CINCINNATI (AP) — The ringleader of 16 Ohio Amish men and women convicted of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow members of their faith is arguing that government prosecutors are assassinating his character in the face of weak evidence.
In a court filing Monday, Samuel Mullet Jr.'s attorneys argue that the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should reject a request from prosecutors to uphold his conviction and 15-year prison sentence.
The court could rule any time.
Mullet's attorneys argue the government overstepped its bounds in prosecuting Mullet and that the hair- and beard-cutting attacks did not amount to hate crimes.
Prosecutors argue that the hair- and beard-cutting was ritualistic violence based on religion and was designed to shame fellow Amish accused of straying from strict religious interpretations.