Kosher Nostra plea

The New York Post/June 7, 2013

Three Orthodox Jewish brothers accused of trying to intimidate a Brooklyn teen girl into dropping sex-abuse charges against a prominent Hasidic counselor avoided jail time yesterday by pleading guilty.

Jacob, Joseph and Hertzka Berger were charged with coercion last year for ripping down the kosher certificate at a Williamsburg restaurant owned by the teen's then-boyfriend.

"I'm happy it's over even though they deserve a bigger punishment in my and the entire world's eyes," said the restaurant owner, who has since married the teen victim.

"The Mafia way of intimidating victims and witnesses will no longer be tolerated in our community."

The incident was part of the harassment the teen girl suffered for accusing Nechemya Weberman, a powerful man in her Satmar sect, of sexually abusing her during counseling sessions. Weberman was convicted this year on the strength of her testimony.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Danny Chun sentenced the "Kosher Nostra" to conditional discharges with no jail time. Jacob Berger must also pay $500 restitution to the restaurant owner. Abraham Rubin, who was arrested the same day as the Berger brothers, still faces charges he offered Weberman's victim and her boyfriend $500,000 to drop the case and leave the country.

"We objected strongly to them not getting any jail time," said a Brooklyn DA spokeswoman.

"The DA took a very hard-line stance because it was related to the Weberman case," said Jacob defense attorney Michael Cibella.

The brothers declined to comment through their attorneys.

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