Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis held a hearing today on the status of Nancy Salzman’s health – in response to her lawyer’s motion for a sentence reduction to accommodate Salzman’s emergent health matters.
Salzman’s attorneys asked the judge to shorten her sentence to provide for her immediate release from prison.
Salzman, 68, appeared by telephone from FCI Hazelton in West Virginia.
An assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Salzman’s attorney, believed to be Robert A. Soloway of Rothman Schneider Soloway and Stern LLP was present in the courtroom.
Appearing remotely by telephone or video conference were Giancarlo Martinez, an attorney for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP); Phillip Boch Jr., the Acting Director of Health Services Administration at Hazelton, and Dr. Gregory S. Mims II, the Clinical Director at Hazelton.
Martinez told Judge Garaufis that Salzman is scheduled for an MRI within the next 30 days.
An MRI [Magnetic Resonance Imaging] aids physicians to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions, including tumors, injuries, infections, and diseases affecting the brain, spine, joints, and other parts of the body.
Salzman had breast cancer, first diagnosed in 2017. She announced her diagnosis at the final Vanguard Week in August 2017.
The DOJ filed an indictment against her in July 2018. Several months later, during her prosecution, she was excused from status conferences due to illness.
In the fall of 2018, Salzman reportedly had a double radical mastectomy.
Salzman, the president of NXIVM, and known to followers as the Prefect, was the first to take a plea deal among the six defendants charged in the NXIVM case.
At her sentencing. she repudiated Keith Raniere, and Judge Garaufis sentenced her to 42 months. She entered FCI Hazelton on February 21, 2022.
The BOP currently lists her release date as July 17, 2024 – one year from today.
In May, Salzman’s lawyers requested the judge release Salzman due to illness, and claimed the BOP denied her “necessary medical care.”
They provided the judge with a “description and analysis of Ms. Salzman’s prior medical history, current medical status, medical records, and expert opinions, including exhibits,” which were filed under seal.
In the hearing today, the BOP told Judge Garaufis that Salzman is scheduled for release on September 7, 2023, to either a Residential Reentry Center [halfway house] or home confinement under the federal First Step Act.
The BOP admitted the September 7 date may change.
Uncomfortable with that answer, Judge Garaufis directed the US Attorney or the BOP to provide him with a “definitive statement” whether Salzman will be released on September 7 and whether she will be sent to home confinement or a Residential Reentry Center.
Showing concern for Salzman’s proper medical treatment, and to help him determine if he should intervene by reducing her sentence, Judge Garaufis directed the BOP or the DOJ to inform him if the BOP does not arrange for Salzman to get an MRI within 30 days.
Typically, when MRIs are indicated, especially in cases of suspected serious and life-threatening illness, they are scheduled and performed without delay.
In addition, Judge Garaufis directed the BOP or the DOJ to advise him of the MRI results as soon as the results have been read and reported to the BOP.
Judge Garaufis has the authority to reduce her sentence and consequently authorize her immediate release.
He scheduled a status conference on Salzman’s health on September 6, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. in his courtroom.
What this appears to mean is as follows:
Salzman is, or reported she is, ill to the prison doctor. She may have a return of cancer.
The BOP physician at Hazelton prescribed an MRI. The prison approved her leave from prison – under guard, handcuffed and shackled – to get an MRI, on a date uncertain, but, as they told the judge, sometime in the next 30 days.
The judge has not decided to shorten her sentence, since the BOP has indicated she may be released in 52 days. His decision might be influenced by the results of the MRI and whether Salzman will be allowed to go home or to a halfway house.
In short, Judge Garaufis is monitoring Salzman’s health condition and appears ready to intervene if he feels it necessary to expedite her release to get proper medical care.
His order directing the BOP to inform him if Salzman does not get an MRI within 30 days suggests he will intervene if there is a delay.
Whether Salzman goes to a halfway house – as would be likely if she was not ill – or home confinement – may depend on the results of her MRI.
Judge Garaufis sentenced six NXIVM defendants – five of whom took plea deals. He sentenced Kathy Russell and Lauren Salzman to probation. He sentenced Allison Mack to 36 months – she served 22 months. The BOP released her from FCI Dublin on July 3.
The judge, citing her continued loyalty to Keith Raniere, sentenced Clare Bronfman to 81 months – triple the sentencing guidelines for her offenses. The BOP assigned her to the Philadelphia Detention Center. Bronfman is scheduled for release June 29, 2025 – slightly less than two years from now.
The judge sentenced Keith Raniere to 120 years. His release date is June 27, 2120. The former Vanguard of NXIVM will be 160 years, 4 months, and 5 days old if he serves his entire term.
Following his release, Judge Garaufis sentenced Raniere to five years probation, during which he may not associate with any of his NXIVM acolytes or devotees.