Yesterday, the already disturbing trial of Nechemya Weberman—a Hasidic counselor who has been accused of sexually abusing a teen girl in Brooklyn for years— took another disturbing turn when four people were taken into custody for photographing the victim in court. Those four men—including one who has been identified as "Lemon Juice"—were arrested and have now been charged with criminal contempt in the second degree; they could serve up to one year in jail. "This is on the Internet now," Supreme Court Justice John Ingram told the four ultra-Orthodox men. "It's probably streamed all over the world."
The four men—who have been identified by prosecutors as Joseph Fried, Yona Weisman, Abraham Zupnick and, seriously, Lemon Juice (you can see his driver's license here)—are accused of taking photos of the now 17-year-old victim while she was testifying in court on Wednesday and Thursday. They were able to email it out before they were caught—you can see one of the photos (with blacked out faces) above. Nine cell phones were confiscated altogether by Ingram.
“What you have done, apparently, is take the photos in the courtroom yesterday and today,” Ingram said. “You know about the law, you know about the Torah, you know about rabbinical courts — this is a civil court.” He added, “You might want to avail yourself of counsel. Never come into my courtroom ever again and bring a phone with you.”
“Now we have to take all their phones, just like in a gang trial,” one law-enforcement source told the Post. “It’s the same thing you have with the Bloods or the Crips.” As Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, a family friend of the victim and director of the Center for Jewish Family Life, previously said, this isn't the first time allies of Weberman have been accused of trying to intimidate the witness: back in June, prosecutors charged four Williamsburg men with attempting to silence her by offering her a $500,000 bribe to not participate in the case. The teen also testified that her parents brought her to a rabbinical court in an unsuccessful attempt to convince her to drop the charges.
Altogether, the victim testified for 15 hours over the course of four days this week about how Weberman sexually abused her (including forcing her to perform oral sex on him) during their counseling sessions, which happened four times a week during a three year period starting when she was 12-years-old. As Daily News court reporter Oren Yaniv put it, "That's probably the longest I've seen anybody testify, let alone alleged sex victim."
If you're looking for more information about the case and Nechemya Weberman, look no further than this long and detailed essay by his cousin, AJ Weberman. He gives a lot of background on the Weberman family and why the suspect seems to have such widespread support among the Satmar community. Keep in mind that the author doesn't seem to have a very rosy view of his cousin: "The bottom line here is that Nechemya molested young virgin harmless children when they came to him for help. He is a serial rapist. He should be suspended by his testicles or as we say in Brooklyn, hung by his balls."