Fading Brand? HBO’s ‘The Vow # 2’ Premieres to Mixed Reviews

On Monday, HBO’s The Vow, Season 2, premiered.

Paul Serran will cover the docuseries directed by Karim Amer and Jihane Noujaim. Serran plans to cover it in depth.

I will provide behind-the-scenes observations of the people who put the series together and the people they filmed. There are many fascinating inside stories.

Karim, and his wife, Jihane, worked on Season 2 for over three years.

I have heard rumors from people trying to downplay the role Karim had in the production and direction of the Vow Season 2. These rumors are untrue.

Karim Amer

Karim was the lead director, conducted interviews, arranged access to various people who appeared, and was the final decision-maker on every inch of the production. The Vow Season 2 is the work of Karim more than anyone.

Other than myself, Karim was the only person to secure an interview with Raniere before his sentencing, which he filmed for the Vow Season 2. So those who think Karim’s role was negligible are misguided.

In a later post, we will get into the behind-the-scenes, which NXIVM rabbit-holers alone love.

Karim Amir and Jehane Noujaim

By Paul Serran

The new season of HBO’s documentary show ‘The Vow’ has hit TV screens worldwide, promising to delve into deeper and darker secrets of the fire-branding sex cult NXIVM. But has it?

Reviews reveal a mixed critical reception for the series. While some hail it as ‘an acute psychological portrait,’ others find it “a perfect demonstration of how precisely NOT to cover an important story like this.”

‘The Vow Part Two’ turns to Nxivm on trial in docu-sequel

Writing for CNN, Brian Lowry opines that while the series ‘gives viewers a front-row seat of the federal trial against founder Keith Raniere, it’s a more fragmented exercise that feels unduly stretched over six parts.’

Some aspects of the documentary seem controversial enough to Lowry, enough to make one physically sick.

‘A sense of queasiness also surrounds the interviews with those members who still profess their fealty to Raniere, conjuring alibis for his actions and Nxivm’s practice of leveraging collateral to exert dominance over its adherents.’

The structure also drew some criticism: the series ‘would have been better off devoting a couple episodes specifically to the trial and concluding with the verdicts […] before a protracted 90-minute finale that, post-trial, shifts to those still supporting their incarcerated leader, unwilling – or unable – to let go of the misguided sense of community Nxivm provided them.’

But the writer sees merits on the production, stating that ‘Warts and all, the totality of The Vow, including the earlier episodes, makes for fairly intoxicating viewing.

Nancy Salzman is featured prominently in the new season.

HBO’s The Vow Part Two Goes All In on Nancy Salzman

Joe Reid, writing for the Primetimer.com, notes that the directors could rely, this time, on a character ‘who was conspicuously absent the first time around: NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman.’

‘Salzman ends up being the most fascinating subject the show has encountered in two seasons; a woman who turned her back on Raniere after the federal charges came down — and who at the time of filming was being prosecuted herself — but still desperately wants to hold on to some sense of righteousness regarding the life’s work she put into NXIVM.’

Not all aspects of the series deserve the same praise from Reid, who writes that ‘the show’s attempts to document Keith Raniere’s villainy are once again marred by an overdetermined structure. For instance, crucial charges against him are saved for later episodes, which feels like pandering to an audience that’s hungry for shocking twists.’

The reviewer also believes that there is a bad ambivalence at play, here, stating that ‘[a] documentary shouldn’t make you work so hard to locate the moral and ethical ground upon which it stands’.

The Vow Season 2 Trailer: NXIVM's Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman Return – The Hollywood Reporter

Variety sees it as a crisp and clean psychological portrait of NXIVM and its leader.‘The Vow, Part Two’ Is a Riveting NXIVM Legal Saga, and an Improvement on Season 1: TV Review

Daniel D’Addario, writing for Variety, has perhaps the greatest appreciation for the new installment of The Vow, writing that Part Two ‘has a tighter focus that benefits its storytelling.’

D’Addario finds that it is ‘crisper and cleaner than The Vow’s first iteration; as psychological portrait, little in the nonfiction space of late matches its acuity.’

