Saturday, February 21, 2015

Epstein Wolmark Torture Trial: Did the FBI get a phoney seruv from the Beis Din of America to entrap Epstein or is it a forgery?

There is a very interesting - and as far as I know - previously unaddressed  question in this  alleged torture for hire case.  The FBI agents playing the "wife" and "her brother" in setting up the sting operation told Epstein and Wolmark that the "wife" had a seruv from the Beis Din of America which they gave to Wolmark. This was one of the items that was seized by the FBI as noted in the complaint (below) by the defendants lawyer. The non-existent husband name was given as Alejandro Marconi.

 Where did the FBI get this seruv? There seem to be 3 alternatives 1) The seruv is a forgery by the FBI. 2) The Beis Din of America provided a phony seruv to the FBI to entrap the defendants. 3) The  Beis Din of America provided a seruv in what they thought was a genuine case - without talking to the husband. Anyone know which of the 3 alternatives is correct?

29 comments :

  1. The FBI wife and brother tell Wolmark, in their very first phone call with him (the FBI audio of this call is linked to below - listed to minute 4:54 as well as other points) that they dealt with Rabbi Weissmann of the RCA/BDA (as well as ORA) to get their seruv. It would have been super-easy for both Wolmark and Epstein to have at least simply placed a phone call to RCA/BDA Rabbi Weissmann to at least verify this couple was legitimate and he knew them and that they didn't just fake the seruv documents. It seems likely that Weissmann and the BDA in fact issued a seruv to this fake FBI husband/wife to demand a Get. In which case this entire case implicates the BDA for issuing a phony seruv to a phony couple who made a false claim against a phone husband on false charges with the BDA buying it all lock, stock and barrel and issuing a seruv against the husband. Which would demonstrate the BDA is capable of issuing seruv's demanding a Get against halacha against innocent husbands.

    http://video.nydailynews.com/Phone-call-audio-from-Rabbi-Epstein-case-28604317

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  2. All the recent and old court documents in United States v. Mendel Epstein:

    https://www.docketalarm.com/cases/New_Jersey_District_Court/3--14-cr-00287/USA_v._EPSTEIN_et_al/

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  3. Another interesting and overlooked aspect of this entire case that has emerged in the courtroom testimony is how and why the FBI originally got involved and opened an investigation and eventually charges against these defendants (Epstein, Wolmark et al). It all started when David Wax and his wife Judy beat Yisroel Briskman in Lakewood into giving his wife in Israel a Get. Luckily, Briskman reported this to the New Jersey police, who took it seriously, and the Waxes were arrested and charged. Since it involved inter-state travel between NY and NJ it became a Federal case. With the Wax couple seriously facing decades in prison on Federal charges the negotiated a plea deal with the FBI. Their case was placed on hold for well over a year, an indication that they became cooperating witnesses against other suspects. As it turned out those other suspects turned out to be Epstein and Wolmark, who the Waxes snitched on to the FBI. Once the FBI did their sting operation against Epstein and Wolmark, Wax from Lakewood cooperating with Federal prosecutors testified in open court this week against Esptein et al.

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  4. A woman comes to a Bais Din and claims she's married and that she wants a divorce. Say the woman is an FBI agent involved in a sting operation. She may very well provide a phone number for her "husband". The Bais Din could even call and speak with the "husband". And even if they don't speak with him, they could issue a standard mail letter, followed by a certified mail letter. This would all seem to be the way to proceed in such a case. I think that's the likeliest scenario of what happened.

    Then if the next Bais Din the FBI goes to contacts the first Bais Din, the first Bais Din could share what happened. The first Bais Din could say they summoned the "husband" and he ignored their summons. This would give the sting operation an air of legitimacy.

    The lesson here can perhaps be learned from Rashi in Sedras Balak quoting the Medrash Tanchuma: "Not from your honey, nor from your sting."

    If the defendants hadn't taken the money, it would have made it much more difficult to bring them to trial.

