Nancy Salzman is in the clear.
She avoided being charged in the superseding indictment and is now working for the prosecution – against Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Kathy Russell and her own daughter, Lauren Salzman – who she recruited into Nxivm, then called Executive Success Programs, in 1998.
Why did Nancy take her plea deal a day before the superseding indictment came down?
It could be because she had cancer and is still on the long, hard, precarious road of recovery. The stress of a trial might have caused a fatal relapse.
It could have been to save her other daughter, Michelle, and son-in-law, Ben Myers, from indictment, though this seems less likely since no new defendants were named in the superseding indictment.
It was interesting that her attorneys, David Stern and Robert Soloway, did not tell other Nxivm defense team attorneys that Nancy flipped. The Albany Times Union reported that they found out about it from media reports.
It may not have been a surprise to them altogether. There were hints for months. Frank Report reported that Nancy was rumored to be seeking a plea deal since last September.
Most likely, Nancy’s plea deal was in the works for a while and possibly the superseding indictment was only awaiting Nancy’s guilty plea before being unsealed. It was unsealed on the same day Nancy pleaded guilty.
Perhaps the reason Nancy flipped when she did is contained in the superseding indictment itself. In the superseding, Keith Raniere is charged with possession of child porn. This is based on 10-year-old photographs/videos of a then-15-year-old Mexican girl, still in Nxivm and DOS, whose name I am currently withholding.
Possibly for the safety of the public, she deserves to be named, despite being an alleged sex crime victim, for this 15-year-old girl grew up to be one of Raniere’s First Line DOS Slave Masters – tasked with recruiting women into the sex trafficking cult that brands and blackmails women. She was the woman he famously asked to find him “Fuck toys” to keep him energized.
She also happens to be the sister of the woman who was confined to her room for 18 months – and she aided and abetted in her sister’s imprisonment.
Kristin Keeffe brought up the fact that this girl was possibly having sex with Keith in a conversation recorded by Barbara Bouchey and filed with NY State Supreme Court in 2015 in connection with the bogus computer trespassing case against Bouchey.
Several years earlier, in an explosive post made by someone using the moniker “the Rat”, readers of John Tighe’s blog, Saratoga In Decline, learned that this girl and her sisters were possibly victims of Raniere’s sex crimes – and that Pam Cafritz aided and abetted Keith – and that their then underage brother took pornographic photos or videos of his sisters at Keith Raniere’s command.
Apropos of that, I suspect that Nancy may have taken her plea deal because of the images of t15-year-old old girl the feds found.
Where did they find it? I suspect the Feds found this child porn evidence of the 15-year-old girl on one of the 80 devices seized at Nancy’s house during their raid on March 27, 2018. If child porn was found at Nancy’s house, she might have been charged with possessing child porn – just like Raniere.
She might have leaped from facing 3-5 years to 15 years or more – with the flick of a pen on a superseding indictment. Maybe this was the tipping point that induced Nancy to plead guilty.
Perhaps Nancy tried to persuade Lauren to hop aboard the plea deal bus. Lauren does not seem to be there. Maybe Lauren will wise up and make a deal sooner rather than later.
A legal expert with experience in federal plea deals believes Lauren can craft a deal not dissimilar to her mother’s – with possibly just a year longer sentence.
“Each successive plea deal will be a little bit worse. The first one to make a deal usually gets the best deal,” he said.
Lauren could likely wangle a deal in the 3.5-year to 4-year range in prison, if she acts soon. Timing is critical and each plea deal will be worse for the defendants who choose not to go to trial.
Another legal expert said he believes Nancy will not go to prison.
He told Frank Report that if Nancy testifies truthfully for the prosecution, they will argue at her sentencing – which will take place after the trial – that the judge should make a “downward departure” from sentencing guidelines.
Nancy pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, which comes with a maximum 20 year sentence. She will not get the maximum. Sentencing guidelines – which the judge is free to depart from – call for a sentence of 33 – to 41 months.
If she were sentenced to prison, Nancy could shave off 15 percent with good behavior. Thus, if the sentencing guidelines are followed, it’s possible that Nancy could do a little over two years.
But, the prosecution can urge the judge to give her a downward departure from the guidelines. Nancy can round up letters from friends, family and supporters to state she has done many good things. Nancy has no prior criminal record and is 64 years old. She could allocute persuasively before the judge about the remorse she feels.
The judge could easily make a downward departure and sentence her to 18 months or a year. If he went down to that – there would be no reason he could not order that that year be served under home confinement.
If Nancy testifies well and the Nxivm crew are convicted at trial – including perhaps her own daughter – Nancy may never see a day in prison.
That seems more likely today than ever before.