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First woman sentenced for her role in Nxivm sex cult

First woman sentenced for her role in Nxivm sex cult

Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman was sentenced Wednesday to just under seven years in prison in connection with her role in the Nxivm cult.

Bronfman has pleaded guilty to two charges of identity theft and immigration fraud, according to The New York Times.

Bronfman’s sentencing came at the end of a hearing in which nine women testified about Bronfman’s involvement in their victimization by the cult.

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Several alleged she harassed them with lawsuits or attempted to persuade prosecutors to charge them criminally after they left the cult. Numerous witnesses begged her to disown Keith Raniere, the founder of the group, who witnesses have said groomed female members of the group as sexual partners.

“I pray that you will take the claws of Keith Raniere out of you, and you will learn who Clare Bronfman really is,” Susan Dones, one of the witnesses, said in the hearing, according to the Times. “He is killing you.”

In August, Bronfman told the presiding judge she could not in good conscience disavow Raniere and that she still believed in him, according to the Times.

Prosecutors said Bronfman was a key source of funding for Raniere. She has pumped an estimated $116 million into the Albany-based cult, including securing patents for Raniere and paying for the group’s lawsuits.

She also allegedly hired a firm to obtain the private financial data of public figures ranging from journalists to Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.). Raniere was himself convicted last June on charges including sex trafficking, fraud and racketeering.

Bronfman and Rainere also co-founded the World Ethical Foundations Consortium, an organization formed to improve Nxivm’s image that persuaded the Dalai Lama to address its first event in 2009.

Bronfman is one of five people who were in Raniere’s inner circle to plead guilty, including one-time “Smallville” actress Allison Mack.