‘In all, this series builds upon and improves upon the work the franchise had already done — and stands out, too.’

After praising the ‘compassion’ used to portray the people who still support Raniere and of NXIVM, the reviewer has a poignant point to make about the story: ‘The first tragedy of NXIVM — the first of many tragedies, perhaps — was in the harm it did to the women it scarred and starved and isolated from themselves. The next, harder story is of the women who recall it with fondness.’

The Vow Season 2: Can we Expect The Series This Year?

Some believe the series is misguided, and this part 2 ‘unnecessary’.

‘The Vow, Part Two’ Review: NXIVM and Keith Raniere Get Put Under an Inadequate Microscope

Chase Hutchinson, from The Collider, had some tough perspective on the validity of the HBO series: ‘You’d be better off watching the far superior [Starz series] Seduced instead of this unnecessary extension of an already misguided docuseries.’

While she admits the Part 2 season’s execution is a bit more focused at brief moments, Hutchinson writes that ‘the experience of watching the six-episode The Vow, Part Two is all too familiar in how frequently off-target it feels. While sporadically gesturing at deeper ideas, it never makes a compelling case for its length or much of what it decides to focus on.’

This reviewer also notes that the series structure is problematic and distorted to provide shock value, stating that ‘it withheld context and key information for the purposes of luring audiences in, under the guise of editing in a manner that obscured the full picture of what was actually playing out in the cult.’

‘[T]he same approach of leaving much of the real horrors for the finale so that viewers will keep tuning in. Every single episode ends on a forced and artificial cliffhanger that eschews substance for a more showy sensibility.

The Vow' Season 2 First Look: NXIVM's Keith Raniere Heads to Court - Variety
Maybe the hardest criticism is: there is nothing new.

One hard blow to the entertainment value of this series for knowledgeable viewers, like the readers of the Frank Report: ‘Almost everything that is revealed is what we’ve already known.’

‘Nowhere in this docuseries do we hear from any outside experts’, Hutchinson adds, ‘to even lightly push back on those like Salzman, who gets to make one dubious claim after another.’

And here we have the coup de grace: ‘It all ends up feeling like the series is toeing dangerously close to drinking the Kool-Aid being professed by many of those in NXIVM. At the very least, it gives subjects a huge audience, yet doesn’t ever approach robust journalism or incisive documentary filmmaking. It isn’t illuminating or informative, prioritizing superficial entertainment over anything else.’


Long and boring? Tightly focused? Pandering for shock? Intoxicating view? Morally ambivalent? An improvement on the franchise? Unnecessary and misguided? A stand out work?

The new HBO series about the multi-level marketing scheme turned sex-cult has failed to generate a predominantly good reaction from the critics. Maybe it’s only natural given the enormous amount of products about this same story. Maybe the series really ain’t that good. In the end, the audience is the one who gets to decide the fate of this documentary series.

How about you, what do you think about it?

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  • Why were those few charges filed against Raniere, Epstein and Maxwell relatively minor compared to all the major crimes they committed? Was there no evidence of blackmail in all three cases?

    Were so few relatively minor charges filed against Raniere, Epstein and Maxwell because three properly prosecuted cases would have otherwise presented MASSIVE implications for national and world affairs?

    All three cases involved so many influential people and such vast networks. So much more time should have been spent on investigation and prosecution. Instead here we are — just as we were before: on the brink of every disaster and absolute dolts still run the entire world.

    Why aren’t more people asking officials real questions? Are so many so asleep or so afraid?

    Why bother watching any documentary that barely skims the surface of such blatant corruption among so many bureaucrats and government officials?

    • Frank. Can you research/expose the political and law enforcement connections and corruption/influence of Executive Success Programs and the top ppl involved?

          • A Question that one day may be answered. But he flipped. Flipped midstream and went hard on doing Bronfman bidding.

