CLEVELAND – Some of the 16 people charged in beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish in Ohio are asking not to be required to swear an oath if they testify in federal court.
Pretrial documents filed Monday include the request Amish witnesses be allowed to affirm the truthfulness of their testimony because many Amish don't believe in swearing oaths. The defendants include members of an eastern Ohio breakaway Amish group.
Cutting a man's beard or a woman's hair is considered highly offensive to the Amish.
Prosecutors say the attacks were hate crimes. The defendants say they were internal church disciplinary matters not involving anti-Amish bias.
Defendants including Sam Mullet Sr. want to delay the Aug. 27 trial. Mullet also wants the court to prohibit references to his finances and terminology portraying his community as a cult or splinter group.