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  5. An interesting question but makes no difference in how beth din of America is perceived by frum botei din. Not a single frum beis din recognizes bda anyway. The botei din in eretz yisroel have already paskened that children born from gerusin or gittin issued by bda are vadai mamzerim and most American frum botei din agree or have paskened that they are sofek mamzerim. 
    Bda are dealing with their own problems of mikve peeping dayonim and how to justify to their own "modern orthodox" community that‎ gerusin of people like ivanka trump who has been publicly seen in newspapers eating in treife restaurants or is publicly mechallel shabbos is somehow a kosher gerus. 
    Bda and their secretary Weissman, who issues bogus seruvim, and heter arkous, based on his own twisted version of halocha are WORSE than reform. 
    At least with reform we all know they are posul. BDA and weissman try pretend they are frum. 
    ‎A Boro park beis din recently paskened that a gerusha who had remarried and was pregnant, and they found out her get was from bda, made her pay for the get to be redone by a kosher beis din and kedishin redone with her new husband!

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  6. An interesting question but makes no difference in how beth din of America is perceived by frum botei din. Not a single frum beis din recognizes bda anyway. The botei din in eretz yisroel have already paskened that children born from gerusin or gittin issued by bda are vadai mamzerim and most American frum botei din agree or have paskened that they are sofek mamzerim. 
    Bda are dealing with their own problems of mikve peeping dayonim and how to justify to their own "modern orthodox" community that‎ gerusin of people like ivanka trump who has been publicly seen in newspapers eating in treife restaurants or is publicly mechallel shabbos is somehow a kosher gerus. 
    Bda and their secretary Weissman, who issues bogus seruvim, and heter arkous, based on his own twisted version of halocha are WORSE than reform. 
    At least with reform we all know they are posul. BDA and weissman try pretend they are frum. 
    ‎A Boro park beis din recently paskened that a gerusha who had remarried and was pregnant, and they found out her get was from bda, made her pay for the get to be redone by a kosher beis din and kedishin redone with her new husband!

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  7. The recordings keep in saying the RCA, not BDA.

    Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, however works for BDA.

    It does seems obvious that BDA was willing to issue a siruv against a non-existent man! The key word being man. If its man, then no-questions-asked, a siruv will be issued.

    Wouldn't the first step of any responsible and legitimate Beis Din be to contact the local Beis Din in Buenos Aires, Argentina?!



    Why in the world would the "Beth-Din of America"

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  8. "It seems likely that Weissmann and the BDA in fact issued a seruv to this fake FBI husband/wife" - Agreed. However we don't know yet whether nos. 2 or 3 in the posting above are correct. If no. 2 occurred (BDA provides phony siruv), is it possible the FBI had the goods on the BDA-ORA etc. for working in concert with Epstein in past abductions? So, in return for helping to bring down Epstein, the BDA-ORA etc. was not prosecuted? (This is only a theory, I don't have proof of this.)

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  9. "Where did the FBI get this seruv? There seem to be 3 alternatives 1) The seruv is a forgery by the FBI. 2) The Beis Din of America provided a phony seruv to the FBI to entrap the defendants. 3) The Beis Din of America provided a seruv in what they thought was a genuine case - without talking to the husband. Anyone know which of the 3 alternatives is correct?"

    If you look at the timeline outlined in the FBI court document attached to this post it clearly indicates that the FBI created their fictitious story of the aguna and her brother as early as 2012 when the FBI presented their case to ORA and the BDA (i.e. Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann). The FBI "aguna" only first contacted Wolmark and Epstein in the summer of 2013, nearly a year after the FBI was using ORA and the BDA to create their case.


    The FBI outline clearly indicates that the BDA and Rabbi Weissmann sent the fake husband a seruv signed by Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwarz! This raises serious problems with the BDA and their having issued a seruv against a husband demanding a Get under false pretenses. It is quite clear that it is possible to get the BDA to issue a seruv against a husband in a Get case merely on the whims of the wife's claims, despite it being false.

