The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today rejected Clare Bronfman’s appeal seeking to reduce her 81-month sentence.
Bronfman, 43, claimed her sentence, which was 54 months above the high end of the applicable Guidelines range. was procedurally unreasonable.
She will not get out of prison early, as she hoped. Her current release date is June 14, 2026. She will be 47.
Bronfman is currently assigned to FCI Danbury, a low security prison. She recently settled a lawsuit with the Bureau of Prisons to remove her public safety factor designation, and is eligible for assignment to a federal prison camp.
In April 2019, Bronfman pleaded guilty to two felony counts before her codefendant Keith Raniere’s trial. Bronfman pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to conceal, harbor, and shield from detection one or more aliens for financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. and unlawful transfer and use of a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit and in connection with attempted tax evasion
The advisory Guidelines sentencing range was 21 to 27 months imprisonment.
Bronfman argued Judge Garaufis erred by relying on a “clearly erroneous finding”—that Bronfman was aware of, or willfully blind to, Raniere’s abuses in DOS.
The three judge appeals’ court panel ruled, “The District Court explicitly stated that it ‘agree[d] with Ms. Bronfman that the available evidence does not establish that she was aware of DOS prior to June 2017 or that she directly or knowingly funded DOS or other sex trafficking activities.’ It acknowledged, however, that her ‘crimes were not committed in a vacuum.’ And it found ‘ most troubling’ that when, in 2017, Bronfman was ‘confronted with information about DOS . . . she doubled down on her support of Raniere and pursued her now familiar practice of attacking his critics.’
After Bronfman learned about DOS in 2017, Bronfman issued a public statement in which “she falsely characterized DOS as a ‘sorority’ that ‘truly benefited the lives of its members.’”
Judge Garuafis stated Bronfman had a “pattern of willful blindness when it comes to Raniere.”
The judge acknowledge before sentencing her that Bronfman may not have known of DOS before 2017, [when Frank Report broke the news to the public] but, as Judge Garaufis said, “she did not want to know either.”
Bronfman argued the judge ignored disparities between her sentence and
the sentences imposed on her co-defendants—Mack, Lauren Salzman, and Kathy Russell—in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)( which requires a district court to consider “the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct.”
Mack got 3 years, Slazman and Russell got probation.
The 2nd Circuit wrote: “Bronfman’s conduct—before and after her indictment—readily distinguishes her from Mack, Salzman, and Russell, two of whom cooperated with the Government and received sentencing reductions.”
Bronfman argued that her 81-month sentence was excessive, because of statistics that showed that of 27 defendants convicted of the same crimes she committed, none received an above-Guidelines sentence.
Judge Garaufis said at her sentencing, “the context of Ms. Bronfman’s criminal conduct places her in an altogether different category from other defendants convicted of the same offenses.”
The 2nd Circuit ruled “we find that the District Court acted well within its discretion in arriving at its conclusion.”