The trial of Nechemya Weberman, a Hasidic rabbi and counselor who has been accused of sexually abusing a teen girl in Brooklyn for years, took another disturbing turn today when multiple people were taken into custody for taking photos of the victim and the defendant in court. "There are now 3 people in custody over 2 alleged photos illegally taken in court. One of alleged victim on stand. The other of defendant," tweeted WSJ reporter Pervaiz Shallwani. They were able to email or Tweet the photos before their phones were confiscated; one of the photos (with blacked out faces) is above.
"Bombshell: 2 people are being held for taking a picture of the alleged victim while she was on the stand and emailing it out," tweeted Daily News court reporter Oren Yaniv earlier today. "Possible contempt charges against the two. Right now, all spectators are now giving their phones for safekeeping...Also, someone took a picture of the defense lawyer and defendant inside the courtroom--less serious but still not permitted." He added that he heard from multiple sources "that those detained in picturegate--not arrested yet--are Satmar guys who do news work in some capacity."
Yaniv now says, "Four men are being questioned right now in connection to picturegate in #webermantrial. Photos were taken both today and yesterday."
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, a family friend of the victim and director of the Center for Jewish Family Life, also tweeted about the incident from the courtroom. He also said that two detectives have been assigned to protect the victim for the rest of the trial: "Over the past 2 days, there have been threats made to victim's supporters from Williamsburg who attended trial," he tweeted. "Seems that the cops are looking into this and the enhanced scrutiny is part of that effort. kudos to DA."
He added: "People keep asking me why i got involved here the way i am. in the past 24 hours you are seeing a tiny, tiny slice of what the victim's families are enduring. if this is what they are doing IN COURT, could you imagine what is going on away from the cameras. I have been very quiet thus far, just supporting family."