Federal jurors convict rabbi trio in plot to terrorize Jewish men into divorce


Three Orthodox Jewish rabbis were convicted today for their roled in a scheme to kidnap and torture a Jewish man into granting his wife a religious divorce.

Mendel Epstein, 69, of Lakewood (above, left), Jay “Yaakov” Goldstein, 60, and 39-year-old Binyamin Stimler, both of Brooklyn, were each found gulty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Goldstein and Stimler also were convicted of attempted kidnapping following three days of deliberation after an eight-week trial in U.S. District Court in Trenton.

Epstein’s son, 40-year-old David “Ari” Epstein of Lakewood, was found not guilty of three counts.

Federal prosecutors said eight men went to a warehouse in Edison on Oct. 9, 2013 with the intent of forcing a married man into a “get” — a divorce document that, under Jewish law, must be presented by a husband to his wife in order to divorce her.

Some wore Halloween masks and another a Metallica T-shirt, while carrying rope, flashlights, surgical blades, a screwdriver, and plastic bags, authorities said.

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