Thursday, July 19, 2012
A teenager accused a prominent Hasidic leader of raping her only after she learned he persuaded her father to secretly record her having sex with a boyfriend, defense lawyers argued Wednesday.
The explosive allegation was made in Brooklyn Supreme Court as the trial date for the Satmar leader, Nechemya Weberman, 53, was set for the end of October.
"There is a motive of revenge," defense lawyer George Farkas said when asking to introduce the sex tape evidence at trial.
"I haven't seen the video, but I heard it's very explicit," a source said.
Prosecutors acknowledged the tape was shown to them and that the case against the boyfriend was eventually dropped. They note that Weberman accompanied the father to the district attorney's office in 2010 to make an allegation of statutory rape.
But they argued the decision of the alleged victim, now 17, to accuse Weberman of molesting her at age 12 came after she heard that he molested others.
"We would strongly oppose to bringing in the complainant's other sexual activities," said prosecutor Anthea Bruffee, citing the stringent rape shield law, which generally precludes evidence on victims' sexual conduct.
"You have a high hurdle to leap over," Justice John Ingram told Farkas.
The judge will rule in late August on whether to make an exception to the shield law and allow the jury to hear about the sex tape.
He will also issue a decision on prosecutors' requests to bring other witnesses who claimed Weberman abused them - even though no other charges have been filed against him - and to introduce a Hasidic cultural expert as a witness.
The Williamsburg religious leader was charged in February 2011 with forcing sex acts on the young girl when he served as her counsel after she was deemed unrighteous.
The high-profile case has already seen numerous twists and turns. Four Hasidic men were charged last month with intimidating the accuser and her boyfriend and trying to offer them a $500,000 bribe.
The current beau, who also organized a recent protest against a fund-raiser for Weberman's legal fees, is not the one who was caught on tape with her, sources said.
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