          • “… In the book Introduction to Scientology Ethics, the “bible” of scientology “ethics and justice technology,” Hubbard lists the following as High Crimes (there are hundreds of transgressions listed in the book, High Crimes are the very worst category that can result in being excommunicated from scientology):

            Delivering up the person of a Scientologist without defense or protest to the demands of civil or criminal law.

            Reporting or threatening to report Scientology or Scientologists to civil authorities in an effort to suppress Scientology or Scientologists from practicing or receiving standard Scientology.

            Public statements against Scientology or Scientologists but not to Committees of Evidence duly convened.

            Bringing civil suit against any Scientology Organization or Scientologist including the non-payment of bills or failure to refund without first calling the matter to the attention
            of the International Justice Chief and receiving a reply.

            As I have said, these things are to be read and followed exactly. The plain language leaves no room for doubt. Though scientology claims it “has no policy against reporting crimes,” these words from Hubbard make clear it is exactly what they demand from their members. Of course, if challenged they will claim “this is how we interpret the language” and know that no court can second guess their “interpretation.” …”


  • I want to know about the current iteration of cult that has formed in Mexico. With Rainbow Cultural Gardens still operating in the country, It’d be a shame not to shed some light on that situation.

  • Is Lauren Salzman (aka the one that got away!) going to be featured at all in the documentary? Or is Sarah E still protecting her? Even after Lauren lied, coerced and manipulated Sarah. Crazy how she got off scott free.

    • Hardly scot free. She was the key prosecution witness that went on fir days with months of discussion prep and received brutal treatment from the defense

      • Maybe she should have gotten prison time, but I don’t know. She took a plea. She expressed a lot of remorse. I think her testimony is what destroyed the defense. She’s on probation so it’s not as if she got off scot-free. Allison Mack probably got time because she was consciously sex trafficking people, consciously sending collaterized women to have sex with Keith, whereas I don’t think Lauren was doing that.

        Maybe if Keith Raniere had taken a plea he would have gotten less time!

  • It will be interesting to see how Nancy Salzman attempts to sell herself and rehabilitate her image here, but I would not trust one thing out of her mouth. She was as manipulative and money hungry as Raniere and saved herself at all costs. She didn’t have the sex motivations, but she had her own and I don’t buy the whole “save the world” narrative. She’s a run of the mill Narcissist.

  • NPR made a great point asking “where is the money??” There had to have been more hidden stash all over the place. Does the trail end in Mexico? I would think the FBI traced the obvious people- family members, etc and apparently the path led no where. Or was catching vanguard just worth so much more than any laundered money at this point?

      • Unlikely. The Morganville family has had nothing to do with her for 15 + years. Mutual disdain. There is no other family that she ever referred to

      • Not a smart comment this is a public forum. There’s a been a bunch of these mentions of the family and where they live. . If you’re giving a credible tip, the feds will know and would have found it. And you can be implicated too for not appropriately reporting it to the right place if it’s credible. Dumb gossip to play games with

  • It didn’t benefit the dead-enders to be so art directed. Their careful hair & make-up, flattering lighting and generally curated verson of themselves undercuts any immediacy & authenticity in their interviews. Feels very staged. Incredibly self-concious.

    Season 1 was more here’s our tired faces, blemished skin, red eyes, off camera clothes and hair. Which also made it more fly on the wall and real seeming.

    The interviews with the dead-enders are very rehearsed, self-edited performances. More total candor would result in possibly more understanding and empathy. It’s too agenda driven obvious in all ways with the dead-enders.

    Folliw-up questions or anything different or unexpected that coaxed out real voices would have (kind of ironically) helped the dead-enders more than their same old canned patter and spiel.

    But it’s early. We shall see!

    • JMHO, except for Nicki Clyne, none of those women are professional actresses. If their “performances” seem off, it’s because they’re not actually performers, and they don’t know how to play to a camera because they haven’t done this before.

      The haggard, toned down appearances of the season one “protagonists” was staged to look the way it did to make you feel the way you felt, courtesy of a professional actress and filmmaker.

      • Yeah, seems more like a “show” than a documentary series, wouldn’t you say, Notkevinicki? Bit of a stretch to describe NC as a ‘professional actress’ though – a little too Z-list methinks. Sounds to me that it’s just overly produced.

