Allison Mack and her attorneys have asked a federal judge to forgo jail time for her crimes in connection with Keith Raniere and the NXIVM sex cult case, saying that her life has been “turned around” after reconnecting with her family and pursuing studies at University of California at Berkeley.
Mack’s sentencing memo emphasizes that the former “Smallville” star has fully renounced her belief in Raniere. She has been under house arrest at her family home in Orange County for more than three years and is “earnestly dedicated to her rehabilitation,” the memo states.
Prosecutors last week asked U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis for leniency on sentencing given guidelines that call for a sentence of 14 to 17 years.
Since her arrest in April 2018, Mack, 38, has worked for a catering business, obtained an associate’s degree from an unnamed community college and she has enrolled to pursue a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley.
As such, Mack “therefore respectfully asks the Court to permit her to continue down this path of growth and reform by imposing a sentence without incarceration, and which would permit her to continue her academic studies.”
In a letter to the judge that was filed with the sentencing documents, Mack apologized for her actions.
“It is now of paramount importance for me to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry,” Mack’s letter states. “I threw myself into the teachings of Keith Raniere with everything I had. I believed, whole-heartedly, that his mentorship was leading me to a better, more enlightened version of myself. I devoted my loyalty, my resources, and, ultimately, my life to him. This was the biggest mistake and regret of my life.”
Multiple character reference letters were also filed to the judge, though the authors’ names were redacted. The memo offers details of Mack’s indoctrination to Raniere, who was known to manipulate his female followers into serving as “slaves” as part of his supposed self-help program. Federal prosecutors have described NXIVM as a multi-level marketing scheme with a sinister side that involved Mack helping to organize a group of women into a sex cult that revolved around Raniere. Some participants even submitted to being mutilating through human branding of a symbol that incorporated Raniere’s initials.
“Her brainwashing complete, Ms. Mack acquiesced in Raniere’s sick fantasies and, to her unending regret, became a ‘master’ as well as Raniere’s ‘slave.’ The fact that Raniere was able to turn Ms. Mack into an agent of trauma is appalling, but consistent with the structure and function of cults like NXIVM,” the memo states.
Large portions of the sentencing memo are redacted. The 42-page report also details Mack’s efforts to help prosecutors following her arrest. The memo states it took Mack a few months to emerge from Raniere’s grip.
“Now that the blinders of the NXIVM cult have been removed, Ms. Mack recognizes that her actions were abhorrent. The Allison Mack of today barely recognizes who she was during those dark times,” the memo states.
Mac eventually told prosecutors “everything she knew” about Raniere and others charged with NXIVM-related crimes. In addition to Raniere, several others connected to NXIVM were convicted of racketeering and other charges, including Seagram Co. heiress Clare Bronfman who was sentenced to 81 months in October. Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison at the same time following his conviction sex trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering charges.
The sentencing memo also included a number of letters testifying to the changes Mack has made in her life and the remorse she feels for her actions. The list includes a detailed letter from her mother, Mindy Mack, as well as letters from her older brother and younger sister, friends and teachers at the unnamed community colleges that she has attended via Zoom.
According to her mother’s letter, Mack earned an associate’s degree in spring 2020 with a 4.0 grade point average. She’s since attended classes at UC Berkeley and is scheduled to graduate in Spring 2022 with a double major in Rhetoric and Psychology. She has also worked an average of five to 10 hours a week for a catering company, something her mother called “a marvelous experience” for her daughter, who has been working as an actor and model since she was four. Mack’s father, Jonathan, was a professional opera singer.
“Coming from a background in show business, Allison had always been the one being served. In her catering position she was now the one serving, giving her an entirely new perspective,” Mindy Mack wrote. The sentencing memo, on the other hand, characterizes Mindy Mack as the instigator of her daughter’s performing career: After describing the Mack family as “tight-knit” and the kind that frequently went on camping trips. But when Allison was 4, “this trajectory changed when Ms. Mack’s mother began to involve Ms. Mack in the child acting and modeling industry,” states the memo penned by Allison Mack attorneys William McGovern and Sean Buckley of Kobre & Kim.
The letters from family and friends also emphasize the severity of Raniere’s grip on the Mack, who frightened her family with extreme weight loss and her lack of ties to her siblings and parents during her 12 years with NXIVM. During her house arrest period, Allison Mack has worked to repair her relationships with her family. “As my son observed, We’ve had Hollywood Allison and NXIVM Allison and now we finally have Our Allison back!” Mindy Mack wrote.
Mack’s attorneys also detail how the young woman was a breadwinner for her family at a young age, paying tuition for her siblings and other family bills by the time she was a regular on the long-running CW drama “Smallville,” which ran from 2001-2011. Mack first came into contact with Raniere through the Executive Success Program self-help seminars that his followers offered in Vancouver, where “Smallville” was shot.
“In 2016 she came to our house telling us she was on day 7 of a 10 day cleanse and ate absolutely nothing. She was almost in a daze the whole time,” her brother, Shannon, wrote to the judge.
Younger sister Robyn told Garaufis that her middle sibling was a changed person.
“I often reflect on her arrest as a blessing in disguise: never in my life have I felt so deeply immersed in sisterhood as I do now. She is an invaluable member of our family, and is unafraid to speak truth when we need to hear it. Her indomitable thirst for responsible, honest, compassionate living permeates every interaction she has and every challenge she undertakes. Allison strives for a softer, kinder, more accountable lifestyle,” she wrote.
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