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Ohio Amish defendants: Ban cult reference at trial

Seven of the 16 people charged in beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish in Ohio want any references to a cult or renegade group banned from their upcoming trial.

The defendants asked a federal judge in Cleveland on Monday to prohibit such references as prejudicial. The prosecution will get a chance to respond before the judge rules.

They also want banned any references to a clan, schism, breakaway or splinter Amish group.

The defendants are charged with forcibly cutting the beards and hair of men and the hair of women, acts considered deeply offensive in Amish culture.

The defendants say the attacks were internal church disciplinary matters not involving anti-Amish bias. They have pleaded not guilty and rejected plea bargains that offered leniency.

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