Former Nxivm “slave master” Lauren Salzman — who admitted to keeping a woman captive for nearly two years during her stint as a high-ranking member in the upstate sex cult — dodged jail time at her sentencing on Wednesday.
Brooklyn federal judge Nicholas Garaufis gave Salzman credit for time she’s served under house arrest, as well as five years probation, noting that she had turned her life around.
The emotional sentencing capped a lengthy legal case that saw Salzman, who now works as a dog groomer, turn on longtime ally Keith Raniere and help put the twisted cult leader behind bars.
“It kills me that I hurt people that I loved so much,” a teary Salzman told the court.
The 45-year-old daughter of Nxivm co-founder Nancy Salzman had faced between seven and nine years in prison on racketeering conspiracy charges.
But prosecutors asked Garaufis to go easy on her, citing her “extraordinary” cooperation and testimony at Raniere’s 2019 trial.
Salzman’s attorneys argued for no jail time, noting that she was the first co-defendant to spill the sadistic group’s secrets — and the only one to testify.
During her four days on the stand, Salzman detailed how she helped Raniere run a master-slave group within Nxivm called DOS, where women were branded with his initials and forced to sleep with him.
But the jurist was convinced Salzman was a changed woman, saying her new gig caring for animals “is about as different as participating in Nxivm than anything I can imagine.”
“This defendant has an inner sense of empathy and duty,” Garaufis added Wednesday, as he highlighted Salzman’s “extensive and sincere cooperation with the government.”
Salzman, along with former TV actress Allison Mack and others, was part of 60-year-old Raniere’s circle of “first-line masters” who helped to command the group.
The ghoulish guru landed 120 years behind bars last year for his heinous crimes, and was recently ordered to pay his slew of victims nearly $3.5 million in restitution.
On Wednesday, Salzman apologized for keeping a woman named Daniela captive in a room from 2010 to 2012 at Raniere’s request and threatening to deport her to Mexico.
“I showed reprehensible judgment,” Salzman said. “I harmed Daniela … I completely failed her.”
The hearing included victim-impact statements from two former Nxivm members, including Ivy Nevares, who said Salzman never apologized for using “her position and skills to try to force me to accept my exploitation and to do so with a smile.”
“You called yourself my best friend, you were a fellow woman, yet you did what you did,” she said. “And you let Raniere and the others do what they did, even after I repeatedly begged you for help.”
The judge said that while Salzman had helped Raniere commit his “harmful schemes” and other “sadistic and sexual deviant visions,” she was also a “victim of [his] depravity.”
Salzman is the third of Raniere’s five co-defendants to be sentenced in the case.
Her mother Nancy Salzman, 66, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 8. She has said that she deeply regrets introducing her daughter to Nxivm and Raniere.
“Of all the regrettable things I have done with Keith and Nxivm, this by far is the one that gives me the greatest personal sadness,” she wrote to the judge. “I am responsible for Lauren being before you.”
Mack, 38, of “Smallville” fame, was sentenced to three years in prison last month, after prosecutors asked for leniency due to her cooperation. She had faced 14 to 17 1/2 years for working as Raniere’s right-hand woman to lure victims into DOS.
Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman was slapped with six years and nine months behind bars last year, more than prosecutors had asked for, after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor an illegal alien for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification.
Longtime Nxivm accountant Kathy Russell, who has copped to charges of visa fraud, still awaits sentencing.