In a legal move to rectify her alleged unlawful prison assignment at the Federal Detention Center -Philadelphia, Clare Bronfman filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, asking U.S. District Court Judge Omar Williams to order the Bureau of Prisons [BOP] to explain why [show cause] the BOP should not transfer her to the prison camp at FCI Danbury, CT.
Bronfman’s petition for habeas corpus attempts to secure her transfer by challenging the BOP’s “sex offender” designation on her inmate file.
The sex offender designation disqualifies her for assignment to a prison camp.
Through her lawyers, Duncan Levin and Ronald Sullivan, Bronfman argues her present “unlawful detention” can be remedied if the BOP transferred her to the FCI Danbury camp.
The BOP has based its sex offender designation on its interpretation of Bronfman’s Presentence Report [PSR] prepared by the U.S. Probation Department before her sentencing in 2020.
Bronfman pleaded guilty in 2019 to one count of Conspiracy to Conceal and Harbor Aliens for Financial Gain and one count of Fraudulent Use of Identification.
While the sentencing guidelines were 21-27 months, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis sentenced her to triple the guidelines – 81 months – some 21 months longer than the DOJ recommended.
The PSR addendum notes that Bronfman objected to paragraph 14 because it “creates a false impression that the defendant was aware of or even a participant of DOS.”
The PSR has blended the crimes of her codefendant Keith Raniere as “relevant conduct” with the assumption that Bronfman was partly responsible because she funded Raniere.
From 2003 to 2018, Bronfman gave Raniere, NXIVM, and associated endeavors more than $100 million, making him a dangerous adversary and allowing his various schemes to take root.
In 2018, she put up more than $11 million in trust for Raniere and other NXIVM codefendants’ legal fees.
In 2019, a Brooklyn federal jury convicted Raniere of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, and two counts of sex trafficking.
Before her sentencing, Bronfman vigorously disputed she knew of or funded DOS or any sex trafficking Raniere engaged in.
Judge Garaufis said in her sentencing memorandum, “I agree with Ms. Bronfman that the available evidence does not establish that she was aware of DOS prior to June 2017 [when Frank Report broke the DOS story] or that she directly or knowingly funded DOS or other sex trafficking activities.”
Judge Garaufis added, “However, I do find it relevant that Ms. Bronfman seems to have a pattern of willful blindness when it comes to Raniere and his activities. As Lauren Salzman testified, ‘Ms. Bronfman didn’t want to know anything [about DOS] that she didn’t need to know.’ I find that testimony particularly credible because it would not be the first time that Ms. Bronfman exuded the sense that she wanted to participate in Raniere’s world while remaining unaware of its uglier aspects… Ms. Bronfman’s allegiance to Raniere shines through again and again.”
Judge Garaufis also said, “She maintains that she was an innocent bystander to Raniere’s abhorrent conduct, completely blind to Raniere’s crimes and the sex trafficking that occurred within the Nxivm community. As I have said, I find that any such blindness was willful and cultivated, and Ms. Bronfman’s sentence can and should serve to deter other people who find themselves in situations in which they can choose to either confront or avert their gaze from the harm wrought by their actions and the actions of those to whom they are close. ”
Bronfman’s PSR noted Raniere’s relationship with three Mexican sisters, Mariana, Daniela, and Camila, and suggested Bronfman enabled their recruitment and supported their abuse – including the sexual exploitation of a minor – Camila, when she was 15.
Bronfman objected to the BOP adopting the flawed language of the PSR in an administrative appeal to the BOP, claiming, among other things, she had nothing to do with the sisters’ recruitment and knew nothing about their abuse.
Through her legal counsel, Bronfman also filed a motion asking permission to seal her PSR and her defense counsel’s informal objections to the PSR.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis sealed these documents in 2020 during her criminal proceedings.
The BOP’s published release date for Bronfman is June 29, 2025.
Documents on file for the new case: