A man who captivated thousands of people with his self-empowerment vision is standing trial accused of running a secret sex cult.
Nxivm founder Keith Raniere has been sitting in a federal courtroom as his alleged victims and members of his inner circle describe their role in a secret society made up of women, known as DOS, that was meant to be a women’s empowerment group.
Here’s a look at the people accused in the case:
Raniere drew thousands of followers by sharing his ideas on how to achieve success and happiness. In 1998, he founded a company called Executive Success Programs to “advance ethics, humanity, and critical thinking” that operated in the United States and Mexico.
He created Nxivm in 2003 and led several coaching and educational programs under the company’s umbrella. Nearly 17,000 people took the organization’s self-help classes.
His mission was teaching others about how to achieve true happiness, his lawyer, Marc Agnifilo said.
Raniere has been charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, and human trafficking, among other offenses. He has been held in federal custody in Brooklyn since his arrest in Mexico in March 2018.
The 64-year-old co-founded Nxivm with Raniere, was his “second-in-command” and served as president of the organization.
Salzman, who was known as the “Prefect,” has pleaded guilty to a count of racketeering conspiracy.
Prosecutors said Salzman took part in editing videos of Nxivm classes she had taught before turning them in as part of a lawsuit against the organization. Salzman is believed to have removed materials that would have supported some of the lawsuit’s claims, according to a statement by the US Justice Department.
The “Smallville” actress was the co-creator of a program within Nxivm, which was targeted toward actors. She had been involved with the group for several years, speaking about her work with one of Raniere’s companies on her YouTube channel, reaching out to potential members on Twitter and appearing in a Nxivm recruitment video interviewing Raniere.
Mack, 36, is believed to have recruited at least two women into DOS, court documents show.
Prosecutors said Mack was near the top of the pyramid with Raniere and “directly or implicitly required” her slaves to engage in sexual activity with Raniere.
Mack allegedly received financial and other benefits from Raniere in exchange for the women’s cooperation with their demands.
She pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering relating to her alleged role in the sex trafficking case in April. She faces up to 40 years in prison.
Salzman is the daughter of Nxivm’s co-founder Nancy Salzman. She had been a part of the organization’s executive board for 20 years.
The 42-year-old testified in court that she joined DOS in 2017 and became one of the masters in the secret sex cult, having six slaves of her own.
At meetings in their “sorority house,” Salzman and other masters would administer paddlings with leather belts. Raniere would call in to check on how they were going, she said.
She pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in March.
Prosecutors said Salzman was among the group’s members who led a “disinformation campaign designed to spread lies about DOS and Nxivm members in order to discredit victims.”
The Seagram liquor heiress served on Nxivm’s executive board for nearly a decade. Bronfman used her wealth to help finance Nxivm’s activities, prosecutors said.
She pleaded guilty in April to concealing and harboring undocumented immigrants for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification. She faces up to 27 months in prison and agreed to pay $6 million in forfeiture to the government.
The 61-year-old was Nxivm’s bookkeeper for years.
Prosecutors claim Russell was part of a scheme to smuggle a woman into the United States through Canada. She gave the woman a fake identification card with the last name and the birthdate of a dead woman, authorities said.
She pleaded guilty to one charge of visa fraud and she faces between six and 12 months in prison.
CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.