Seagram Heiress Clare Bronfman Pleads Guilty to NXIVM Sex Slave



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An heiress pleaded guilty in a sensational case accusing a group in New York of creating a secret harass of sex slaves for the group's self-anointed spiritual leader.

Clare Bronfman admitted in a federal courtroom appeal in Brooklyn that she housed someone illegally living in the United States for unpaid "work and services" and who committed credit card fraud on behalf of Keith Raniere, leader of a group called NXIVM .

Bronfman – the 40-year-old daughter of billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram president Edgar Bronfman Sr. – told the judge she wanted to help people through the NXIVM, but ended up dishonoring her family.

"Your honor, I received a great gift from my grandfather and father," Bronfman said. "With the gift, there comes immense privilege and, most importantly, tremendous responsibility. It does not come with the ability to break the law."

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She added, "So I'm really sorry."

Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty to charges that involved her in a conspiracy case against a New York state self-help group, the NXVIM.

MARK LENNIHAN / AP

Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty to charges that involved her in a conspiracy case against a New York state self-help group, the NXVIM.

As part of a court settlement, Bronfman agreed to lose $ 6 million ($ 9 million) in a fortune that, according to prosecutors, is worth $ 200 million. She faces more than two years in prison on July 25.

The request means that Bronfman will avoid going to trial early next month with Raniere, who is facing conspiracy allegations that his inner circle of legalists has created a secret society of women who were forced to have unwanted sex with him. Prosecutors say some of the women were marked with their initials as part of their initiation.

A group accountant, Kathy Russell, also pleaded guilty on Friday on a fraud charge. She joined three other NXIVM members besides Bronfman, who also pleaded guilty.

Among the accused is Allison Mack, the TV actress best known for her role as a close friend of the young Superman in the series. Smallville.

Allison Mack also pleaded guilty to his involvement with the NXVIM.

SETH WENIG / AP

Allison Mack also pleaded guilty to his involvement with the NXVIM.

Bronfman had been affiliated with the NXIVM, donating tens of millions of dollars to finance Raniere and his program of intense self-improvement classes. She also paid for lawyers to defend the group against a lawsuit filed by her critics.

With both guilty pleas on Friday, Raniere will face a jury for himself. Defense lawyers have insisted that any relationship between his client and the alleged victims, including women who must testify against him at the trial, was consensual.

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