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Top NYC criminal defense lawyer: Allison Mack may win at trial – use ‘brainwashing’ defense; Lauren Salzman likely ‘dagger’ witness against her

Hollywood Life has a story on Allison Mack and presents observations from noted NYC criminal defense lawyer, David M. Schwartz.

He told HollywoodLife that Lauren Salzman’s guilty plea might be a “dagger” for Allison Mack. But she could still win her case at trial.

Schwartz, a regular guest legal commentator for Fox News, NBC Today Show, MSNBC, and Court TV, is also a Commissioner on the Commission on Judicial Nomination, a Trustee of the Brooklyn Bar Association, was Assistant District Attorney in Kings County prior to going into private practice and is listed on  He practices in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.

Swartz told HollywoodLife, “If Allison’s lawyers can show that Keith Raniere has been brainwashing her, that is a good defense, and that may be very defensible in trial, and she may even win. They may believe she did not have the requisite mens rea to commit the crime, meaning the intent. If you don’t have the intent to commit a crime, because you were brainwashed, than that is knocking out a particular element of the crime, and that becomes a trial issue. Not everybody pleads, people go to trial, that’s what trials are all about. If you have a defense, you don’t plead guilty, and you go to trial.”

Swartz also told Hollywood Life that’s it’s likely that Lauren Salzman made a deal to turn on Allison as well as Keith Raniere.

Swartz said, “It is pretty clear to me that the reason why they would have Lauren plead guilty at this point would be to have her testify at the trial and cooperate. They sealed her court documents [which suggests] that Lauren is cooperating. What appears to be happening is that Lauren has made a deal to testify. And as long as everything that she testifies to can be corroborated through independent evidence, then yes I would say it is a dagger against all the defendants, including Allison Mack.”

As far as Allison making a plea deal, Swartz said, “The trial is scheduled for this month so she has a very short window to plead guilty and get a plea deal. You can always plead guilty at any point in the trial, but as far as cooperation goes, you want to be the first one in. Now that Lauren Salzman has plead guilty, and most likely made a deal, the train may have left the station for Allison getting a deal because they may have enough to get Keith Raniere already, and they may not need Allison anymore.”

Swartz said that if Allison does go to trial and is found guilty of the charges against her, she faces 20 years in prison and may have to register as a sex offender.

“These are very serious charges,” he said.

HollywoodLife also linked to Frank Report and names me in the story, writing, “Parlato was the first to blow the whistle on the alleged branding of women going on within DOS…  He tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY why it will be especially bad for Allison if her co-conspirator Lauren has indeed made an agreement to cooperate with the feds. Parlato claims that ‘Lauren was one of the leaders of the secret society called DOS. Even though Allison Mack was the so-called leader, they were both front-line slave masters and they worked hand-in-hand. What Lauren brings to the table is that she can testify to inside information and a be a direct witness to the original plans to sex-traffic these women.’

“According to Frank, it is also likely that India Oxenberg — who was famously rescued from NXIVM by her Dynasty star mom Catherine Oxenberg — will be testifying against Allison in the NXIVM trial.

“’Allison was India’s slave master. India will probably be called as a witness and a victim and she will be testifying against Allison,” Frank revealed to us.

“It should be noted that one of the defendants standing trial alongside Allison Mack and Keith Raniere is billionaire liquor heiress Claire Bronfman and in 2011, she sued Frank Parlato, whom she had hired as a consultant, alleging he had defrauded her and her sister of $1 million. That charge has since been dropped. In spite of the lawsuit, Frank never wavered in his efforts to see NXIVM and its leaders brought to justice.”

“…. Frank Parlato…  believes strongly that Allison will land behind bars. ‘The last time Allison was outside of court she was crying,’ he told us. ‘February 28, was the last time she was in court, and she was crying outside. The happy girl that put on a happy face at all the previous hearings finally realized that she wasn’t going to get a deal without prison time.'”



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  • Mack, at least from my viewpoint, will have an impossible amount of barriers if she and her legal representative(s) try to claim “brainwashing” made her incapable of being responsible for her actions. Since Bronfman is the director in chief of everyone’s lawyers, wouldn’t it be implicit that she is receiving the most bang for her buck? For quite awhile, I’ve envisioned Mack as the one with the most potential to be used as a fall guy, not that she hasn’t earned it to quite an extent. She might be used to take some heat off others more valuable to Bronfman, namely Raniere and herself.

    There appears, so far, to be no hint that Bronfman has turned against Raniere or that she will, despite requesting a separation of their cases. Anything that any of the defense attorneys in this situation tries to do would inevitably be known by Bronfman beforehand, sitting in her ivory tower.

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