      • Okkkkaaay “Kevin”.

        You know EVERYTHING


        We were asked our opinion on the first episode. But didn’t ask for your opinion on the opinion.

        Go fantasize about shitting in total stranger’s mug.

  • Daily Mail

    Aldi considers selling edible INSECTS to help families through the cost-of-living crisis
    Aldi is considering introducing a line of edible insect recipe kits in its UK stores
    The cost of Living Crisis has prompted the supermarket to look at new foods
    Channel 4 running ‘Aldi’s Next Big Thing’ which will hear from bug farmers
    Aaron Thomas and Leo Taylor hope their ‘Yum Bug’ products will be successful

    PUBLISHED: 12:04 BST, 19 October 2022 | UPDATED: 14:25 BST, 19 October 2022


    Major UK Supermarket Chain Planning To Sell Bugs As Food To Help Poor People Through Winter
    FRIDAY, OCT 21, 2022 – 11:00 AM

    A major supermarket chain in the UK is finalising plans to stock insects on its shelves and market them as a cheap food source for people struggling to afford to feed their families amid soaring inflation and the cost of living crisis.


    • My first consumption of insects was when I ate a bowl of maggots and oatmeal. The maggots and the oatmeal were white. I didn’t notice until my third bowl. I found the meal incredibly energizing. Yet, somehow, I never got around the repeating the experience.

  • [translation]
    Jehane Noujaim, the director of “The Oath,” looks to let the documentary series about the NXIVM cult speak for itself
    “The Oath: Part II” premiered on HBO Max on Oct. 17, 2022, two years after the release of its first part, and the director in charge gave more details about this one
    Alejandra Perez Martinez

    Alejandra Pérez Martínez
    October 21, 2022

    In 2019, a scandal came to light about an organization called NXIVM – It advertised itself as a multi-level marketing organization offering personal and professional development courses and seminars – that ultimately turned out to be a sex trafficking, slavery and organized crime cult. Because of this, the name of an American actress who was part of Smallville (an adaptation of Superman) came to light. Her name is Allison Mack. Of course, this story had to be told, so in 2020 The Vow was released, which was directed by Egyptian-American filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim.

    On October 17, the second part of said production called The Vow: Part II premiered on HBO Max. According to the streaming platform, in this continuation of the story Moira Penza and Marc Agnifilo (renowned trial lawyers in the US) will be seen preparing for the trial after Keith Rainiere’s arrest. Similarly, “DOS members Nicki Clyne and Michele Hatchette offer a different perspective on NXIVM, while Nancy Salzman, under house arrest, is set to speak.” Infobae was alone with Jehane Noujaim who spoke in more depth about this exploratory work.

    Talking with Noujaim, it is possible to know what it means for her to be part of a project as relevant to society as The Vow has been, to which she made known that all the films she gets to work on have different meanings throughout her life. With the story around NXIVM was special, since he did not imagine the impact it would have. At first it was just about showing the experience of a woman trying to get her husband out of an organization, because she believed something was wrong with the structure. But then they discovered shocking revelations about sexual abuse, among other related crimes.

    You may be interested in: The most watched titles this week on HBO Max that you shouldn’t miss.
    “It’s like being in a war, because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. We didn’t know there would be a sequel when we started. We didn’t know Keith Rainiere would be arrested, we didn’t know there would be someone who would end up staying in a room for two years; we didn’t know any of that. So as the story unfolded, I thought it was very important to follow it in a truthful way, because I think it gives a glimpse of humanity in relation to what happens when a group of people pursue a utopian ideology,” said the director.

    After the release of The Vow: Part II, what reactions do you expect from the audience?

    I hope people come out of the documentary and really think about how they relate to each other. The extraordinary thing about the story of The Oath is that it invites people to ask big questions about our society and about ourselves; because the easy thing to do is to look at a group of people and think they were just stupid or not smart enough. But the reality is that there were very smart people – even Harvard and Stanford graduates – who became part of this thinking they would change the world. That got me interested in seeing how many human beings came to be manipulated in that way.

