News & Opinion | July 26, 2018 5:00 am

Seagram’s Liquor Heiress Clare Bronfman Charged in Sex Trafficking Case

Bronfman pleaded not guilty to charges connected to her role at Nxivm.

clare bronfman
Clare Bronfman, center, leaves federal court, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Brooklyn after her arrest on conspiracy and racketeering charges in connection with her role at Nxivm, a self-help group that prosecutors have called a pyramid scheme and former members have called a cult, according to The New York Times. 

Bronfman was released on a $100 million bond, which is about half of her net worth. She was placed under house arrest as well, and will have to wear an ankle monitor at her New York apartment under the terms of her release. She will return to court on Friday.

Bronfman was one of four people arrested in New York State on Tuesday after the unsealing of an updated seven-count indictment against Keith Raniere, leader of Nxivm, and five others in his “inner circle,” reports The Times. Raniere was arrested earlier this year and faces sex-trafficking charges. Prosecutors say he and one of his followers, former Smallville actress Allison Mack, coerced female members to have nonconsensual sex with Raniere and branded them with a symbol containing his initials.

The indictment describes Bronfman as a member of Nxivm’s executive board and one of the group members “accorded special positions of trust and privilege” by Mr. Raniere for carrying out “his directives,” according to The Times.