Actress Allison Mack was released on $5 million bond on Tuesday, under stringent conditions including house arrest at her parent’s home in a Los Angeles suburb and wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Mack was arrested by the FBI in New York City on Friday. A three-count indictment accuses her of running a sadistic sex cult called NXIVM with an upstate New York man, Keith Raniere, for which she recruited female members. The two face sex trafficking, conspiracy and forced labor charges.
Raniere was captured in Mexico in March. He was returned to the United States and has been ordered held without bail.
At her arraignment late Friday afternoon, Mack’s lawyers asked the federal judge presiding over the case to release Mack on bail, but the judge rejected that request. Mack spent the weekend and Monday in jail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where the charges were brought.
But in front of federal judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky Tuesday, Mack secured her release, by posting her parent’s home where she grew up as a child as collateral, as well as a property she herself owns in upstate New York, her lawyers said. Her mother, Melinda, was in court to sign the bond herself.
In court, Mack was clad in khaki-colored prison-issued scrubs with black slip-on canvas shoes. Her hair appeared freshly washed and well-combed, in contrast to Friday, when it appeared dirty and disheveled.
In addition to home confinement, Mack will be subject to electronic monitoring via an ankle bracelet, and constrained by other conditions, including a ban on her association with any NXIVM members and a prohibition on her access to the internet.
According to federal prosecutors, Mack served as Raniere’s pimp, and used “fraud, force and coercion” to persuade women to join the group. Among her tactics, prosecutors say, was presenting the cult “as a women’s empowerment group or sorority,” which concealed Raniere’s involvement.
The women Mack attempted to recruit include actress Emma Watson and singer Kelly Clarkson, according to Business Insider.
When Mack did convince women to join the group, she allegedly lead ceremonies during which the women were branded with a symbol that, “unbeknownst to them,” included Raniere’s initials. During the rituals, Mack “placed her hands on the slaves’ chests and told them to ‘feel the pain’ and to ‘think of [their] masters,’ as the slaves cried in pain,” prosecutors say.
Meanwhile, a new court filing reveals Mack’s lawyers are engaged in serious plea-bargain negotiations with prosecutors, “which they believe are likely to result in a disposition of this case without trial," according to the filing.
Mack's release was held up while her lawyers retrieved civilian clothes for Mack. She changed out of her prison-issued uniform in a courthouse bathroom before leaving the building.
As photographers and video camera operators jostled for position as she exited the courthouse, several fell to the ground, and a sly smile sprouted on Mack's face.
Mack’s lawyers had no comment.
[Photo: JB NICHOLAS]