Thursday, September 20, 2012
An explicit video of an underage girl having sex with her boyfriend will remain locked in a safe at the Brooklyn district attorney's office — for now.
The tape is a point of contention in the ongoing case against Nechemya Weberman, 53, a Hasidic spiritual counselor charged last year with sexually abusing the same girl.
His attorneys want the video and related investigative files made available to jurors in Weberman's trial, scheduled to begin next month.
They argue that the tape, secretly recorded by the girl's father with Weberman's involvement, triggered her "extreme" anger at Weberman, and a vengeful accusation that he forced her to have sex with him.
Supreme Court Judge John Ingram today denied the request, citing the "very sensitive nature of that videotape." He also noted that Weberman's name only appeared once in the case file, and that investigators never interviewed Weberman about the video. The boyfriend was never charged.
But Weberman won a lesser victory when Ingram agreed to review the file again for evidence of the girl's "traumatized" emotional state, which could be used as legal leverage to have the tape admitted.
"If she's very disturbed, she might very well take those feelings out on the person she holds responsible," said defense attorney Michael Farkas.
Weberman was charged in February 2011 with forcing the then 16-year-old girl to perform oral sex on him during spiritual counseling sessions.
She claims the abuse began when she was 12.
Weberman's tight-knit community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has rallied to his defense, raising money for his high-powered legal team and packing the courtroom with supporters at his hearings.
In June, four other ultra-Orthodox Jewish men were charged with trying to bribe or silence the girl and her boyfriend.
Weberman's trial is scheduled to begin October 30.
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