Lauren Salzman is making a comeback, it appears.
On Facebook, Lauren posted, along with a new picture of herself, what is believed to be a Maya Angelou quote: “Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? … You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
She also quotes Gandhi: “There is a higher court than courts of justice, and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.”
And in semi-jest, “Be strong, I whisper to my coffee.”
Lauren also appears to have a new look.
It could be the great relief of being past the years-long ordeal of the indictment, arrest, cooperating with the prosecution in the federal case against Keith Raniere and her testimony that told her story of 20 years with the NXIVM leader, that makes her look buoyant.
It was a long ordeal.
She was with Raniere during his apprehension in Mexico in March 2018. a story she told vividly on the witness stand.
In 2019, Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges, testified against Raniere, and assisted prosecutors.
Lauren Salzman goes to court in 2019.
During the 2019 trial of Raniere, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis halted Lauren’s cross-examination by Raniere attorney Marc Agnifilo when she began sobbing while in the middle of an answer about her intent to harm other women in DOS.
The judge said he stopped the testimony because he worried this “broken woman” might have a complete breakdown. He also explained that Salzman might have unraveled her plea deal by confessing she had no bad intentions when she was active in DOS.
After her conviction, Lauren, the Director of Education for NXIVM, changed careers to become a dog groomer.
In the lead-up to her sentencing, prosecutors urged Judge Garaufis to consider a lesser sentence due to her help to prosecutors in the case against Raniere.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Hajjar wrote: “The extent of Lauren Salzman’s cooperation and the significance of her assistance to the government were extraordinary.”
The DOJ also wrote that, as a cooperating witness, Salzman “answered all the government’s questions, including questions about crimes she committed, as well as criminal activity engaged in by her close friends and family members, including her mother.”
In Lauren’s sentencing memorandum her lawyers explained that she has now renounced Raniere and sees the mistakes and harm she has done.
Her lawyers extolled her work in dog grooming, writing that Lauren’s colleagues in the field “embraced Lauren and her mistakes with open arms.”
Her sentencing guidelines were seven to nine years.
Prior to her sentencing, FR advocated for her to get probation, though, with her sentencing guidelines, the odds might have been against it.
No prison. Call it a symbol of hope, a chance to allow a broken woman the dignity of hope not for a new life for she will always be known for her association with Raniere but for a chance at making the argument stick that bad as it was – she shifted – and turned on the evil – when the scales fell off her eyes….
The mob doesn’t care. This is not Allison Mack. No one will really care if she goes to prison or not, and no one will not be deterred from a life of similar crimes if Lauren grooms dogs instead of sits in a cell.
In July 2021, Judge Garaufis sentenced Lauren to five years of probation and 300 hours of community service.
He mentioned her work as a dog groomer, a work that requires care and compassion, as one of his reasons for giving her probation.
Raniere unsuccessfully appealed the aborting of her cross-examination with the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
He is now petitioning the US Supreme Court to hear his argument, which is founded on the 6th Amendment’s right of the confrontation clause, that it is not the judge’s role to protect plea bargains from probing through cross-examination, that cross-examination is not the same as direct examination, and that
Raniere had every right to impeach Salzman, her tears notwithstanding.
About 1 percent of cases are heard by the Supreme Court of those who petition.
In any event, Lauren is, to the extent that she can be, free from the pain of her prosecution and notoriety. She deserves a second chance.