An Amish splinter sect leader, accused of ordering followers to cut off the beards of his religious enemies, is being represented by a public defender despite receiving more than $2 million from oil and gas drilling leases on his Ohio farm.
Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to make Samuel Mullet hire a private attorney and reimburse the government for work performed by a public defender over the past five months, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
. They also want Mullet to remain in jail because they fear he will forcibly resist efforts to bring him to trial once he returns home to his 800-acre farm.
Mullet, 66, and 15 of his followers, including some of his own sons, were charged with hate crimes after several assaults last fall that included forcibly cutting off the beards and hair of fellow Amish members.
“The possibility of a violent encounter, this time with law enforcement, should not be readily dismissed,” Ohio Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan wrote in a motion filed last week. “Accordingly, no amount of bond is sufficient to protect others from this defendant’s capacity for aggression.”
Edward Bryan, the public defender assigned to Mullet’s case, has offered to lower his hourly rate to $125 an hour and insists that the Mullet is indigent, according to the Plain Dealer. He also disagrees with what he says is the government’s implication that his client is a cult leader.
“Anyone who knows this man knows that he’s a decent, honorable, caring human being,” Bryan told the Plain Dealer. “The government is trying to portray him as a David Koresh or Jim Jones character to gin up the case against him. He’s a good bishop and admired by anybody who knows him.”
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