Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The case against an man accused of taking photos of a sex-abuse victim as she testified in a blockbuster 2012 trial took a major hit Tuesday when a Brooklyn judge ruled the photos inadmissible as evidence because court officers didn’t follow search- and-seizure laws, court papers show.
Yona Weissman, 24, was charged with contempt after court officers caught him with photos on his phone of a 17-year-old girl on the stand in the trial of her Hasidic counselor, Nechemya Weberman, who was later convicted of abusing her.
But Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge Michael Gerstein ruled Tuesday that while the officers were allowed to seize Weissman’s phone when they suspected he had violated courthouse rules against photography, they should not have “compelled” him to show them the photos without a warrant.
“Nobody saw him take photos in the courtroom. Without the photos there’s no evidence against him,” said Weissman’s defense attorney, Izzy Fried.
Weberman was convicted of abusing the girl and is serving a 50-year prison sentence.
“We are reviewing the decision,” a Brooklyn district-attorney spokeswoman said.
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