A wealthy heiress pleaded guilty on Friday in a sensational case accusing a a cult-like upstate New York group of creating a secret harem of sex slaves for the group's self-anointed spiritual leader.
Clare Bronfman admitted in her plea in federal court in Brooklyn that she harboured someone who was living in the U.S. illegally for unpaid "labour and services" and that she committed credit card fraud on the behalf of Keith Raniere, the lead of the group called NXIVM.
Bronfman — the 40-year-old daughter of the late billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. — told the judge that she had wanted to help people through NXIVM but ended up dishonouring her family.
"Your honour, I was afforded a great gift by my grandfather and father," Bronfman said. "With the gift, comes immense privilege and more importantly, tremendous responsibility. It does not come with an ability to break the law."
She added: "For this, I am truly sorry."
As part of a plea agreement, Bronfman agreed to forfeit $6 million US. She faces up to 27 months in prison at sentencing on July 25.
The NXIVM sex cult is facing allegations that it illegally bundled campaign donations to gain political favor with an unnamed US presidential election candidate and reports suggest that the politician is Hillary Clinton. United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue asked a federal judge to introduce evidence showing that the defendants in the sex cult case had an “illegal scheme to exceed contribution limits to a presidential primary campaign.”
Prosecutors have asked to present evidence in the NXIVM sex cult racketeering trial showing that NXIVM leaders including Nancy Salzman and Clare Bronfman illegally bundled money for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign by compelling members to donate to Clinton and then reimbursing the members.
Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman had a dramatic day in court Wednesday where the accused NXIVM sex-cult financier fainted in response to being asked if she'd secretly retained lawyer Michael Avenatti.
Billionaire heiress Clare Bronfman was indicted on racketeering charges in federal court on Tuesday connected to her involvement as Operations Director for the NXIVM sex cult. Bronfman is the heir to the multi-billion dollar liquor fortune of Edgar Bronfman Sr, the billionaire philanthropist who was formerly head of Seagram.
Federal agents arrested and charged four more people on Tuesday for their roles in the alleged sex cult NXIVM, according to the Albany Times Union. In addition to the high-profile indictments of NXIVM’s founder Keith Raniere and former "Smallville" actress Allison Mack in April, charges have now been brought against the group’s co-founder Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren, and Kathy Russell, the group's longtime bookkeeper, the Times Union reported. NXIVM’s operations director, Clare Bronfman, was arrested and charged on Tuesday as well. Bronfman is also the heir to part of the Seagram’s liquor empire.
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