Day 3: Opening Arguments, Witness Testifies in Shomrim Trial

BROOKLYN, NY [CHI] — Before opening arguments began on Monday in state supreme court, where six Shomrim volunteers stand trial for an alleged assault, the prosecution notified the court that it will be seeking to revoke bail and may bring charges of witness-tampering before a grand jury against the Shomrim Six in connection to the witnesses being summoned Friday to the Jewish Court of Law, and the community pressure relating to the court case.

On Sunday night, the Israeli yeshiva students who pressed charges, along with attorney Paul Levi Huebner, arrived at the Beth Din at 9:30 PM. None of the rabbinical authorities were present at that time, so the group was told to return at 10:30 PM. When they convened later that night, the rabbinical authorities cautioned the yeshiva students, saying that testifying against fellow Jews is against Jewish law. The students agreed with the Jewish Court and gave their promise to not testify.

The following morning, the prosecution disclosed the matters discussed in the private chambers of the Jewish Court, seeking the incarceration of the Shomrim Six. At the end of the day, the prosecution announced that it is still considering witness-tampering charges but will not seek bail revocation, and asked the judge to warn the defendants against tampering with the witnesses.

Opening Arguments

The prosecution opened its case by telling the jury how it will prove that the Shomrim Six entered 749 Eastern Parkway the night of December 29, 2007, and assaulted helpless rabbinical students. The prosecution went on to say that a video will be shown, “but the video will not tell the whole story,” the assistant prosecuting district attorney said. He added that Shomrim members entered the room and said things like “I want him,” “Kiss my ***,” and “Get that camera.” Two injuries were documented at the hospital that evening: one student suffered a broken eye socket, and another, a broken finger.

Attorneys for the defense argued that the case of the broken finger was actually a broken metacarpal bone, known in laymen’s terms as a “boxer’s fracture,” indicating that the alleged victims may have been the aggressors rather than the defendants.

The defense attorneys further argued that the video evidence presented by the prosecution solely reveals a group of peacemakers standing around the dorm room with their arms by their sides, taking no aggressive action. They added that the defendants were at times surrounded by up to nine yeshiva students.

Sealing its opening address with the matter of motive, the defense highlighted two facts: that these alleged victims have $140 million reasons to lie, which is the amount that Huebner quoted in his lawsuit against Shomrim and the six volunteers individually, and that the volunteer patrol, Shmira’s influence in the case is apparent from their involvement in the witnesses’ reports.

The New York Daily News concluded in their article published today, “The defendants, members of the Shomrim watch group, face 15 years – and prosecutors were serious when they told Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Albert Tomei of possible witness tampering just before opening statements. The six defendants were called to a Yeshiva dorm on Eastern Parkway to break up a fight between four members of the Messianic group and others on Dec. 29, 2007.”

First Witness

Following opening arguments, the prosecution called its first witness, a 23-year-old Canadian native and a current Rabbi in Colombia, who introduced himself as the translator and the go-to for Israeli yeshiva students since he speaks both Hebrew and English. The witness said that he has been living in the yeshiva dorm for the past five years.

During his testimony, the witness had a hard time distinguishing between the Hershkop brothers, three of whom are defendants. In response to why he asked Shomrim members to leave the dorm room on the night in question, the witness stated, “In the past, whenever Shomrim came there, people got hurt.” That statement elicited a call by the defense for mistrial, which the judge denied. The judge asked that the witness testify only that which he was witness to and exclude all speculation or hearsay.

The prosecution continued to question the first witness regarding the assault. The witness recounted in vivid detail how each of the defendants partook in various elements of the assault.

The court proceedings ended early on Monday afternoon and are set to resume on Wednesday, when the defense will open with witness cross-examination.

20 Comments

  • 1. stick up for whats right! wrote:

    please, whoever can, show up for support. one thing is certain, shmiras sickness is definitely turning the community against them. say tehillim, donate, and fight for whats right!

  • 3. CH desperately needs respectable leaders wrote:

    Neither Shomrim nor Shmirah volunteer to patrol the community with altruistic intent. Yes, they are there and do help with the mugging, car break-ins, and petty crime before the police do. However, they both have ulterior motives. Otherwise, they would work hand-in-hand = b’achdus!!

    Our community died Gimmel Tammuz. With the schools focused on preaching [mainly] tznius – leadership [?!?] has forgotten about basic morality, ahavas yisrael, richilus, honesty, etc.

