Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tamar Epstein Heter: Understanding the essential basis for resolving this unholy mess PART ii

Guest Post  Two birds of a feather: the "kidushei taos" and the "seruv"

Part 2. The Wolmark Otisville gang and their “seruv”

The trial in Federal District Court in Trenton of the Wolmark criminal gang shed light on the nature of the “seruv” against Aharon Friedman and the criminal enterprise that purported to issue it. The Department of Justice wanted Tamar Epstein’s to’ain / medical malpractice trial lawyer, Frederic Goldfein, to testify in the criminal trial of Mendel Epstein and several of his accomplices. However, Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey wrote the Court that Goldfein was likely to refuse to testify by invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination regarding his criminal participation in the matter. With the approval of the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney asked United States Federal District Court Judge Freda Wolfson to force Goldfein to testify and give him immunity in order to override his ability to avoid testifying by invoking the Fifth Amendment. Judge Wolfson approved this request, giving Goldfein immunity, and therefore forcing him to testify.

As noted previously, the Baltimore Beis Din that actually had jurisdiction over the case and heard the case refused to rule that Aharon give a get. The Washington Beis Din ruled that it could not assert jurisdiction, and it appears, at least according to ORA and Jeremy Stern, that the Beis Din of America also refused to intercede. Who knows how many other batei din were asked by Goldfein, ORA, and the Kamenetskys to intercede but refused to do so? Eventually, according to the testimony of Frederic Goldfein, he turned to Martin Wolmark, a criminal gangster, to organize a “seruv” against Aharon from a criminal enterprise posing as a “beis din.”

Goldfein also acknowledged at the trial that as part of extensive correspondence between Goldfein and Wolmark, Wolmark had sent Goldfein an email offering to sign the "seruv" that Wolmark was organizing because Wolmark believed his involvement would scare Aharon and Rabbi Shragi. Pursuant to this plan, Wolmark was one of the signatories on the “seruv.” In other words, Wolmark and Goldfein believed that Wolmark was so infamous as a criminal gangster, that his involvement would scare Aharon and Rabbi Shragi.

Wolmark has pled guilty in connection with the case, and is currently scheduled to be sentenced in Federal District Court in New Jersey on December 14. The Wolmark gang was so thoroughly incompetent and corrupt that it ruled that force should be used to force a purported husband to give a get even though the man did not even exist, and even sent a whole gang of thugs to a warehouse to kidnap and beat up this non-existent man. The gang was so eager to collect their $60,000 that whether the man actually existed, never mind whether there was any actual halachic basis to kidnap and beat him, was not something that really concerned them.

It should also be noted that Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag, one of the other signatories on Wolmark’s “seruv” was, like Goldfein, given immunity in the case and forced to testify by Judge Wolfson at the trial at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s office with the approval of the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Department -- because Rabbi Ralbag would otherwise have invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as to his criminal involvement in the gang. An FBI affidavit in the case stated that the FBI had probable cause to believe that both Rabbi Ralbag, and another of the signatories on the “seruv,” Rabbi Israel Belsky, had violated five different Federal criminal statutes, with regard to their participation in the case.

So --- the Beis Din with jurisdiction and that heard the case with the participation of both parties concluded that Aharon has no obligation to give a get. In addition, the Washington Beis Din sent Aharon several hazmanos, but concluded, as Aharon had argued to them, that they had no right to intercede in the case. And, at least according to Rabbi Jeremy Stern and ORA, the Beis Din of America also refused to intercede in the case against Aharon despite being requested to do so by the Epsteins. Eventually Goldfein found a thoroughly incompetent and corrupt criminal enterprise led by the criminal Martin Wolmark to purport to issue a “seruv” against Aharon with the participation of Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky. The criminal enterprise did not even bother to issue even a single hazmana [summons] against Aharon. And yet, other than Rabbis Eidensohn and Rabbi Gestetner, very few would publicly defend Aharon against these criminals, and their associates such as Rabbi Hershel Schacter and ORA who made a mockery of halacha, beis din, and the frum community. Is it any mystery why the Kamenetskys would believe that it would also be perfectly accepted if they were to organize a “kiddushei taos”?


Direct examination of Frederic Goldfein by an assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey in federal district court in Trenton on March 23, 2015.

Q. And at some point, you went to a man named Rabbi Wolmark, you said?


Q. That's Martin Wolmark?

Goldfein. Yes.

Q. Do you remember approximately when that was?

GOLDFEIN. The first time I met with Rabbi Wolmark was in approximately February of 2011.

Q. And at some time Rabbi Wolmark referred you to Mendel Epstein. Correct?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, he did.

Q. Do you remember approximately when that was?

GOLDFEIN. I think around February or March of 2012.

Q. Approximately a year after you met with Rabbi Wolmark?


Q. Why did Rabbi Wolmark refer you to Mendel Epstein?

GOLDFEIN. Because we had several attempts to make that deal, which originally they agreed to and backed out of, and we just felt we needed some help to get him to take the deal to take the money.

Q. Why specifically Mendel Epstein?

GOLDFEIN. Rabbi Wolmark -- I went to Rabbi Wolmark. Rabbi Wolmark referred me to Rabbi Epstein.

Q. What did Rabbi Wolmark say about Mendel Epstein?

GOLDFEIN. Rabbi Wolmark said that Rabbi Epstein could turn the heat up.


Cross examination by defense lawyer:

Q. -- I want to go to a couple of things you said, and I'm going to show you -- do you remember you met with the FBI about this matter? Correct?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.

Q. And that was on January 6th of 2015?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.

Q. You had an attorney with you. Correct?

GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.

Q. I'm going to show you what's been marked for identification previously as JGF-01. Hold onto that for a moment, and I'll direct your attention, sir. Mr. Goldfein, I just want to direct your attention before we get into everything. You said, in response to Mr. Gribko's questions, that Rabbi Wolmark introduced you to Rabbi Mendel Epstein. Correct?


Q. And that your testimony on direct was that Rabbi Mendel Epstein said that, We needed to turn the heat up on Aharon Friedman. Do you remember that testimony?

GOLDFEIN. I did not say that. Rabbi Wolmark said that.

Q. And as the months went by, you stayed in regular contact with Rabbi Wolmark by email. Correct, sir?

GOLDFEIN. I was in contact with him, yes.

Q. In fact, you had dozens of emails with him. Correct?

GOLDFEIN. I didn't count them. I was in regular contact with him.

Q. It wouldn't surprise you, there were dozens, if we counted them up?

GOLDFEIN. No, it would not surprise me. I trust your counting.

Q. Do you remember around August of 2011 there was contact between you and Rabbi Wolmark about whether Rabbi Wolmark's name would go on the seruv to Mr. Friedman? GOLDFEIN. I don't remember. If you say it's there, I believe you.

Q. Let me show you what's been premarked for identification as ME-18. I'm just pointing to the first two emails on the top of ME-18. Does that refresh your recollection? GOLDFEIN. I said it's there. I believe you. Yes.

Q. And Rabbi Wolmark was saying if Wolmark's name was on the seruv, that it might scare Mr. Friedman into granting a get. Is that your take on that? GOLDFEIN. Rabbi Wolmark wrote, Either way is fine. My name might scare him and R. Shragai.

Q. Do you know who R. Shragai is?

GOLDFEIN. He is someone who lived in Baltimore. He was a rabbi, and maybe still is, of a school in Baltimore who was a friend and/or advisor of Aharon Friedman at one point.

Q. This was the document, the seruv, the contempt of court, that you had been working on through Rabbi Wolmark all those months to finally issue to Mr. Friedman.


GOLDFEIN. Yes, sir.

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