    You may be interested in: HBO Max in October: “Un crimen argentino”, season 2 of “The White Lotus” and more premieres.
    In the second part of the documentary, what did you find now that you had the opportunity to listen to the co-founder of the sect, Nancy Salzman?

    Listening to Nancy Salzman fascinated me; plus what she had been through before she met Keith. As a nurse, she had spent years working with human potential. So, knowing that someone like her had this kind of background, how does she decide to join an organization with a man who has been abusing people? That had me fascinated to sit down with her, in order to hear what happened.

    Listening to Nancy Salzman fascinated me; plus what she had been through before she met Keith. A nurse, she had spent years working with human potential. So, knowing that someone like her had this kind of background, how does she decide to join an organization with a man who has been abusing people? That had me fascinated to sit down with her, in order to hear what happened.

    Noujaim further explained that it took a year for Salzman to agree to talk about it. That, because they had the opportunity to meet before – when they had invited her to take a class in 2009 – and Salzman immediately identified her as the person who was making a film that ultimately destroyed their organization. However, she revealed that when the NXIVM co-founder agreed to sit down with her, she expounded the following, “I want to be honest with you. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know where I stand. A lot of this information is a big shock to me. So I’m currently going through and reevaluating everything I think.”

    That excited the Egyptian-American filmmaker because, she says, it was being able to follow someone who was going through the process of questioning herself and her decisions. “Personally, I think you learn a lot more from the bad decisions you make. I was fascinated to sit down and follow her”; asserted Jehane.

    What message do you have for all the people who want to watch The Oath Part 2?

    I think it’s very important to understand the mindset behind the events of the trial that took place. And the only way to understand it is to look at the ecosystem of manipulation that we tend to want in our society, because we are living in a tear-down culture; especially in the United States. The culture of tearing down and the culture of cancellation, singling people out as good or bad; and that’s not reality.

    For Jehane Noujaim, the tricky part of this trial is trying to find where the responsibility lies in an ecosystem when everyone is part of it. “It’s not just about the key, so going into the second season, the hope is that we’re honoring the nuances and looking at the complications. I hope that we think of this story as a microcosm of our world and that we start talking more and listening more to the people we disagree with. I would like the documentary film to speak for itself and let the truth shine through”; he finished.

    For the moment, The Vow: Part II premiered on October 17 on HBO Max, and the first part of the documentary is also available from 2020. Don’t miss them!

  • Infobae

    Jehane Noujaim, la directora de “El juramento”, busca que la serie documental sobre la secta NXIVM hable por sí misma
    “El juramento: parte II” estrenó en HBO Max el 17 de octubre de 2022, dos años después del lanzamiento de su primera parte, y la directora encargada dio más detalles sobre este

    Por Alejandra Pérez Martínez
    21 de Octubre de 2022


  • Karen Heggen talks campaign with News10
    Posted: Oct 20, 2022 / 04:44 PM EDT, Updated: Oct 20, 2022 / 04:44 PM EDT

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the November general election just days away, News10 is speaking with the candidates for office. One local race on the ballot, Saratoga County District Attorney.

    Republican incumbent Karen Heggen is trying to keep her seat. She is going up against democrat and independent under the title justice and public safety, Michael Phillips.

    Heggen told News10 she wants to continue the good work her office has done the last four years. “Saratoga County has one of the lowest crime rates in the state of New York, we by far have the lowest crime rate in the Capital District,” said Heggen. She adds, “I do that in coordination with the great leadership of law enforcement, from our county sheriff.”

    Heggen sat down to discuss the law enforcement issues facing Saratoga County.

    Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


    Michael Phillips talks campaign with News10
    Posted: Oct 19, 2022 / 01:25 PM EDT, Updated: Oct 19, 2022 / 01:25 PM EDT

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the November general election just days away, News10 is speaking with some of the candidates for office. Among the races for Congress and state offices, is a contest for Saratoga County District Attorney.

