What Was R. Weingarten Thinking When He Decided To Become His Own Lawyer?

In spite of claims to the contrary , Yisroel Moshe Weingarten (YMW) had a team of lawyers hired by his friend, Menachem Blum, four months before the trial. He dismissed them the day of the trial because he claimed they were not up to the job. There is a great deal of evidence they were thorough, well prepared, and skillful. However Weingarten wanted to do cross examination himself. He had always had full control over his wife and children by using violence, intimidation and with his daughters, sex abuse. Rabbi Stauber described him as manipulating, inflicting terrible beatings, and sexually using his daughter in almost every way.

However, his oldest daughter, Leah, had since broken away from his control and was prepared to testify against him. His oldest son and his ex-wife were prepared to corroborate some of her testimony. His main strategy was to convince the jury that the prosecution witnesses were lying because they could not stand up to cross-examination. His backup strategy was to get the children still living with him to lie and claim their mother and Leah had molested the other children. Both of these strategies depended on his powers of intimidation. He was convinced that he could intimidate if he could conduct the cross-examination.

When that strategy failed and the jury came back with guilty verdicts he turned right around, claimed he was denied his right to have a lawyer, and asked Judge John Gleeson who conducted the trial to throw out the verdict. The judge wrote a lengthy reply explaining why he was rejecting that motion and other motions before sentencing (Memo and Order to Deny Retrial; for a free downloadable copy go here and go through free registration).

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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