long from the documentary My Tourette’s.

Martin writes they were not “forced to participate in the studies through force, physical restraint, serious harm, abuse of legal process, or threats thereof.”

Plaintiffs’ Sex Trafficking Claim

Martin writes, “Plaintiffs’ effort to ground Clare Bronfman’s liability on alleged sex trafficking offenses fails because the FAC does not plausibly allege that Clare Bronfman participated in—or even knew of—the alleged sex trafficking activities… Plaintiffs have made no allegations that Clare Bronfman knew of or was part of DOS.”

exo/eso

Bonnie Piesse

Plaintiffs allege that exo/eso “was designed and used to procure, groom and provide sexual servants for Raniere.”

The exo/eso plaintiffs are Bonnie Piesse, Adrienne Stiles, and Lindsay MacInnis.

Martin argues none of these women “allege any sexual relations with Raniere or anyone else within NXIVM. Therefore, participation in exo/eso cannot form the basis for any sex trafficking claims.”

Forced Labor

The allegations of forced labor are “against all Defendants on behalf of all Plaintiffs.”

Martin argues that the judge must dismiss plaintiffs’ claims for forced labor against Bronfman.

He writes, ’58 Plaintiffs do not mention Clare Bronfman… and thus have not sufficiently alleged an injury traceable to her in order to have standing to assert claims against her…. as a matter of law.”

The plaintiffs argue that their DOS-related allegations against Bronfman relate to her alleged refusal to return collateral or retaliation against defectors after DOS became public and began disbanding, rather than participation in DOS.

Martin argues that “the DOS Plaintiffs fail to allege that Clare Bronfman was part of DOS or involved in any of its alleged forced labor activities, their forced labor claims against Clare Bronfman must be dismissed.”

Clare Bronfman

Peonage

Martin writes “Plaintiffs…  rely on general arguments that ‘[t]he entire organization operated by capitalizing on the debt of its members.’ They claim this was ‘common knowledge to NXIVM leaders,’ which includes many Plaintiffs.”

Daniela – artist sketch

Daniela

Plaintiffs argue that, because Clare Bronfman held a leadership position in NXIVM, she knew or should have known about Daniela’s immigration status and document servitude.

Martin argues that “Plaintiffs have also pleaded that several other parties, including Plaintiffs, held similar leadership positions, yet Plaintiffs do not ask the Court to draw the same inference as to them.”

What’s Next

Clare Bronfman with the orange sash of the proctor.

To hear the plaintiffs tell it, Clare Bronfman was responsible for the harm done to every plaintiff.

To hear her lawyer’s view, she is responsible for nothing.

The judge will determine the law during the motion practice now before him. He may dismiss some or all of the claims or none of them.

If it survives and the case does not settle, it will go before a jury to determine the facts and maybe the law.

With 70 plaintiffs and 11 individual defendants, with four in prison, two on probation, and one in Portugal, discovery, and depositions may drag on for months or years.

A trial is possible sometime in 2023. Possibly 2024.

If the Bronfmans are found liable, there will likely be an appeal. However, that may take another year or more.

Clare Bronfman is due out of prison on June 29, 2026, possibly in time for the appeal.

 

 

 

About the author

Frank Parlato

11 Comments

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  • Frank,

    Have you read about the alleged ‘tik tok dance” cult?

    Might be worth exploring on FR.

    There are families who really want their kids back. Maybe you could help by writing the truth about what is going on? Maybe the families will talk to you for a Post?

  • This is getting boring.

    DOS handbook? SOP?

    The civil suit is happening. Let it play out in court.

    The only interesting new-ish civil case info recently was connecting the dots on the concept that the cult dead-enders held a belief that losing anonymity would cause plaintiffs to drop out of the case.

    It explained much about their obsession.

    This blog is starting to read like a PR page for the civil case defendants.

    It used to be fun and interesting.

  • Like I have been saying, the civil case has two massive problems to overcome – the bank problem and the plaintiff problem (meh names but good enough for ID purposes).

    The bank problem is simple – providing money that is then used for nefarious things is not sufficient proof of knowledge, participation in, or responsibility for how that money is used. Otherwise, all banks would have been sued into oblivion a long time ago. Never mind if parents or friends lend money to someone who does something damaging with it.

    The plaintiff problem is how to distinguish the willing participation of most of the plaintiffs in the very thing they are suing the defendants for.

    Martin drilled into these two areas in various ways in his filing. Asking each plaintiff the simple question “have you ever met Clare Bronfman?” could prove to become the most damaging question in the case.

    • Does the blackmailed store owner, who is being extorted for protection money, have to know the mob boss and have met him in person before in order to be a crime victim of this godfather, if he does not come by in person to pick up the money, but only sends his goons by?

      Isn’t the Mob also a company, usually even in terms of turnover, larger than many a corporation, even if it is not listed on the stock exchange or entered in the commercial register, but still a kind of company with employees and with a hierarchy and level of command or superiors and subordinates, without formally being a registered company?

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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Parlato,_Jr.

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com

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