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Clare Bronfman was the “legal bulldog” of NXIVM. Bronfman's sentencing is around the corner and this is what you should know!

Why Clare Bronfman is a true believer in NXIVM

Clare Bronfman’s sentencing is scheduled for tomorrow, September 30. Prosecutors want to see her put away for five years, despite a plea agreement they reached that would cap her time at twenty-seven months. She will be the first NXIVM cult leader to be sentenced. 

Bronfman also has several letters submitted to her judge which can be summed up in a statement from her attorneys: “many of the accusations levied against her character around this case, whether as a frivolous heiress or as an intimidator of witnesses, is completely contrary to her personal integrity.” 

Clare Bronfman was the “legal bulldog” of NXIVM, coming after defectors whether they left the cult quietly or not. In HBO’s The Vow, former members like Barbara Bouchey describe how Bronfman’s wealth & funding allowed NXIVM to sue them into oblivion on trumped-up charges, leaving them penniless. 

Barbara Bouchey recalls that the relentless lawsuits against her from NXIVM often left her having to choose between buying food or paying her lawyers. Bronfman’s wealth helped NXIVM keep the lawsuits coming to wear down Bouchey & other former members. 

How did Clare Bronfman join NXIVM? 

However, Clare Bronfman remains dedicated to NXIVM. In a letter to the judge, she claims NXIVM “changed her for the better”, recognizing that “many people, including most of my own family, believe I should disavow Keith and NXIVM, and that I have not is hard for them to understand and accept.” 

Clare Bronfman & her sister, Sara Bronfman, are heiresses to the Seagram liquor company. Clare Bronfman was an Olympic equestrian who joined NXIVM to develop her self esteem. She used her wealth to help bolster NXIVM, even giving Keith Raniere money to bolster NXIVM.

Her father, Edgar Bronfman, wasn’t happy when he heard about the loan and began investigating NXIVM. After he expressed his concerns, Vanity Fair published an article in 2010 alleging that Clare Bronfman sank nearly $150 million of the Seagram’s fortune into NXIVM. 

The Vanity Fair article

Vanity Fair also published a letter addressed to Sara Bronfman that revealed the loan wasn’t a loan, it was extortion. The letter demanded that Clare fork over $2.1 million by midnight or else embarrassing information about her would be made public. Alarmed, Clare went to her father. 

However, further court documents outlined in the Vanity Fair article revealed that Clare pilfered the Seagram trust fund to the tune of $150 million on her own, including bankrolling “millions more (dollars) to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against NXIVM’s enemies”.  

When Raniere found out that Clare Bronfman was confiding in her father about her giving money to NXIVM, he was furious. He told Bronfman that she committed an “ethical breach” and the only way she could make it up to him was to spend her money “ethically” (NXIVM speak for the way Keith Raniere wanted her to) from then on. 

Master manipulation

While we’re a little shocked that the Vanity Fair article didn’t lead to NXIVM leadership facing prosecution earlier, we know from The Vow that NXIVM, especially Keith Raniere, was a master at manipulating his cult members. 

Keith Raniere knew how to plant seeds early in his ESP (Executive Success Program) that taught NXIVM members the “correct” way to think about the world. Once they bought the basic though premise, Raniere could spin his message to con members into doing what he wanted them to and thinking it was the right thing to do. 

NXIVM also kept tabs on high-profile people they wanted to recruit. Mark Vicente learned from Barbara Bouchey in The Vow that NXIVM kept files on him about his childhood, his likes, dislikes, reactions, and values and used that information to hook him in. They made their interest appear like a genuine connection! 

As far as Clare Bronfman, she was brought in by NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman herself. Bronfman would have been an ideal catch due to her massive fortune & resources. 

What to expect tomorrow

Clare Bronfman’s charges specifically come from her actions of bringing women into the country illegally from Mexico and detaining them against their will. She pled guilty to conspiracy & identity theft charges in 2019. Like fellow NXIVM member Allison Mack, her sentencing was delayed due to the coronavirus. 

Finally, though, it’s time for Clare Bronfman to face the music. Due to her continued support of NXIVM, and the power she gave the cult, prosecutors asked that she received five years in prison. 

Her defense organized droves of letters in Clare Bronfman’s defense, characterizing her as a kind person. Her lawyers also argue that Bronfman had no idea about the sex trafficking & extortion going on in DOS. They ask that she serve no prison time.

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