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Who is Clare Bronfman? Liquor heiress sentenced over 6 years in prison for active role in Keith Raniere sex cult

Bronfman had pleaded guilty in April 2019 to charges of conspiracy to conceal and harbor an illegal alien for monetary gain and the fraudulent use of identification
Clare Bronfman (Wiki)
Clare Bronfman (Wiki)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman has been sentenced to six years and nine months in prison and a half-million-dollar fine for her role in the NXIVM sex cult case has been levied on her. Bronfman had pleaded guilty in April 2019 to charges of conspiracy to conceal and harbor an illegal alien for monetary gain and the fraudulent use of identification.

According to a New York Times report, on Wednesday, September 30, a federal judge condemned Bronfman to six years and nine months in prison for her role in the group which prosecutors described as a corrupt organization. “I am troubled by evidence suggesting that Ms Bronfman repeatedly and consistently leveraged her wealth and social status as a means of intimidating, controlling, and punishing NXIVM’s enemies," said Judge Nicholas G Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Ronald Sullivan, a lawyer for Bronfman, said he would appeal the sentence, calling it an “abomination”. Bronfman was the first defendant to be sentenced in the NXIVM investigation which has shattered the sunny facade of the organization that purported to help people achieve their personal goals through “executive success” workshops. Its head Keith Raniere was sentenced in June 2019 of racketeering, sex trafficking, fraud and other crimes. The sentencing lasted for more than four hours. Nine victims of the cult narrated how Bronfman ruined their lives.

“Today, Clare Bronfman is the first of many to be sentenced for the crimes she committed in furtherance of NXIVM’s objectives. While her fate in no way removes the trauma NXIVM’s victims will likely continue to suffer, it does highlight the government’s efforts to bring to justice all of those involved in a series of illegal acts carried out for the benefit of this organization. She recently wrote to the judge telling him that NXIVM and Keith Raniere had changed her life for the better. She will now have more than six years behind bars to contemplate that sentiment, and decide once and for all if it’s as easy to accept as she once believed it to be,” stated FBI assistant director-in-charge William F Sweeney.

Who is Clare Bronfman?

Bronfman is the daughter of a billionaire Canadian businessman Edgar Bronfman who was an English pub owner from Essex England. Sara Bronfman, Clare Bronfman's sister, first got involved in the NXIVM's personal advancement program and "executive success program" workshops. Soon the sisters became financial supporters and committed followers of the group that was founded by Keith Raniere. Clare Bronfman soon became an integral part when she started serving as an event coordinator for Vanguard Week, an annual festival that celebrated Raniere's birthday. According to an ET report, at trial, prosecutors told jurors the 60-year-old Raniere’s organization, NXIVM, operated like a cult whose members called him “Vanguard”. To honor him, the group formed a secret sorority comprised of brainwashed female “slaves” who were branded with his initials and forced to have sex with him, the prosecutors said.

In a letter to the court last month, Bronfman wrote that she “never meant to hurt anyone, however I have and for this I am deeply sorry”. Still, she said that she couldn’t disavow Raniere because “NXIVM and Keith greatly changed my life for the better”. According to a Deadline report, Bronfman is the half-sister of Edgar Bronfman Jr, who was the owner of the Canadian beverage giant and Universal Pictures owner Seagram’s when it acquired by Vivendi in 2000 and became CEO of the new Vivendi Universal. He resigned from the executive office in late 2001 but remained the vice-chair of the company’s board. He was named Junior Executive Chairman of the live-streaming service fuboTV this year.