Divine indigestion: Nxivm founders Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman came together after she visited his wholesale supplement club seeking a remedy for her constant constipation

Mail, UK/September 24, 2019

By Chris Spargo

It was a case of backed-up bowels that brought together the man and woman who would go on to create Nxivm, according to a new book.

Keith Raniere met the Prefect to his Vanguard the day that Nancy Salzman came in to met with his then girlfriend Toni Natalie about her constipation issues, according to Natalie's book The Program: Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of Nxivm.

'If Nancy Salzman were more regular in her bowel movements, Nxivm might have never happened,'; writes Natalie int he book, which was release today.

'Put another way: Vanguard was born because Prefect was, quite literally, full of s***.'

Natalie was selling vitamins and supplements wholesale at the time, and working with a woman who was married to Salzman's ex-husband.

'Nancy was having problems with her digestive system, Sandy said, and wanted to come in and discuss it with me,' writes Natalie.

'So we arranged what would become a fateful meeting.'

Natalie says that she was incredibly impressed with Salzman from the start, and in awe of her accomplishments.

She also notes that her cocktail of vitamins and supplements she prescribed to Salzman worked out in the end for the future cult founder.

The two grew close, and she began to tell Salzman about her problems with her boyfriend, Raniere.

That lead to Salzman and Raniere meeting, and in 1998 Nxivm was born.

By then Natalie was done with Raniere and his followers, but still had to endure Salzman and her attacks for years, with the two taking everything she had from her money and property to her businesses. 

It took just four hours of deliberation for a jury to find the Nxivm founder guilty on multiple counts related to his actions while overseeing the cult-like enterprise.

He is now facing life in prison after being convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking.

Raniere was also convicted on all 11 underlying counts of racketeering that fell under the wire fraud charge.

Former members of Nxivm and DOS burst into applause when the verdict was read,  including Natalie.

'Keith maintains his innocence. It's a very sad day for him,' his lawyer Marc Agnifilo said outside court.

'I think he's not surprised, but he maintains that he didn't mean to do anything wrong.'

The case was largely centered around the secretive sect of Nxivm called DOS where women were starved, blackmailed, branded and forced to submit to a variety of sexual acts including orgies at the request of their 'master,' Raniere.

Raniere had entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. His sentencing has been scheduled for September 25 and he will continue to be held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn without bail.

The trial lasted for six weeks, during which time multiple women were called to the stand to describe how they served as 'sex slaves' to Raniere and were forced to have his initials branded on their bodies.

These women testified about how they were forced to turn over collateral in the form of damning and often false statements about themselves, while also providing graphic nude photos of themselves, including images of their genitalia.

That was not all either, with Raniere also making demands that the woman stay thin and not trim their pubic hair.

Those two edicts were carried out by the female masters who were each assigned to a group of slaves, and involved most of the women being restricted to just 500 calories per day.

One witness described how Raniere imprisoned her in a room for two years, while an FBI agent showed jurors the graphic nude photos of a 15-year-old Nxivm member that he discovered on Raniere's hard drive.

It was also revealed during the trial that Raniere had raped that girl, who is the younger sister of the woman imprisoned by the cult leader.

Both of those women were forced to have abortions at one point as well after becoming pregnant.

The women have a third sister who was also involved in the group. She has a child with Raniere.

'Over the last seven weeks, this trial has revealed that Raniere, who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact a massive manipulator, a con man and the crime boss of a cult-like organization involving sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion compelled abortions, branding, degradation and humiliation,' US Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement shortly after the verdict was read on Wednesday.

'The evidence proved that Raniere was truly a modern-day Svengali.'

He was joined by Moira Penza, the Assistant Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Agnifilo tried to discredit the weeks of testimony in his closing argument after calling no witnesses, including Raniere who refused to take the stand in his own defense.

In his remarks, Agnifilo pinned the blame on Allison Mack and others, portraying his client as an enigmatic and alluring man who did not need to force women into sex. 

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