    Michael Phillips is trying to unset the current D.A. Karen Heggen. He is running as a democrat and independent under the title Justice and Public Safety.

    Phillips said the homeless issue in Saratoga Springs is one of his top priorities. He believes there could be solutions as long as everyone works together.

    “We’re obviously dealing with a mental health issue here,” said Phillips. He adds, “there are tremendous resources in law enforcement, there are creative people there.”

    Phillips said the solutions will come with the correct leadership and an active district attorney, which he claims he intends to do.

    Phillips sat down with News10 to discuss other issues facing Saratoga County.

    Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  • Times Union

    Accusations fly in Saratoga County’s historic DA race
    Phillips blames Heggen for NXIVM, while Heggen says he’s unqualified

    Wendy Liberatore, Oct. 21, 2022, Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 9:31 a.m.

    SARATOGA SPRINGS — The race for Saratoga County District Attorney is making history as it’s the first contested race for that office in at least 50 years. History aside, candidates, incumbent Republican Karen Heggen and Democrat Michael Phillips, have landed squarely in today’s divisive political arena with the two veteran attorneys arguing that their opponent is either unqualified or unaccountable.

    In recent Times Union interviews and in a recent debate in Saratoga Springs, Heggen contends a vote for her is a vote for experience and that Phillips “doesn’t understand the job.” Phillips, an attorney with the state Department of Health, says a vote for him is a vote for excellence and that Heggen isn’t holding criminals accountable.

    “I have been involved in over 50 felony jury trials,” said Heggen, who was elected in 2014 as the first female district attorney in the county. “When I ask my opponent, at our recent debate, to describe a felony trial he had, he could not, in my opinion, articulate his involvement in any way.”

    Phillips said in her tenure in office, Heggen has grown soft on crime. He cited several cases including a recent plea deal for a Saratoga Springs man who caused the death of a retired corrections officer. The defendant pleaded guilty to assault and will likely only see three years in jail. Most egregious, Phillips said, was her inaction against the well-funded NXIVM cult in Halfmoon that branded women.

    “She is clearly soft on sexual predators and violent criminals,” Phillips said. “These (NXIVM) crimes were committed in Clifton Park and Halfmoon. That is clearly Saratoga County, that’s clearly the district attorney’s jurisdiction and that is the only place she ever worked. Where was she? … Where was she when they were branding women?”

    Heggen, who is 59, said it wasn’t her job.

    “He is demonstrating he is not understanding the scope and jurisdiction of the office of Saratoga County District Attorney when he is asserting that this office should have gone after NXIVM,” she said. “It took the largest U.S. attorney’s offices in the entire United States multiple years because it was a federal racketeering case with crimes occurring all over not just New York state but other states and countries for multiple years. They got the right results. The man (leader Keith Raniere) is serving over 100 years.”

    She said her focus is on the county, which she calls one of the safest in the state.

    “I have handled or been involved in cases involving the entire spectrum of the penal law,” Heggen said. “I tried every kind of case, from low level violations in local courts where I have appeared throughout the county all the way through homicide and kidnapping cases. I have the knowledge and experience to use the discretion given to the district attorney to balance the interest in justice for all involved.”

    She offered a long list of convictions in her eight years in office including Georgios Kakavelos, sentenced to life without parole in the for his part in the death of a 22-year-old whistleblower who worked for him; Arthur Gannon of Corinth who was sentenced to 69 years for sexually abusing girls and Wilfredo Diaz, who got 25 years to life for a brutal assault.

    But Phillips points to another case of a Greenfield man, an alleged repeat pedophile who is accused of raping an 11-year-old girl for whom a bail application was approved by her office. The man remains in the community.

    “It’s unexplainable,” he said. “The county court judge gave the district attorney several opportunities to object to a bail application. Why didn’t she do it? … Prosecutors hold people accountable. (Heggen) needs to be held accountable for her performance.”

    When asked about the matter, Heggen repeated her assertion that Phillips doesn’t comprehend the job.

