New York – One of the men who served on the jury in the Nechemya Weberman trial is pushing back against the public perception that anti-Semitism was the motivating factor in deciding to convict Weberman.
In an hour-long interview with the Daily News (http://nydn.us/V917ME), the 42-year-old unidentified juror adamantly denied that notion, saying, “It wasn’t religion, it wasn’t their background, it wasn’t revenge. It was a young girl and an old man alone in a room.”
Weberman was convicted on December 10 on all 59 counts. Following the guilty verdict, Weberman’s lawyer, George Farkas, said Hasidic Jews do not have “the same shot with a jury as anyone else.”
But the juror denied that and said the 12-person panel did not harbor any bias against Weberman or his community, nor did they see Weberman as a “monster.”
“We realized we couldn’t make a flippant decision and ruin a man’s life,” the juror said. “It was, ‘Oh boy, we have a serious job.’”
The juror said that while the victim’s four-day “emotional” testimony was compelling, the jury wanted “something else” to substantiate the girl’s claims and they found it in the testimony of social worker Sara Fried. Ms. Fried testified that the victim was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the years of abuse she endured at Weberman’s hands.
“That’s what clinched it,” the juror said. “We took a vote and everyone was unanimous.”
The jury also took note of the many locks in Weberman’s home; that he sheltered runaway teenagers; and that he confessed to driving the victim upstate unaccompanied.
“It raises a lot of red flags,” the juror said.
The jury deliberated for approximately five hours before finding Weberman guilty.