No new trial, no acquittal for Amish sect leader convicted in Ohio beard-cuttings
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Amish sect leader Sam Mullet, convicted on federal hate-crimes charges in connection with a series of beard-cutting attacks on other Amish in Ohio, will not be acquitted or get a new trial, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland refused to overturn the convictions of Mr. Mullet and his 15 followers, all but one of whom are related to him.
Mr. Mullet and his lawyer argued that Mr. Mullet did not participate in the attacks and that knowledge of them was not enough for a conviction.
But prosecutors said he orchestrated the assaults and the judge agreed.
Mr. Mullet's attorney, Ed Bryan, also argued that testimony from Mr. Mullet's daughter-in-law about a sexual relationship she had with him tainted the jury because the allegations did not concern the beard- and hair-cuttings and the government brought no charges related to sex.
The prosecution introduced that testimony to show Mr. Mullet's control over his community in Bergholz, Jefferson County.
Mr. Bryan said that testimony should not have been allowed, but the judge sided again with the Justice Department.
Mr. Mullet and Mr. Bryan had also argued for acquittal on the grounds that the judge shouldn't have allowed an Associated Press story based on an interview with Mr. Mullet to be introduced as evidence because they said his statements were taken out of context.
The story quoted Mr. Mullet saying, "We know what we did and why we did it. We excommunicated some members here because they didn't want to obey the rules of the church."
The judge ruled that Mr. Mullet didn't dispute the accuracy of that story during trial, so it's too late now.
Mr. Mullet and his followers are scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 24 in Cleveland. He faces a decade in federal prison.
First Published December 7, 2012 9:21 am