TRENTON, N.J. – A judge in New Jersey has ordered two rabbis and eight associates held in federal custody after being accused of plotting to kidnap and torture a man to force him to grant a religious divorce.
Rabbis Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark, four alleged enforcers and four other associates all appeared in federal court in Trenton on Thursday.
They were arrested in a federal sting that took place in New Jersey and New York. The woman who sought the rabbis' help was actually an FBI agent.
Neither of the rabbis' lawyers spoke at the hearing and no pleas were entered. Lawyers for some other defendants sought to minimize their clients' roles.
But the magistrate ordered all 10 held at least until hearings next week. He said he wasn't prepared to rule on bail requests.