Woman implicated in sex slave case quietly pleads guilty
A woman implicated in the sex-trafficking case against an upstate New York self-help group that’s been pleaded guilty Monday to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy at a hearing that wasn’t on the court calendar.has quietly pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Lauren Salzman, the daughter of co-founder Nancy Salzman,
Afterward, a judge agreed to seal a transcript until parts of it could be blacked out. The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on Friday about how the plea was handled.
Salzman, 42, was one of the four co-defendants of Keith Raniere, the leader of NXIVM, pronounced nehk-see-uhm. She entered her plea two weeks after her mother, Nancy Salzman, 64, pleaded guilty to a charge of racketeering criminal conspiracy. They are the first two to plead guilty in the case.
Prosecutors this month added charges accusing Raniere of exploiting teenage girls. That sparked speculation his co-defendants might agree to cooperate against him.
Raniere, 58, was, with exploiting a child and possessing child pornography. He denied the allegations. Raniere had previously pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of operating a secret society within his NXIVM group that forced women “slaves” to have unwanted sex with him and with his initials.
Raniere has called NXIVM a self-help group, but investigators allege it was a multi-level marketing scheme used as a ruse to enslave and traffic women for sex.
Raniere has beensince being brought to the U.S. in 2018 following his arrest in Mexico. Opening statements in the criminal trial are scheduled to take place April 29 in Brooklyn federal court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Penzaon March 18 that the government is in “active plea negotiations” with three defendants. Included among the three remaining defendants contesting their charges is best known for playing a teenage friend of Superman on the “Smallville” TV series.
Additionally, Seagram liquor fortune heiress Clare Bronfman was expected toon charges she bankrolled the Albany-based group, which has also been called a pyramid scheme.