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Leader of Ohio Amish sect loses his bid for a new trial
Federal judge says he was rightfully convicted of a hate crime

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M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

The leader of a breakaway Amish sect in eastern Ohio has lost his first attempt at a retrial on hate crimes. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

SCHULTZE: Judge considers Mullet's objections

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Sam Mullet Sr. was convicted on federal charges including planning the religiously motivated attacks in which his followers cut off the hair and beards of people who had broken away from his sect. 

He challenged those convictions on three grounds: there wasn’t enough evidence, there’s newly discovered evidence, and allowing a jury to hear evidence about his sexual relationships with his daughters-in-law was a miscarriage of justice.

Any one of those three was – he argued – enough to set aside his conviction.

He lost the argument.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster conceded that Mullet did not personally participate in the attacks, but a jury reached a verdict beyond a reasonable doubt that he – as bishop of Bergholz “ran his community with an iron fist” -- and participated in the conspiracy.

As for newly discovered evidence – an AP reporters notes and tape recordings – the judge says that’s not new at all. 

As for an AP article and other evidence of sexual relations, the judge said he asked during the trial if there were any objection to its admission, and that Mullet’s lawyer stayed silent. 

Mullet, said the judge, “viewed anyone who criticized, disagreed with, or disobeyed him as meriting punishment,” and the attacks were part of that and a hate crime.

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