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NXIVM co-founder expected to plead guilty

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Toni Natalie speaks about her experience when introduced to Keith Raniere, the founder of the alleged cult NXIVM. Video by Carlos Ortiz.
Carlos Ortiz

ALBANY, N.Y. – The president and co-founder of NXIVM is expected to plead guilty Wednesday in federal court, where she is accused of advancing a widespread criminal enterprise on behalf of the cult-like organization.

Nancy Salzman, who was known to NXIVM followers as “Prefect,” is scheduled to appear at Brooklyn federal court at 3 p.m. for a “criminal cause for pleading” proceeding, which is common for a guilty plea.

NXIVM, led by mastermind Keith Raniere, was a self-help organization based in the Albany area that was the subject of international headlines last year when Raniere and his inner circle were arrested, accused of overseeing a criminal operation in which some women followers were branded with Raniere’s initials and groomed for his sexual pleasure.

Salzman co-founded NXIVM with Raniere in the 1990s, acting as his second-in-command until the organization suspended operations last year.

She faces a single count of racketeering conspiracy and is accused of stealing email addresses and passwords from people she and Raniere perceived to be enemies of NXIVM, using them to monitor their activities.

Aug. 6: Ex-‘Dynasty’ star Catherine Oxenberg on crusade to save daughter from alleged ‘sex cult’

July 25: The charges against sex cult NXIVM’s Keith Raniere, Allison Mack and Clare Bronfman, explained

Salzman also is accused of altering tapes of herself teaching NXIVM courses before turning them over for use in a lawsuit against Rick Ross, a cult “deprogrammer” who has long been a NXIVM critic and helped followers escape.

Salzman was released on $5 million bond last year and has been under home confinement since.

Her daughter, Lauren Salzman, remains under indictment and is awaiting trial, as are four other co-defendants: Raniere; Kathy Russell; Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune; and Allison Mack, an actress best known for her role as Chloe Sullivan on the CW’s “Smallville.”

Raniere is accused of overseeing a criminal enterprise.

Prosecutors say he secretly created and led a sorority named DOS, whose female members were branded on their pubic regions with a logo containing his initials.

They say some members were groomed for unwanted sex with Raniere and forced to give up blackmail material like naked photos and secrets about family members in order to ensure they wouldn’t leave the sorority, according to prosecutors.

Raniere has pleaded not guilty, as have the other defendants.

Follow Jon Campbell on Twitter: @JonCampbellGAN 

July 24: Clare Bronfman, Seagram’s liquor heiress, arrested in sex trafficking case

April 24: Allison Mack of ‘Smallville’ gets $5M bail, home confinement in sex-cult case

April 23: Allison Mack, ‘Smallville’ actress charged in sex cult, looking at plea deal

April 20: ‘Smallville’ actress Allison Mack charged with sex trafficking for role in NXIVM cult

March 2018: Leader of alleged cult, sex-slave network called NXIVM, arraigned in federal court

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