Prosecutors use WKYC-TV footage in Amish trial

7:51 PM, Sep 10, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Federal prosecutors used footage of WKYC's Reporter Dick Russ's Oct. 9 interview with Bergholz sect leader Samuel Mullet Sr. Monday in trial in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

The trial of the 16 Amish men and women accused of involvement in the cutting of hair and beards of other Amish began its third week Monday.

While Mullet Sr. is not accused of doing the actual cutting, federal prosecutors say that he encouraged the other 15 defendants to carry out the raids.

WKYC's Dick Russ was the first reporter to track down Mullet in Bergholz in October, only days after the second and third of four attacks had taken place.

WKYC was the only TV station that managed to interview Samuel Mullet Sr.

He interviewed Mullet Sr. as Mullet Sr. sat atop a bulldozer on his 880-acre farm in Bergholz.

Watch the interview video

At the time of Russ' interview, Mullet Sr. had not been charged with a crime.

In the Oct. 9 interview, the leader of a breakway Amish sect denied he had anything to do with a series of beard-cutting attacks which took place in several counties in Eastern Ohio in September and October.

One more attack occured later in November.

Mullet Sr. did admit that he knew about the raids, in which Amish men have their beards cut off, and Amish women and men have had their hair cut, but had nothing to do with the incidents.

"They say I did but they don't believe anything I say," Mullet said then, perched atop a bulldozer near the entrance of the road which houses his family enclave.

"Because I'm the oldest here and I'm the bishop, I'm responsible."

Authorities in Jefferson County suspected a connection between the raids and Mullet's sect, which includes about 18 families who broke away from the mainstream Amish community.

Sheriffs of four counties were looking into filing criminal charges in connection with the Amish-on-Amish attacks.

Mullet Sr. said whoever is responsible for the attacks, in which a truckful of Amish men are said to approach a house and eventually attack its occupants, has religious, not criminal motivation.

"It's all religion," he maintained, "that's why we can't understand why the sheriff has his nose in our business. It started with us excommunicating members that weren't listening or obeying our laws. That's where it all started. I didn't know the courts could stick their nose in religion, but that seems what they did here."

The trial is being held before U.S. District Judge Daniel Polster.


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