Prosecutors want a federal judge to throw the book at Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman for her role as a high-ranking member of the Nxivm sex-slave cult — by sentencing her to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Although Bronfman’s non-binding plea deal calls for 21 to 27 months behind bars, in court papers filed Monday in Brooklyn, prosecutors say she deserves a “significant upward variance” that would double the maximum 30 months she faces under federal guidelines at her scheduled Sept. 30 sentencing.
“For years, Bronfman leveraged her colossal wealth to recruit individuals, often women with no legal status in the United States, into Nxivm-affiliated organizations,” prosecutors Tanya Hajjar and Mark Lesko wrote.
“Although she claimed to award ‘scholarships’ or present employment letters with the prevailing wage of a professional position, Bronfman had no intention of providing her victims with a living wage. Instead, she secured a work-force of individuals desperate to earn a living and dependent on her and on Nxivm and [cult leader] Keith Raniere for their continued legal status in the United States.”
The 127-page filing also says that Bronfman’s “unwavering support” of Raniere — who last year was found guilty as charged on seven counts, including racketeering and sex trafficking — “enabled him to perpetrate his crimes.”
“She paid for scores of lawyers and private investigators to pursue individuals she perceived to be critics of Raniere and to attempt to intimidate Raniere’s victims into silence,” prosecutors wrote.
Those targets included reporters, ex-girlfriends of Rainiere’s, former Nxivm members and lawyers, and “even federal judges,” they said.
Prosecutors also noted that following Raniere’s March 2018 arrest in Mexico, “Bronfman funded a criminal defense fund that paid for his legal fees and the fees of individuals subpoenaed by the government to appear before the grand jury” and “remains loyal to and supports Raniere to this day.”
Raniere is set for sentencing on Oct. 27, when prosecutors want him locked up for life due in part to “his total denial of culpability for the crimes of which he was convicted.”
Also awaiting sentencing in the case is former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, who tearfully pleaded guilty last year to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy for serving as a “first-line master” over slaves in a Nxivm sub-cult called DOS.
A sentencing date for Mack hasn’t been set.
In addition to getting slapped with extra prison time, prosecutors said Bronfman — who’s already forfeited $6 million and agreed to pay more than $96,000 in restitution — should be made to pay a fine far in excess of the recommended maximum of $95,000.
With a net worth of more than $210 million, prosecutors said there’s no question she can pay the “statutory maximum” of $500,000, and added the hefty amount was justified “in light of the seriousness of Bronfman’s crimes and the need for deterrence.”
“Bronfman did not commit these crimes out of need,” they wrote. “She is likely one of the most privileged and wealthy defendants to ever appear before this Court for sentencing.”
Prosecutors also ridiculed Bronfman’s request for a sentence of just three years’ probation on the grounds that being released to home confinement following her arrest amounted to “banishment from her home and entire community in Albany.”
“Many defendants are not able to post security sufficient to warrant pretrial release at all, and few are able to live in luxurious accommodations like Bronfman’s,” they wrote.
Court papers note that she spent her time in “a two-bedroom apartment in a full-service luxury building with concierge, fitness center and rooftop.”
The defense reply is due Sept. 22.
In response to the prosecution filing, Bronfman defense lawyer Duncan Levin said, “We have every confidence in the court to reach a just result.”
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