Man: Four more arrests in the NXIVM case, including a local connection in the Capital Region, NXIVM co-founder, Nancy Salzman, her daughter, Lauren, as well as her long-time bookkeeper, Kathy Russell, and as you heard in Reid’s newscast, Bronfman, one of the Seagram’s heiresses. And we’re joined by our legal correspondent, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hi, Paul.
Paul: Hey, good morning, guys. Good morning.
Man: So, this indictment, I mean, there’s a ton of charges: theft, racketeering, sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor, wire fraud conspiracy, on and on and on. Were you surprised at all by these charges?
Paul: Well, you know, you get to this point where the plot keeps thickening, and now you’re going to have virtually the entire executive team is going to be under indictment. And the organization has continued to operate under a bit of a cloak of darkness. No one really knows what goes on behind those walls. These many folks indicted, I suspect someone’s going to plead out, and then we’re going to get a lot more information as to what’s happening there.
Woman: It’s amazing, the difference in the bail that was posted, you know, $25,000 for one, up to $100 million for Clare Bronfman.
Paul: Well, I guess they sort of look at what you got, you know. And so, $25,000 could be a king’s fortune for most folks. And Bronfman, who, you know, just unusual to see her in this situation. One would look at her and say, “Why is she caught up in this?” And so, it really has become something of a national story in intrigue.
Man: Yeah, when you saw $100 million, was that stunning to you, or you were just like, “No, she’s an heiress and that’s really within the normal range?”
Paul: Nothing normal about it, no. It was, I thought, a misprint. I had to look it up twice to verify it, yeah.
Man: So, Bronfman, I guess they say that she used her fortune to bankroll the group. Russell and Salzman are accused of participating in identity theft, money laundering, and altering records. And Lauren Salzman, she’s been accused by former slaves of being one of the masters in the group. Of course, then you have Raniere and you have the “Smallville” actors at the top of this thing. I mean, one would think, you know, from a prosecutor’s standpoint, is Raniere the one they really want, or do they want to get all these people?
Paul: Well, I think everybody’s going to be pleading to something and doing something or beyond, but yeah, Raniere and Mack are the ones they indicted first. My guess is, is they continue on the path, which often happens, you know, they now say, “Okay, we need to go out and see what else is happening in this organization,” and as they did, they found out some of this stuff. And so, it probably is the end of the indictments. I think this is probably a two-indictment case, but I’m sure there’s lots of folks who’ve been associated with the organization over the years who are, you know, listening to knocks on their door, going to be showing up, because it probably runs a little bit deeper.
Woman: There are so many layers to it too. I mean, from, you know, there’s the financial aspect of it, then there’s the sex trafficking aspect, to bringing women from Mexico, and then there are even allegations of Raniere with young girls. I mean, there’s so many different things involved with this case. I can’t imagine it being resolved any time soon.
Paul: No, it’s got this Hollywood feel to it. You know, in a kind of a sick way, what’s happening here is something that probably is going to make the screen somewhere once this thing kind of resolves. Yeah, I believe that this isn’t going to be over in a three-month thing, but I do think that they’ve got a lot of pressure on them now, a lot of indictments, now a lot of responsibility on the federal prosecutors to not only do it right but do it timely.
Man: Speaking to our legal analyst, Paul Harding. A couple other real quick things I wanted to get you on. The former Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who’s been convicted twice now of taking bribes and abusing his office, he’s set to be sentenced on Friday. He sent a letter to the judge, begging for mercy. Do you think he’s going to get a prison sentence, and do you think he’ll remain free on appeal?
Paul: Well, I think he’s going to get a prison sentence for sure, and kind of reminded me of the letter that he sent last time, was very similar and, you know, again, maybe very sincere, looking back, if he could do it again. And then, as far as the appeal goes, if the judge has that discretion, right, they look to see, is there a real appealable issue? I mean, we all have a right to appeal, but if there’s nothing there other than “my right to appeal,” then he will be led from the courthouse to jail. I suspect, I don’t see a major appealable issue here. I see him actually being led out of the courthouse on that day, but I don’t know that for sure.
Man: And I hate to ask you to give me an answer to a complex legal question in 30 seconds, but I’m asking you to do that. Kelly and I were talking about this lawsuit in Vegas, where MGM is suing the victims, the people who got shot up and/or killed during that concert shooting, horrific. MGM’s not seeking money, but they’re trying to protect themselves through the legal maneuvers. Is that like the only thing they had at their disposal, because it looks really bad when you’re suing guys who had their wife killed and another guy who’s paralyzed.
Paul: Yeah, your best defense is a good offense here. Yeah, I mean, it’s, again, one of those things. I read it and I had to read it a second time. It didn’t add up exactly, but then I sort of got the fact that, you know, they are trying to protect lots of things, their brand, trying to protect what happened here. I just don’t see that going well, and I see, probably, they’re going to, at some point, regret doing it.
Man: I think they may already be at that point. Paul Harding, our legal analyst, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, 1-800-LAW-1010. Thanks a lot, Paul.
Paul: All right, guys. Thank you.