NEW YORK — Seagrams’ heiress and longtime NXIVM executive Clare Bronfman has asked a federal judge in Brooklyn to adjourn her June 25 sentencing in Brooklyn in part because the COVID-19 pandemic will keep her family from attending.
Bronfman, 41, who provided longtime financial resources for NXIVM leader Keith Raniere and his cult-like, Colonie-based organization, faces 21 to 27 months in prison when she is sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis. Bronfman pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification.
On Wednesday, Bronfman’s lawyer, Kathleen Cassidy, told the judge that her client will not consent to being sentenced via video or teleconference.
“She respectfully requests that the court adjourn her sentencing until such date as the sentencing can be conducted in person at the courthouse,” Cassidy stated.
The attorney noted Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has extended the state’s “pause” and that reports indicate the New York City area is unlikely to be ready to meet the necessary criteria for the first phase of reopening until mid-June at the earliest.
“Pandemic-related travel bans, which prevent Ms. Bronfman’s family from traveling to the United States from Europe for her sentencing, appear likely to remain in place through July,” the lawyer stated.
Bronfman, who has homes in Manhattan and Clifton Park, has been on detention in her New York City residence on $100 million bond since she was arrested in July 2018.
Bronfman, the daughter of late Seagram’s tycoon Edgar Bronfman, was the major financial backer of Raniere, a purported personal growth guru known as “Vanguard,” who was convicted of all seven counts at his trial last June.
Raniere had been scheduled to be sentenced June 23 for his convictions on charges of sex trafficking, forced labor and racketeering charges with underlying acts of identity theft, obstruction of justice, wire and visa fraud, forced labor, human trafficking, sex trafficking, money laundering, child exploitation and possession of child pornography. He faces the possibility of life in prison.
Raniere’s sentencing was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic earlier this month.