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  10. Rabbi Michael TzadokFebruary 22, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    It is just as likely that the BDA knowingly cooperated with the FBI and gave them a seruv with which to effect their sting operation. That Rabbi Weissman and a select few others were working with the FBI.

    Equally likely is that the seruv is simply a seruv issued for failure to respond to a summons to a B"D. We do not know, at this point the text of the Seruv. So it is premature to state that it was a Seruv demanding a Get.

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  11. It appears highly unlikely that the BDA and Rabbis Weissman and Schwartz knowingly assisted the FBI in the sting. The evidence outlined in the court documents by the FBI indicate it is a real seruv issued by the BDA.

    Even if it were "simply a seruv issued for failure to respond to a summons to a B"D", it is inexcusable on the part of the BDA because, in fact, the husband never existed. And it indicates the BDA can be manipulated into issuing a seruv against a real husband under false pretenses by the wife.

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  12. I explained in another comment why it almost certainly must be #3.

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  13. Received this comment from someone I know
    ======================================
    I know Shlomo Weismann. In addition to yu smeicha in both yoreh deah and choshen mishpat, he has a law degree from Columbia.
    He's quite bright.
    More
    importantly, he's very ehrlich. When I've breached the subject of
    gittin with him in the past, he's been quite adamant that the BDA is
    above-board. I have no reason to doubt him.
    My personal
    guess is that #2 occurred. It couldn't have been #1 because all Wolmark
    had to do is to make a call. Similarly, the BDA wouldn't just up and
    issue a seruv without doing its homework (they take time to obtain.)

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  14. Shlomo Weissmann is not bright- he is an Oscar worthy actor. He is on the payroll of ora just like he was on the payroll of epstein. So he has semicha from yu...big deal...so does Barry freundel. Anybody can get a piece of paper saying semchia from yu as long as you paid tuition.
    His own policy...which is boduk umenusa, is that when a plaintiff comes knocking on his door, if the nitva responds to  his letters (that he calls "hazmonas") by saying that as nitva they ‎are choosing zableh or their own beis din then he automatically (he alone- no beis din) issues a siruv or heter arkous! He'll claim he had "no response to his hazmona"...see link below documenting this.‎
    He is a dangerous joke. A joke- because he acts unilaterally and he perverts and doesn't know halochas.  ‎Dangerous- because he is causing mamzerim. 
    Dayan Herpst has repeatedly said that the number one cause of agunas in new York is Shlomo Weissmann.  

    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://jewishstar.static2.adqic.com/uploads/files/e2eeea017e2008_10_shulamith-third-hazmana-response-10-03-08.pdf&sa=U&ei=Tb7pVOqFPMuxggT1tILwBg&ved=0CBQQFjAD&usg=AFQjCNEe8TX_ZP2C3fMwaBgw0qaxgjzYpQ

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  15. Received this comment from someone who wishes to be anonymous:

    I was in court during the opening remarks, and this recent post of yours concerning the RCA was definitely covered last Wednesday in Trenton.

    What his lawyer said that his case would prove is that the RCA was defrauded, (R. Wax having HIMSELF forged documents if I remember correctly.) and then that the RCA issued the Seruv in response to pressure from the 'wife' even though she was told that they had no jurisdiction in Argentina.

    So, in your post it is #3.

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  16. Equally likely is that the seruv is simply a seruv issued for failure to respond to a summons to a B"D.

    1) Does a legitimate, caring and thorough beth-din just send out hazmanos without first contacting the local rabbonim and botei din in Buenos Aires, Argentina?

    2) Does a legitimate, caring and thorough beth-din just send out siruvim to people whom they clearly have no jurisdiction over?

    Something is very wrong with this picture at BDA/RCA.

    (Please see the new comment rabbi Eidensohn posted from someone who was at the trial. Epstein's lawyer seems to have said that BDA was "defrauded".)

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  17. Wow.


    Let's make a list of the hot-guns at the RCA/BDA:


    1) Its founder was Michael Broyde/Hershel Goldwasser, a man who was shown to be a deceptive and morally flawed man.