    Why is this being allowed to happen in Crown Heights? Is there no one to stand up to whomever is behind this? This is REALLY an awful chillul shem Lubavitch. To all those that do/say things “in the name of the Rebbe” – it is time to speak-up where it counts and respect his name and not let it be dragged into the city courts, newspapers, and on-line forums.

    There is no way these actions can bring Moshiach one step closer – no matter what flag you’re flying or what it says on your yarmulka.

  • 4. An outside observer wrote:

    Seems from all the news articles on this story that the bochurim aren’t the problem, the 140 million dollar wannabee guy, their lawyer (St.Paul Levi Huebner) is the troublemaker. Remove him and you’ll remove the problem once and for all.

  • 5. backlash wrote:

    Yisroal Shemtov drooped charges on the mishichistim when they beat him up on Rosh chodesh Kislev (by the K.H. two years ago).

    The mishichistim are now suing him for “false arrest”.

    Go figure with whom we are dealing with here.

  • 6. sickened wrote:

    i showed up and listened to this “frum” lubavitch guy testifying.
    What I found most interesting was how he introduced himself to the Jury,

    I am a Rabbi in Colombia and my mission is to spread Goodness and Kindness throughout the world.

    Am I the only one that finds this ironic?

  • 7. sarcastic wrote:

    After hearing the first witness testify in court this past Monday, I pray the Rabonim come out with a letter of how every witness (against the shomrim 6) MUST come testify.

    I can’t wait till this is over, so we can show you all the transcripts.

  • 8. Shakespeare wrote:

    Now what was it that Shakespeare said?

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.

    Should we make him an honorary Shomrim member?

  • 10. Hashem watches over the 6 wrote:

    The Daily News wrote: “the first witness having trouble…”, we see the Yad Hashem here – the same will be for the others who come to testify and there will be a true Didan Notzach for the Shomrim Six!

  • 11. Rifka Drelich wrote:

    b’h
    I happen to agree with Outside observer in the short term though i don’t think it will solve long term problems.

  • 12. avrmi wrote:

    first of all before I start my comment I wanna make myself clear i don’t leave in crown heights I am not a mischest or anti but what a shame that yidden should file charges against their own brothers & go in court &after all that call them self yidden what a shame……u should hide faces & take off ur yachi yarmilkas

  • 13. annoyamous wrote:

    it’s disguisting one Jew doing this to another. Hashem should help and he always does/

  • 14. Pinchos Woolstone wrote:

    The parocial infighting is very sad.
    Crown Heights is a jungle.
    There is no rabbinic direction
    Cynicism abounds.
    Men shave their beards.
    Women dress without concern for Halacha
    Our children are voting with their feet preferring clubs in NYC to our local mosdos
    We need Moshiach to save Lubavitch from self destruction

  • 15. Israelies GET OUT OF THE USA wrote:

    This is why you are not allowed to support any Israelis that come to CH. they have no business here. They come to our community and just make 90% of the problems and when you support them you are supporting everything corrupted thing that they stand for.

    I never mix in to these things but it is just getting to me. I hope the attorney that is clearly going against Bais Din and all the others that side with the attorney will be put in a series Chairim.

  • 16. how can anyone pay that?! wrote:

    $140 million!?????!!!!! wth???! tens of ppl are gonna be in debt for the rest of their life!!!

  • 17. ATT: PInchas Woolstone - wrote:

    I really don’t think it’s necessary to spell out all of our problems, although they are true.
    Yes, truth hurts, but don’t be so realistic ;)

  • 18. confused wrote:

    im alittle confused with all thats happening… will someone explain in short but detailed? thanx…

  • 19. anti mesira wrote:

    when dweck set up the Rabbis in his community he was excommunicated. He is scared to walk in the street without fbi agents. And those rabbis were money laundering for profit. These clowns tried to set up our rabbis for witness tampering for preventing mesirah. They walk the streets in peace and pray in our shuls. Where r we?

  • 20. Eli Federman wrote:

    I’m going to reserve judgment until the video tape is released to the public. The video tape should give us insight into what went down. I’m very happy with the reporting of crownheights.info. Substantive, informative, and unbiased – a rare feat for ch.info especially considering that the owner, Benjamin Lifschitz, is one of the named defendants in this case. Props to Webby or whoever wrote this.

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