Queen’s Brian May says he had a ‘stomach explosion’ that nearly killed him

The Daily Beast

‘Dangerous Megalomaniac’: Seagram’s Heiress Sentenced to 81 Months in NXIVM Sex Cult Case

For years, Seagram’s liquor empire heiress Clare Bronfman dedicated her time—and millions—to NXIVM as its operations director and one of its largest donors, going to extreme lengths to protect the self-help group and its leader.But on Wednesday, the 41-year-old was sentenced to 81 months in prison for her role in the purported cult that branded women and manipulated them into master-slave relationships.“I’m immensely grateful and privileged that people all over the world are praying for me because they know my goodness,” Bronfman said just before she was sentenced for conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification. “It doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes, I have made mistakes.”Prosecutors had asked the judge to give her a 60-month sentence, arguing she had shown continued loyalty to NXIVM’s founder Keith Raniere and made “obsessive” attempts to investigate and intimidate possible critics of NXIVM. NXIVM Cult Leader’s Jailhouse Call to Disciples: ‘The Judge Needs to Know He’s Being Watched’U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis believed she deserved even more than that. He gave her nearly seven years in prison, a $500,000 fine, and $96,605 restitution to be paid to one of the victims.“Ms. Bronfman’s crimes were not committed in a vacuum,” Garaufis said. “They were committed in connection with her role in NXVIM and her close relationship with Raniere, and I believe that it would be inappropriate for me to consider them divorced from that context.”Bronfman, wearing a dark face mask with a flower pattern, appeared shocked by the sentence. She was taken into custody and will be housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Raniere is being held.“I am shocked, relieved, and surprised—this is a meaningful win for those of us who were directly victimized by Clare Bronfman,” Ivy Nevares, a former long-time NXIVM member, told The Daily Beast. “None of us were expecting the Court to surpass the prosecution’s recommendation… At long last, justice is being served.”Before the sentencing, nearly a dozen former members gave victim statements in court, detailing how Bronfman enabled Raniere and a purported self-help group that ruined their lives. Barbara Bouchey, a former high-ranking member who left in 2009, said Bronfman threatened her with legal action, and she feared that “Clare’s stalking of me is not over,” according to the Times Union. Toni Natalie, Raniere’s ex-girlfriend, told the judge that Bronfman “was a pivotal part in trying to destroy my life.”Another former member, Susan Dones, said, “In my opinion you’re a predator. You should feel shame, self loathing… I pray that you will take the claws of Keith Raniere out of you, and you will learn who Clare Bronfman really is.”In a stunning move, Kristin Keeffe, who has a 13-year-old son with Raniere and worked for Bronfman in NXIVM’s legal department for a decade, said she saw Bronfman “mentally descend over several years into a dangerous megalomaniac.”Keeffe, who left the group in 2014,