My head is spinning and splitting from the stress and anger of watching this trial. The alleged victim went through 18 hours on the witness stand, most of it nitpicking cross examination.
Obviously they wanted her to break down and lash out so they could establish that she fabricated her abuse because she hates Nechemya Weberman. I have no doubt that she was extensively abused by him. She was incredibly disciplined on the stand and reiterated that she was testifying to protect other children and for her own peace of mind.
The family of the victim has been subjected to shunning, expulsion of their kids from schools and the demolition of their businesses.
The trial was disrupted on Thursday when the judge was informed that one of Weberman’s supporters photographed the alleged victim, a minor, and circulated the photo by email and twitter posting. The judge was furious. He removed the jurors and instructed court officers to collect the cell phones. Four people with court pictures on their phones were arrested and only released after sunset on Friday. Three of those arrested are Weberman defenders. Of those three, one Joseph (Yosle) Fried, also known jokingly to his friends as Yosle Fleet, is an errand boy for Moshe Friedman (aka, Moshe Gabbai) a master manipulator in the Satmar Williamsburg machine of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum and Joseph Niederman. I would not be surprised if Fried was asked to take photos and circulate them to further terrorize the victim’s supporters including her mother, who is scheduled to testify on Monday.
One of those arrested is well known as a supporter of the victim. His name is Lemon Juice a name he chose as an adult in place of Joel Weingarten. He is a nephew of the notorious molester, Yisroel Moshe Weingarten, who is now serving a 30 year sentence for abusing his daughter. I am left wondering whether Lemon Juice photographed Weberman rather than the victim.
The DA is making a fuss about enforcing the law but strangely dropped the charges against Abraham Zupnick from a wealthy Satmar family while maintaining the charges against Lemon Juice as if he was part of a campaign to harass the victim.
The Weberman camp has been conducting a furious PR campaign to augment their harassment campaign. Among their propagandists has been Yossi Gestetner whose last claim to fame was being forced to resign as NYS GOP’s Director of Jewish Outreach. It turned out he was not acceptable to most of the Jews in the Republican Party.
Gestetner was the PR spokesperson for the fundraiser for Nechemya Weberman’s defense fund. He has also been tweeting away during the trial. He nitpicks in the guise of calling for fairness. For example, he attacks a NY Daily News article by Oren Yaniv, tweeting, “a bi-line of a pic on your article says Weberman is a “Prominent Orthodox leader.” That a lie. You are smearing us for nothing!”
That seems absurd but I know where he is coming from. He realizes that Weberman may end up being convicted so he is trying to mitigate the damage by claiming Weberman is just another shmendrik, not a respected figure in Satmar. See Failed Messiah for more about Gestetner and proof that Weberman does call himself a rabbi.
I myself parodied that line of defense in my satirical lecture by a rabbi who says:
Our sonim (enemies) look for chances to make Yiddishkeit (Judaism) look bad. If a goy (gentile) does something they claim he is a Jew. If a Jew does something they claim he is an orthodox Jew. If an orthodox Jew does something they claim he is an ultra orthodox Jew. When a Jew with a beard and tzitzis (ritual fringes) does something they claim he is an ultra orthodox rabbi. Actually, most of those of those accused are goyim, Conservative and Reform Jews, bar mitzvah tutors, cheder teachers, hashgachah (kosher supervision) employees, mental health counselors, or camp and day care operators. They only call themselves Rabbi for the clergy discount. Ignoring reality, the anti Semites run headlines about the arrest of an “ultra orthodox rabbi.”
@TheHasidAnswers tweeted, “@YossiGestenter is the Al Sharpton of Hasidic people. Hateful, ignorant & just plain clueless.”
I leave the descriptions of the titillating details of abuse to other journalists. Of course it was necessary for the jury to hear them and excruciating for the victim to go through them. It was also traumatizing and triggering for other victims of sexual abuse in the courtroom including at least three who were also victims of Weberman.
To most reporters the trial is mostly about the evidence presented to the jury. But to many of us working on the issue in this community for years, the trial was a contest between the old established cover-up and harassment establishment and those who dare to bring molesters to justice in the courts.
I expect a conviction and hefty sentence for Weberman. However, nothing is certain when you are dealing with a jury. Regardless of the jury determination, something has already been gained. Notice has been served on molesters and their protectors that victims will get support and molesters and harassers will get scrutiny and even prosecution.
While the evidence phase of the trial was supposed to end on Monday I suspect it will run longer because time was lost to the long cross examination of the alleged victim and the disruptions caused by the phone picture fracas. The prosecution is expected to put the mother of the victim on the witness stand. The defense says it will put Weberman on the stand. At this point they have to put him on because the jury will be very suspicious if he does not appear after his lawyer promised he would appear.
Supporters, please keep sending messages of support to the victim and keep going to court. Let the world and the orthodox community know that we are not afraid and the molesters and their protectors better start worrying.