After tying up Yisrael Bryskman and beating him in 2010, David Wax felt anger, he testified in federal court on Thursday.
The feeling was no carryover from the beating he delivered to Bryskman, whom he was trying to coerce into granting Bryskman’s wife a divorce under Orthodox Jewish law. Wax was angry that Bryskman had bled on the bedroom carpet inside Wax’s Lakewood home, he told jurors.
“I was angry at him, foolishly, for having put me in this compromised position,” Wax said. “I snapped and lost it.”
Wax testified for a second day in the trial of Rabbi Mendel Epstein, his son and two other rabbis, who are accused of kidnapping men so they would grant their wives “gets” — divorces that would be recognized by Orthodox courts.
The prosecution claims that Epstein and his associates would use stun guns, karate chops and handcuffs to persuade recalcitrant men to agree to the gets.
Wax – who is serving as the government’s primary witness – gave a gory detailing of what he said he and Epstein conspired to do in order to convince the husbands to comply, all while charging the wives tens of thousands of dollars for the service.
As Bryskman lay on the carpet, Wax said he dropped a large bag next to him and threatened to stuff him inside and bury him alive in the Poconos, unless he gave up his bank account information.
Henry Mazrek, a lawyer who is representing Epstein’s son, Ari Epstein, tried to get Wax to acknowledge that he acted without the involvement of his client.
“You decided to put on this hat,” Mazrek said to Wax, waving in his hand a white cowboy hat with a dark lace. Wax told investigators that he donned the hat as he beat Bryskman.
Some time after 2 a.m. that night, Wax called a cab so the two men could ride around and take money out of ATM machines, he said.
Wax’s wife followed the taxi in a sports utility vehicle that Wax told Bryskman was full of an “Italian team of thugs.”
When the taxi driver questioned what had happened to the bruised and bloody Bryskman, Wax made a drinking motion with his hand and said that Bryskman had tried to hit on his wife, so he’d had to “knock him the —- out,” according to previous testimony that Mazrek read in court.
As they rode through the streets of Lakewood, Bryskman had already agreed to grant the get, Wax said. But rather than let him go, Wax tried to get $100,000 out of him, he testified.
Wax claims that he wanted the $100,000, not for his own pockets, but to give to Bryskman’s wife for overdue child support.
Before dropping off Bryskman at a home in Brooklyn, the two men stopped at a bagel shop, Wax said.
“We wanted to buy him breakfast,” Wax said. “We offered him a muffin.”