Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman wept in court Friday as family members signed on to pay her whopping $100 million bond, so she can stay out of jail while awaiting trial for her role in an upstate sex-slave cult.
Dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt and baggy slacks, a blubbering Bronfman, 39, wiped tears from under her glasses as Brooklyn federal court Judge Nicholas Garaufis reminded her mom and brother in law that they’re there to keep her honest.
“I think she knows the responsibility as well,” said Basit Igtet, a Libyan entrepreneur who is married to Bronfman’s sister, Sara.
“She appreciates what we have taken on for her.”
Bronfman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly helping Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere by stealing the email passwords of his “perceived enemies,” racking up charges on his dead ex-girlfriend’s credit card, committing identity theft and laundering money.
Garaufis set the sky-hail bond — and ordered Bronfman to be kept on home detention with an ankle monitor — after prosecutors argued the wealthy scion is worth roughly $200 million, owns an island in Fiji and has access to a private jet.
Her sister Sara — a former devout Nxivm member herself — was supposed to co-sign the bond, but couldn’t travel on short notice from her home in France because she’s nursing a new child, so Igtet came instead, defense attorney Susan Necheles said.
“Their relationship has been strained but he is married to Miss Bronfman’s sister and is committed to her,” said Necheles.
Igtet at one point gave his sister-in-law’s shoulder a supportive squeeze, while mom Georgiana Havers — a socialite who lives in England and is now married to actor Nigel Havers — sat next to Bronfman before the hearing began.
The bond likely won’t be finalized for several weeks, however, because prosecutors said they still only have a hazy picture of Bronfman’s full finances.
“We have records indicating there are two major trusts that were restructured in April 2018, we don’t know how many trusts were there before and we don’t know what happened to all of that money,” said Assistant US Attorney Karin Orenstein.
That angered Necheles, who fumed that her client has no “secret account.”
“There’s been no allegation here ever that money ended up in a secret account for Clare Bronfman,” she said. “There never has been any secret account.”
Three other high-ranking Nxivm members — co-founder Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell, its longtime bookkeeper — were also arrested on racketeering charges this week.
Lauren Salman and Russell and are scheduled to be arraigned in Brooklyn later on Friday.
The arrests are part of an ongoing federal investigation into Raniere and his right-hand woman, former ”Smallville” star Allison Mack.
Raniere and Mack are charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy for allegedly coercing women into joining a secretive master-slave group within Nxivm — where “slaves” were forced to pleasure Raniere, have his initials permanently branded onto their skin and perform free labor.
Bronfman, who used her family fortune to bankroll the cult — sinking a reported $150 million into it since joining 15 years ago — says she was not part of the slave group, but has defended it as a harmless “sorority.”
She faces up to 20 years behind bars, and has pleaded not guilty to her charges.