    2) Next hot-gun was Barry Freundel - a man who just pleaded guilty in court to doing some extremely deceptive and morally flawed behavior.


    3) We have this siruv issued against a non-existent man who is clearly not in BDA/RCA's jurisdiction. This is, again, deceptive and morally flawed behavior on the part of Rabbis Weissman and Schwartz.

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  18. #3 is the only plausible explanation based on the documents the FBI has released in court.

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  19. Rivka Haut and Susan Aranoff, two feminists who don't like the halachas (especially vis-a-vis divorce), in the anti-Orthodox "Jewish Week" publication (see: http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/religious-courts-are-treating-agunot-unfairly ) publicly called for women to not go to beis din and instead use non-Jewish courts. They further bemoan that legitimate beis dins have told women that they are not permitted to use non-Jewish courts and they must rather drop their secular court cases and use beis din or face a seruv for using arkaos.

    In response to this call, Rabbi Shlomo Weissman of the BDA/RCA replied with his own editorial in the same anti-Orthodox "Jewish Week" (see: http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial_opinion/opinion/long_term_solution_agunah_problem ) agreeing with those feminists (in what he termed "disturbing allegations") that a beis din should not put a woman using arkaos in seruv. He further proudly writes that "the Beth Din of America will not issue a seruv (contempt citation) against a woman seeking a get for refusing to litigate in beit din unless the husband first demonstrates his good faith by granting her a get."

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  20. Rabbi Michael TzadokFebruary 22, 2015 at 4:12 PM

    1) Does a legitimate, caring and thorough beth-din just send out hazmanos without first contacting the local rabbonim and botei din in Buenos Aires, Argentina?

    Where in the Sh"A does it say that a B"D needs to first contact local Rabbanim? Quite the opposite a B"D should try its best to keep the issues that come before it quiet to prevent unnecessary embarassment.

    A B"D can simply send a Hazamanah

    2) Does a legitimate, caring and thorough beth-din just send out siruvim to people whom they clearly have no jurisdiction over?
    This is not secular courts or police where authority is determined by arbitrary borders. The Sh"A clearly deals with the case of a B"D sending a Hazmanah to someone in another city or country.

    The text of the Seruv is everything. If it is simply due to him not responding to a B"D, its a valid Seruv. If it for refusing to give a get, it proves that the BDA is either corrupt, incompetent or both. It is just too early to know which. Judaism and Jewish law deals in facts not in conjectures.

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  21. Quite the opposite a B"D should try its best to keep the issues that come before it quiet to prevent unnecessary embarassment.

    You do realize that you are contradicting yourself.

    Lets talk about avoiding embarrassment.

    What is the likelihood that a man from Buenos Aires, Argentina would submit himself people calling themselves "beth-din of america"?

    Even after they sent him a couple of letters, which he presumably ignored, you can put out a "siruv" against him which his wife can use to humiliate (read embarrass) him. Or, you can simply contact the local Beth Din in Buenos Aires, Argentina and have them deal with this issue in a way that they see fit.

    The reality is, they caused embarrassment to this guy by issuing a siruv/cherem/excommunication when they could have simply contacted the local Beth Din in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Please use some intellectual honesty in your reply. Thank you.

    ________

    The Sh"A clearly deals with the case of a B"D sending a Hazmanah to someone in another city or country.

    And quite frankly, if he would tell them that he would like the local beth din involved, then the RCA/BDA would halachically be required to exit this picture - their jurisdiction would clearly not carry in this case.

    When the BDA sees that a man in Buenos Aires, Argentina is ignoring their letters, then common sense would dictate that they contact the local beth din to involve themselves in this case. Please do not use silly arguments that they wouldn't involve the local beis din to avoid "embarrassment", but would rather issue a siruv/cherem/excommunication!!

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  22. "The text of the Seruv is everything. If it is simply due to him not responding to a B"D, its a valid Seruv."


