Third Circuit Affirms Conviction Of Rabbis In Kidnapping Case
NEWARK, N.J. – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit today affirmed the convictions of three Orthodox rabbis who were convicted at trial of conspiring to kidnap Orthodox Jewish husbands who refused to grant their wives permission to divorce, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
In a precedential opinion in the consolidated appeals of Orthodox rabbis Binyamin Stimler, Jay Goldstein, and Mendel Epstein, the appeals court affirmed the convictions in all respects.
The goal of the conspiracy was to coerce the recalcitrant husbands to grant a “get” – permission to obtain a religious divorce – to their wives. On appeal, the defendants raised numerous claims, including a constitutional challenge to a federal statute and a claim that the prosecution violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman Gross and Glenn J. Moramarco of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Appeals Division in Camden.