Trial told that get-gang rabbi 'discussed using cattle prod on male genitalia'


It does not look promising when one lawyer's main line of defence includes the claim that razor blades at the scene of a crime were there to sharpen the quills to sign a ceremonial document.

But little runs straight in the sometimes brutal, sometimes surreal trial of Rabbi Mendel Epstein and the alleged gang of rabbinical "tough guys" he is accused of recruiting to force recalcitrant husbands to issue gets to their wives.

The recent defence tactic has been to discredit the witnesses, David Wax and Menachem Teitelbaum.

In the eight days since the trial started in Trenton, New Jersey, on February 18, US District Judge Freda Wolfson and a 16-person jury have heard tapes of Epstein discussing the application of cattle prods to male genitalia, watched footage of Epstein discussing the process of jumping and hooding husbands and, on March 2, heard Mr Teitelbaum testify to having seen a beating allegedly carried out by Epstein's three accomplices - Jay Goldstein, Binyamin Stimler (both rabbis) and Epstein's son, David, known as "Ari".

Epstein senior, referred to by some in the media as the Charedi "Prodfather", is alleged to have plotted kidnappings and beatings between 2009 and 2013. These include a kidnapping he oversaw for Special Agent Jessica Weisman, who approached him undercover using the name "Rachel Marconi".

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