    Do you see any problem with a wife coming to a beis din for a Get and then giving a fake address to send the three Hazmanas to, which the beis din blindly mails it to followed by a Seruv due to the non-response? Sounds like a pretty simple plan to get a beis din to issue a Seruv to someone without justification. Just give a fake address. It could even be a real person.


    And how, then, do you explain that once she has the Seruv that she goes to another beis din and gives the Seruv from beis din #1 so that beis din #2 can hold a beis din trial in abstentia (after the beis din #2s hazmana to appear, sent to the fake address, goes unanswered) and order a Get be given, including via coercion if necessary?

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  23. Were they trying to retroactively make the mamzer fetus kosher?

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  24. Rabbi Michael TzadokFebruary 22, 2015 at 9:41 PM

    What is the likelihood that a man from Buenos Aires, Argentina would submit himself people calling themselves "beth-din of america"?

    He doesn't have to submit himself to them, but he does have to respond to them. That is Halakha.

    Even after they sent him a couple of letters, which he presumably ignored, you can put out a "siruv" against him which his wife can use to humiliate (read:embarrass) him.

    Again that is the Halakha.

    The reality is, they caused embarrassment to this guy by issuing a siruv/cherem/excommunication when they could have simply contacted the local Beth Din in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Seruv is different from Cherem, which is different from Niduy(excommunication). You are conflating terms. Again please show in the Sh"A where the B"D is at all required to contact the B"D of another city.

    As much as you want it to work that way, that is not what halakha dictates.

    And quite frankly, if he would tell them that he would like the local beth din involved, then the RCA/BDA would halachically be required to exit this picture - their jurisdiction would clearly not carry in this case.

    Sorry but that simply is not the case. Any B"D in Buenos Aires has no authority to either take the case away from the BDA, or to force the wife to be tried in their B"D.

    The husband could claim Zabla. That's it.Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote that there are no Kavua Batei Din in the Americas that can force a person to appear before them.

    Your comments are showing a basic lack of knowledge of halakhot involved with Batei Din. Unless you can source your statements to some halakhic source, I see no point in continuing this argument.

    Please see the new comment rabbi Eidensohn posted from someone who was at the trial. Epstein's lawyer seems to have said that BDA was "defrauded".

    Once again basing your arguments on hearsay and conjecture as opposed to actual facts.
    You assume:
    1) That the early addition that Rav Eidensohn made about the BDA working with the FBI is false.
    2) That the BDA was indeed defrauded
    3)That the FBI didn't have an actual phone number, ID, wedding certificate ect. to show to the BDA .
    4) That the BDA didn't actually make contact with someone claiming to be this woman's husband.
    5) The the hearsay comment above is true.
    6 That the defense put forth by obviously corrupt Rabbis is to be believed.

    You are simply making way too many assumptions to deal with any actual facts.

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  25. Rabbi Michael TzadokFebruary 22, 2015 at 9:44 PM

    Do you see any problem with a wife coming to a beis din for a Get and then giving a fake address to send the three Hazmanas to, which the beis din blindly mails it to followed up by a Seruv due to the non-response?

    You are assuming that this is what happened. When in fact neither you nor I know. If that were the case clearly it would be a problem, but you simply do not know that such is the case. Facts please, and only the facts.

    And how, then, do you explain that once she has the Seruv that she goes to another beis din and gives the Seruv from beis din #1 so that beis din #2 can hold a beis din trial in absentia
    Don't really see what one has to do with another. The corrupt behavior on the part of the woman or the second B"D shouldn't reflect upon the first.

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  26. Why not email Rabbi Weissmann and ask him?

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  27. Hey, Joel. Why didn't you do it for us? You could have come her and given us R. Weissmann's response to your email.

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  28. How about #3 with the addition of either Epstein did the correspondence to RCA , or directed the sting operands step by step with Epstein's oral or written blessings. The key is to see on the correspondence, who wrote what to whom.

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  29. He'll give you an answer using high falutin words that say absolutely nothing.

    He's stuck, aiding and abetting a scam (hide usual job) but this time he got caught.

    But he (and his sponsors) don't care. He'll continue doing this scam, over and over again.

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