Clare Bronfman: Prison time for her role in the NXIVM cult?
Clare Bronfman received nearly seven years in prison for her role in NXIVM, a sentence much stiffer than even prosecutors expected. Prosecutors asked federal judge Nicholas Garaufis for a five-year sentence for Bronfman, considering her role in financing the cult’s activities, including sex trafficking, extortion, and racketeering. The defense argued for probation, as she was unaware of DOS, the sex trafficking ring in NXIVM.
“Ms. Bronfman’s crimes were not committed in a vacuum. They were committed in connection with her role in NXIVM and her close relationship with Raniere, and I believe that it would be inappropriate for me to consider them divorced from that context,” Judge Garaufis said in his hour-long sentencing memorandum.
While Clare Bronfman may not have been aware of DOS, her wealth was instrumental in NXIVM’s ability to harass defectors with frivolous lawsuits & criminal charges – her legal attacks against anyone who spoke out against the cult prompted the lengthy sentence.
A work camp in Connecticut
Right after Clare Bonfman’s sentencing, Judge Garaufis remanded her into custody rather than letting her surrender on a later date. The former is commonly done with violent criminals, the latter with white collar offenders. Bronfman was then taken to a Brooklyn detention center for processing and possible isolation due to her health problems & COVID-19.
According to The Frank Report, Clare Bronfman remains in custody in Brooklyn. However, many speculate Bronfman will be sent to FCI Danbury, a minimum security women’s prison in Connecticut. FCI Danbury is most notorious for being the setting of the Netflix hit series Orange is the New Black.
Via Pink Lady Prisons Consultants, a company that counsels women being sent to federal prison, FCI Danbury houses inmates in two person bunks or four to eight person cubicles. Clare Bronfman will receive 300 minutes per month to call friends & family on a pre-approved list and can only have medical supplies, clothing for release, and books from the publisher mailed to her.
Planning to appeal
However, Clare Bronfman still plans on appealing the sentence. “Clare Bronfman will raise substantial questions on appeal which, if resolved in her favor, will likely result in a reduction of her sentence,” her attorney Ronald S. Sulluivan Jr. told the judge at her sentencing.
Clare Bronfman most likely plans on raising concerns about her liver disease and increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Due to Bronfman’s liver condition, disclosed days before her sentencing, Sulluivan called her sentence “a cruel wager on her life”.
Danger to Society
Sulluivan further argued Clare Bronfman wasn’t a danger to society nor was she a flight risk. However, Bronfman admitted she had contacts in England, France, and Fiji, not to mention her millions she can use to get away, which the prosecution argued makes her a flight risk and less likely to stay here and serve her sentence.
“The defendant’s incentive to flee has increased significantly following the Court’s imposition of a term of 81 months’ imprisonment,” the prosecution argued in a motion to deny Clare Bronfman’s appeal. They further argued Bronfman’s health condition and age don’t place her in a high-risk category regarding COVID-19 to warrant probation. Plus, the violent nature of NXIVM places Bronfman in a unique situation.”
“As set forth at length in the Court’s sentencing memorandum, the defendant’s ‘criminal conduct places her in an altogether different category from other defendants who are convicted of the same offenses, and therefore her circumstances defy easy comparison.”
Judge Garaufis ruled in favor of the prosecution. “The Defendant remains a flight risk, who now has even greater incentive to flee after being sentenced; the Defendant has not identified a “substantial question of law or fact likely to result in . . . a reduced sentence to a term of imprisonment.” Bronfman will remain in prison, but per Frank Parlato, will try to appeal through the Second Circuit Court.
Win or lose, Parlato explained an appeal through the Second Circuit will most likely take a year or so. Clare Bronfman will remain in prison for that time.