Undercover FBI agent takes stand during rabbi’s trial
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A co-defendant told undercover FBI agents looking for a divorce that a fellow rabbi on trial for allegedly torturing men into granting divorces was a “hired hand.”
Mendel Epstein is accused of using a kidnap team to force Jewish men to divorce their wives. His attorney, Robert Stahl, disputes the charges and says Epstein is a “champion of women’s rights.”
On Thursday, prosecutors played recordings made by FBI agents posing as a brother and sister trying to obtain a divorce from the sister’s husband.
The other rabbi is heard saying that Epstein could be a “hired hand” to help them. Epstein speaks with the agents later that day and agrees to meet them.
An expert witness testified earlier that nonviolent force may be used under religious law to force an unwilling husband to give a divorce, but said some rabbis “perhaps” still use violence.