The heiress of the Seagrams fortune, Clare Bronfman, is set to make an appearance in federal court in New York City on Wednesday to learn her fate in a bizarre case involving her financially supporting the leader of a cult.
The cult in question and its now disgraced leader Keith Raniere have been accused of turning members of the group into sex slaves as well as financially exploiting them.
As Fox News reports:
Seagram’s liquor fortune heiress Clare Bronfman is due to appear on Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn. The stakes are high: Her lawyers want a judge to give her three years probation instead of prison time while prosecutors say she deserves five years behind bars.
The 41-year-old Bronfman admitted in a guilty plea last year that she harbored someone who was living in the U.S. illegally for unpaid “labor and services” and that she committed credit card fraud on behalf of Raniere, leader of the group called NXIVM.
In a letter to the court last month, Bronfman wrote that she “never meant to hurt anyone, however I have and for this I am deeply sorry.” Still, she said that she couldn’t disavow Raniere because “NXIVM and Keith greatly changed my life for the better.”
At trial, prosecutors told jurors the 60-year-old Raniere’s organization, NXIVM — pronounced NEHK-see-uhm — operated like a cult whose members called him “Vanguard.” To honor him, the group formed a secret sorority comprised of brainwashed female “slaves” who were branded with his initials and forced to have sex with him, the prosecutors said.
Clare Bronfman devoted her life to Nxivm, which unraveled over accusations that it was a pyramid scheme and a sex-trafficking cult. On Wednesday, she'll be sentenced. https://t.co/kbIeVb7PmZ
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 28, 2020