RELIGION

Rabbis convicted in forced divorces want verdicts overturned

Three Orthodox rabbis have asked a federal appeals court to overturn their convictions on charges they played roles in a ring that used brutal tactics to force unwilling Jewish men to divorce their wives.

Their lawyers argued Wednesday that investigators violated their clients' constitutional rights. They also told the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Philadelphia that there had been judicial errors during the trial.

Federal prosecutors disputed those claims.

Rabbis Mendel Epstein, Jay Goldstein and Binyamin Stimler were convicted in 2015 on charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Epstein, the accused ringleader, was sentenced to 10 years. Goldstein got an eight-year term, while Stimler received a three-year sentence.

The attacks were carried out from 2009 to 2013 in New Jersey, New York City and other locations.