RELIGION

Judge rejects defense bid for mistrial in case of rabbi accused of running divorce kidnap team

  • Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 69, arrives at federal court as the jury deliberations continue into the third day in his case Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Trenton, N.J.  The Orthodox rabbi is accused of using brutal tactics to force unwilling Jewish men to divorce their wives. Rabbi Epstein faces charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping with his son and two other Orthodox rabbis. Prosecutors say the rabbi's team used brutal methods and tools, including handcuffs and electric cattle prods, to torture the men into granting divorces. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 69, arrives at federal court as the jury deliberations continue into the third day in his case Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Trenton, N.J. The Orthodox rabbi is accused of using brutal tactics to force unwilling Jewish men to divorce their wives. Rabbi Epstein faces charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping with his son and two other Orthodox rabbis. Prosecutors say the rabbi's team used brutal methods and tools, including handcuffs and electric cattle prods, to torture the men into granting divorces. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)  (The Associated Press)

  • Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 69, arrives at federal court as the jury deliberations continue into the third day in his case Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Trenton, N.J.  The Orthodox rabbi is accused of using brutal tactics to force unwilling Jewish men to divorce their wives. Rabbi Epstein faces charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping with his son and two other Orthodox rabbis. Prosecutors say the rabbi's team used brutal methods and tools, including handcuffs and electric cattle prods, to torture the men into granting divorces. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 69, arrives at federal court as the jury deliberations continue into the third day in his case Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Trenton, N.J. The Orthodox rabbi is accused of using brutal tactics to force unwilling Jewish men to divorce their wives. Rabbi Epstein faces charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping with his son and two other Orthodox rabbis. Prosecutors say the rabbi's team used brutal methods and tools, including handcuffs and electric cattle prods, to torture the men into granting divorces. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)  (The Associated Press)

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 (http://on.app.com/1bqlDDZ) 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.

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Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, http://www.app.com