‘Smallville’ actress Allison Mack’s sex trafficking trial for her part in alleged sex cult NXIVM starts April 29. But a recent guilty plea by another former member may make it much harder for her to walk away with her freedom.
A high-ranking member of alleged sex cult NXIVM, (pronounced “Nexium”) pleaded guilty this week. Lauren Salzman was charged with a range of crimes, including racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, and on April 1, she quietly made a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s office. According to NYC criminal attorney David M. Schwartz — who has been closely following the case, but has no personal connection to the matter or individuals involved — Lauren Salzman’s guilty plea could be a “dagger” for Allison Mack.
The longtime lawyer, tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that based on New York law, it’s very likely that Lauren Salzman made a deal to turn on Allison and the three other defendants — including the alleged cult leader Keith Raniere — in the upcoming NXIVM trial. He went on to share his opinion, based on his general experiences as a criminal attorney: “It is pretty clear to me that the reason why they would have Lauren (Salzman) plead guilty at this point would be to have her testify at the trial and cooperate. They sealed her court documents [which suggests] that Lauren is cooperating. What appears to be happening is that Lauren has made a deal to testify. And as long as everything that she testifies to can be corroborated through independent evidence, then yes I would say it is a dagger against all the defendants, including Allison Mack.”
Allison was arrested in April 2018, charged with sex trafficking and accused of keeping slaves as part of a twisted secret society called DOS, which stands for “Domunus Obsequious Sororium,” and loosely translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions [source]. It was described in the criminal complaint, as a pyramid-style “organized criminal group” with levels of “slaves headed by masters,” according to NXIVM’s former publicist Frank Parlato. The complaint alleges that Keith Raniere is the omnipotent “master” and only male member of DOS. According to prosecutors Allison was at the top of the DOS pyramid and recruited other women as slaves and then required them to engage in sexual activity with leader Keith Raniere.
Parlato was the first to blow the whistle on the alleged branding of women going on within DOS, so he claims to be very well acquainted with the groups inner-workings. He tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY why it will be especially bad for Allison if her co-conspirator Lauren has indeed made an agreement to cooperate with the feds. Parlato claims that, based on his knowledge, “Lauren was one of the leaders of the secret society called DOS. Even though Allison Mack was the so-called leader, they were both front-line slave masters and they worked hand-in-hand. What Lauren brings to the table is that she can testify to inside information and a be a direct witness to the original plans to sex-traffic these women.”
According to Frank, it is also likely that India Oxenberg — who was famously rescued from NXIVM by her Dynasty star mom Catherine Oxenberg — will be testifying against Allison in the NXIVM trial. “Allison was India’s slave master. India will probably be called as a witness and a victim and she will be testifying against Allison,” Frank revealed to us. It should be noted that one of the defendants standing trial alongside Allison Mack and Keith Raniere is billionaire liquor heiress Claire Bronfman and in 2011, she sued Frank Parlato, whom she had hired as a consultant, alleging he had defrauded her and her sister of $1 million. That charge has since been dropped. In spite of the lawsuit, Frank never wavered in his efforts to see NXIVM and its leaders brought to justice.
And in just a few weeks, that long-awaited justice will begin in a New York courtroom. If Allison Mack wants to avoid having to face off against witnesses and victims, like India Oxenberg, in that trial, her only option is to make a plea deal and according to criminal attorney David M. Schwartz, her time to make that deal is running out: “The trial is scheduled for this month so she has a very short window to plead guilty and get a plea deal. You can always plead guilty at any point in the trial, but as far as cooperation goes, you want to be the first one in. Now that Lauren Salzman has plead guilty, and most likely made a deal, the train may have left the station for Allison getting a deal because they may have enough to get Keith Raniere already, and they may not need Allison anymore.”
If Allison does go to trial and is found guilty of the charges against her, she faces the potential for 20 years in prison and may even have to register as a sex offender, says Schwartz, who emphasized to us that “these are very serious charges.” However, according to Schwartz, there is also a chance Allison could win her case. “If Allison’s lawyers can show that Keith Raniere has been brainwashing her, that is a good defense, and that may be very defensible in trial, and she may even win,” he said. “They may believe she did not have the requisite mens rea to commit the crime, meaning the intent. If you don’t have the intent to commit a crime, because you were brainwashed, than that is knocking out a particular element of the crime, and that becomes a trial issue. Not everybody pleads, people go to trial, that’s what trials are all about. If you have a defense, you don’t plead guilty, and you go to trial.”
We will be watching closely to see if Allison and her lawyers make any last minute deals ahead of the trial, and so will Frank Parlato, who believes strongly that Allison will land behind bars. “The last time Allison was outside of court she was crying,” he told us. “February 28, was the last time she was in court, and she was crying outside. The happy girl that put on a happy face at all the previous hearings finally realized that she wasn’t going to get a deal without prison time.” Jury selection for the trial starts Monday, April 8.