NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In a reply brief filed last week by the legal team of Clare Bronfman, attorneys for the Seagram’s heiress argued that the district court’s extraordinarily harsh 81-month sentence was handed down in error, particularly as the court punished her on the basis of activities it explicitly admitted she did not participate in and knew nothing about.
While Bronfman was an active member of NXIVM and a proponent of its teachings, like tens of thousands of others around the world, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York sentenced her to 81 months in prison based on her purported linkages to DOS—a secret organization whose existence was known only to the small group comprising its membership. As the District Court itself noted, “Ms. Bronfman vigorously disputes the proposition that she was aware of either DOS or any sex trafficking…. She vigorously disputes the proposition that she knowingly funded DOS or sex trafficking activity. I agree with Ms. Bronfman that the available evidence does not establish that she was aware of DOS prior to June 2017 or that she directly or knowingly funded DOS or other sex trafficking activities.”
Still, DOS was “relevant context for my analysis of the appropriate sentence for Ms. Bronfman,” the court said.
“The sentence that Ms. Bronfman received was clearly for crimes she did not commit and was not aware of, as evidenced by the court’s own statements and reasoning,” said Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., an attorney for Ms. Bronfman. “By the court’s own admission, she found out about DOS at the same time the rest of the world did.”
Bronfman pleaded guilty to two charges related to identity theft and immigration fraud, yet the court amassed a litany of attempts to bring DOS into the case
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