Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Trial set for rabbi accused of running divorce kidnap team

18 February 2015, 12:28

Trenton — A rabbi who prosecutors say employed a kidnap team to force unwilling Jewish husbands to divorce their wives is set to stand trial.

Openings arguments are expected Wednesday in Rabbi Mendel Epstein's trial on charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping. Prosecutors allege that the Orthodox rabbi's team used brutal methods and tools, including handcuffs and electric cattle prods, to torture the men into granting divorces.

"If it can get a bull that weighs 5 tons to move, you put it in certain parts of his body and in one minute the guy will know," prosecutors said Epstein told two undercover FBI agents posing as a brother and sister trying to force the sister's husband to grant the ritual Jewish divorce known as a "get." Prosecutors say he was recorded telling the agents the effort would cost at least $50,000.

The kidnap team brought surgical blades, a screwdriver and rope to a staged kidnapping in 2013, according to the indictment. Epstein, who was indicted last May along with his son and three other Orthodox rabbis, told the undercover agents he arranged similar kidnappings every year or year and a half, the indictment said.

Also read: Cops kill kingpin, free abducted hotel director

Several co-defendants have pleaded guilty in the case and others will go on trial with Epstein.

Defense lawyer Robert Stahl disputed the charges and called Epstein a "champion of women's rights." Epstein wrote the 1989 book "A Woman's Guide to the Get Process."

"I think that a lot of information will come out about the supposed victims, and the evidence will not be there that he was involved in certain incidents," Stahl said last week. "Much more will come to light once the trial gets under way."

Epstein is free on bail. No one answered the door last week at his two-story house in Lakewood, a community near the Jersey shore where more than 60,000 Orthodox Jews reside.

- AP

Tags us

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...