TRENTON, N.J. – A federal judge has rejected a request by defense lawyers to declare a mistrial in the case of an Orthodox rabbi accused in New Jersey of using brutal tactics to force unwilling Jewish men to divorce their wives.
The Asbury Park Press reports the ruling came Tuesday after the defense lawyers reported an error in the indictment given to the jury as it started deliberations last week.
The error involved a comment mistakenly attributed to Rabbi Mendel Epstein. It initially was discovered in January and was changed before the trial started.
It’s unclear how the erroneous sentence remained in the indictment. Prosecutors say it doesn’t merit a mistrial.
The judge agrees, saying a “strongly worded curative instruction” delivered orally to the jury in the courtroom is the appropriate remedy.