Nancy Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
She was not given a plea deal by the government, but pleaded guilty to the initial charge. While she says her actions are criminal, she told the judge she does believe some of the work NXIVM did was good.
Salzman looked straight ahead and didn’t say a word as she walked into court earlier Wednesday, and she was fighting back tears when she did address the court about her involvement in the alleged cult.
It's almost been a year since charges were first handed down; at the same time, a filing by federal prosecutors indicates evidence that the other alleged co-founder, Keith Raniere, exploited underage girls, and other NXIVM leaders may have been aware it was ongoing.
On Wednesday evening, a federal grand jury handed up a second superseding indictment against alleged Raniere, actress Allison Mack, Seagram's heiress Claire Bronfman, and Lauren Salzman — with new charges including child porn possession and sexual exploitation of a child.
Salzman is the co-founder of NXIVM, run out of the Capital Region for years as a so-called "self-empowerment business." Salzman, along with Raniere, allegedly ran a sex cult that trapped and branded women.
Salzman is expected to be sentenced July 10 at 11 a.m. For now, she is out on bail.
Salzman also spoke of her daughter Lauren, who is also facing federal charges. She apologized for getting her involved in NXIVM.
Salzman is the first person convicted in the case. Her home was raided by the FBI in Waterford a year ago. Meanwhile, Raniere was arrested in Mexico, and extradited back to the U.S. He and his accused co-conspirator, TV actress Allison Mack, are facing federal sex trafficking charges.
The government now says it has evidence to show Raniere had sex with underage victims, one of them said to be a 15-year-old girl. Court documents also point to images that they say would be child pornography, and say other NXIVM officials knew what acts were occurring.
The trial for Raniere and other high-ranking members is still expected to happen in April.