Nxivm: Seagram liquor heiress arrested in alleged sex cult case

Nxivm: Seagram liquor heiress arrested in alleged sex cult case

Nxivm: Seagram liquor heiress arrested in alleged sex cult case

Canadian-born Edgar Bronfman Sr., a billionaire philanthropist and former chairman of the Seagram liquor company, served as president of the World Jewish Congress from 1979 to 2007, during which time he fought for Jewish rights worldwide.

A former competitor in global equestrian show jumping competitions, Bronfman is accused in an indictment of taking a number of steps to help NXIVM's founder and leader, Keith Raniere, exercise control over members of the upstate NY group, including identity theft, interception of electronic communications and money laundering. He denies the charges.

Three women described by prosecutors as high-level members of a self-improvement organization accused of forcing women into unwanted sex appeared in an upstate NY court.

Among those charged in the Capital Region are NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman and her daughter Lauren, as well as Kathy Russell, according to U.S. Attorney spokesman John Marzulli.

Bronfman appeared before a judge in Brooklyn, New York and was released with an ankle bracelet after prosecutors argued she was a flight risk. She's due back in court Wednesday for a status conference, along with her co-defendants.

Bronfman, who appeared in court wearing flip-flops and a T-shirt, didn't comment as she left a federal courthouse in Brooklyn.

An heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune has been arraigned on racketeering conspiracy charges in connection with her work with a self-help group in upstate NY that is accused of branding women and forcing them into unwanted sex.

Clare Bronfman pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday.

Allison Mack, a television actress, was also arrested in April on sex trafficking charges for allegedly recruiting women to the purported mentorship group, whom United States prosecutors said were forced to have sex with its leader.

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Susan Necheles (NEHK'-eh'-lehs) issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of Clare Bronfman.

Bronfman is being accused of identity theft for allegedly helping Raniere monitor the electronic communications of his perceived enemies and critics, and for allegedly helping Raniere charge expenses to his sexual partner's credit cards after she died in 2016.

In an indictment, prosecutors say Mack, who played a teenage friend of Superman in the CW network's "Smallville", helped Raniere recruit women to a secret sub-society within NXIVM whose members were branded by way of a surgical tool with a symbol that resembled his initials.

Despite criticism for years by ex-followers who called NXIVM a cult and a pyramid scheme, the organization's intense self-improvement classes had, at one point, earned it thousands of adherents, including some with Hollywood ties.

An heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune has been arrested in connection with her work with a self-help group in upstate NY that is accused of branding women and forcing them into unwanted sex.

Bronfman and the other people arrested on Tuesday were not charged with sex trafficking.

Bronfman is one of seven children, the daughter of a second-generation heir who captained Seagram's expansion during his years leading the company.

Raniere was charged earlier this year along with a NXIVM adherent, the actress Allison Mack, with coercing followers into becoming "slaves" to senior members of the group.

In a now-deleted post on one of the group's websites, Bronfman defended Raniere and said that, while she was not a member of the Vow, it "has not coerced nor abused anyone".

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