    “He doesn’t understand that a pending case, as a prosecutor, you’re ethically prohibited from talking about a pending matter,” she said.

    As for being unqualified, Phillips said she is misrepresenting his experience and that he has worked both as a defense attorney and, with the Department of Health, prosecuted nursing home mismanagement.

    “I bring a breadth of experience in the private sector, prosecutorial, criminal defense, organizational leadership,” said Phillips who is 65. “I’m an accomplished professional and I think an actively engaged district attorney who can apply creative skills, think outside the box and can make a big difference in the county of 229,000 people.”

    Phillips said that his experience includes training in Six Sigma, a technique he learned while working a General Electric. He said the tools her learned will help him to create a district attorney’s office that would be a center of excellence.

    “I would like to do is bring some of my MBA background and GE management into the office and adopt best practices from across the state and country,” Phillips said. “That is where the term center of excellence comes from.”

    Heggen, who is paid $200,000 annually, said her office is already a center for excellence where her staff has won awards and gone onto to advance their careers at the state and at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which Heggen said is the “pinnacle of a prosecutor’s work.”

    “He talks about wanting to create a center of excellence for prosecution,” Heggen said. “But I submit to you, it exists right now. … The attorneys in my office have been recognized both locally and throughout the state for their ability and experience and qualities as attorneys.”

    Heggen, who lives in Malta, also said she wants a third four-year term to finish her work navigating criminal justice reforms while transitioning to a paperless office, something started during the pandemic.

    “I am moving the process and system forward in an enhanced way to become more and more efficient,” Heggen said.

    Phillips, a Marine veteran, said his priorities would be to create a veteran’s treatment court to serve the county’s estimated 18,000 veterans.

    “There are 38 veteran treatment courts in New York state,” Phillips said, There is no reason Saratoga County does not already have one.”

    Heggen said that was not necessary as veterans can access the county’s general treatment court.

    Phillips, who lives on Saratoga Lake, said the race is an uphill battle as enrolled Republicans outnumber Democrats, 64,356 to 52,966, according to figures from the state Board of Elections. However, the Republicans do not hold the majority of the county voters, who total 178,140.

    Phillips said that he wanted to give Republicans a place to vote for him, thus he has gathered signatures for a second ballot line, Justice and Public Safety.

    Phillips has also outraised Heggen, bringing in more than $45,000 in since Jan. 1, while Heggen has raised $13,000.

    Meanwhile, Phillips wants to participate in a second debate with Heggen. He told the League of Women Voters he was available for every date that the organizations offered. However, Susan Hamlin, a member of the league’s Steering Committee, said Heggen has not responded to their requests for a forum. Heggen, whom Phillips is accusing of hiding from the public who offers up the for questions for the forum, said she doesn’t have a date.

    “This is a grassroots campaign,” Phillips said. “It’s been tremendously invigorating experience. I’ve been knocking on doors since January. … We are giving people a choice. It’s exhilarating.”


    Note: This story was updated on Friday morning.

    Written By
    Wendy Liberatore

    Wendy Liberatore covers communities in Saratoga County. Prior to joining the Times Union, she wrote features on the arts and dance for the Daily Gazette, Saratoga Living and the Saratogian. She also worked for magazines in Westchester County and was an education reporter with the Bronxville Review-Press and Reporter. She can be reached at wliberatore@timesunion.com, or 518-491-0454 or 518-454-5445.

    • Re DA Karen Heggen & NXIVM:

      I find the fact that DA Heggen claims it was not her responsibility to go after NXIVM ridiculous and disgusting.

      What’a cunt!

      Thanks again for posting this.

  • Well i watch everthing read everthing it probably because for years this was going on right under us on knoxwoods i think it been good so far

    • As far as I know, Karim is not dodging credit. He IS the Vow. For much of the filming, his wife was in Egypt.

      Karim directed the Vow Season 2. His wife is a fine and elegant person, very high class. But she just wasn’t around for much of the filming. From my personal knowledge and from what I was told by everyone who I worked with in the production, Karim made all the final decisions on the direction. And everyone knew it.

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