Testimony stage of Elon case delayed for a month

Defense team of Rabbi accused of indecent assault against minors given more time to review new prosecution witnesses.

Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Jerusalem District Court postponed Monday morning the evidentiary stage in the trial of Rabbi Motti Elon for alleged indecent acts, in order to allow the defense team time to review the new material and to present its response to the state attorney’s office.
Jerusalem District prosecutors requested last week to add four new witnesses to the case to testify about the rabbi’s custom of hugging his students, as well as the testimony of a social worker who says she saw one such event.
The court was scheduled to begin hearing testimony from witnesses today but Judge Haim Liran ruled that the defense must be provided with all the new material, which it has not yet received, to present its response. The judge will then rule on whether or not to accept the new witnesses.
Elon’s defense attorneys, led by Yaakov Rubin, described the attempt to add witnesses to the case as an “attempt to breathe life into the corpse of an already dead indictment which anyway lacked substance.” They also alleged that the new material presented by the prosecutors was first leaked to the press before being given to the defense team and accused the prosecution of trying to conduct the trial through the media.
State attorney Sagi Ofir said that the new witnesses were being brought to strengthen the testimony of one of the original complainants and that some of the new material had not been passed to the defense because of logistical issues during Passover.
Elon’s defense will have seven days to file a written response once it has been given all the new material.
Elon, who was a leading light of the national-religious community before the allegations against him came to light, is charged with five counts of indecent assault, and indecent assault by force against two minors.
The rabbi has vigorously denied the allegations against him and has said that nothing he did had any sexual motivation.
The judge rescheduled the hearing for May 14.