Yesterday afternoon a hearing was held in the Federal District Court in Hartford on the Goat child rape case. Judge Martinez heard arguments from the attorneys on these two issues:
1. Whether the Goat’s Attorney William Ward should be allowed to question Avi Hack about statements he made to Rabbi Hillel David about problems in the compound.
2. Whether Attorney Ward should be allowed to ask Avi Hack about a conversation Avi had with a former student on December 17, 2015.
I was there to watch the show. The Federal marshals wouldn’t let me bring a video camera in the Courtroom, but I was able to sit in the back of the courtroom and watch the attorneys make their arguments. I expect to produce a miniseries after the trial.
The only attorneys in the courtroom were Goat Attorney Ward, Attorney Steven Errante, who represents Avi Hack, and Attorney David Grudberg, who represents the Ewe, ie., Sarah Greer. Attorney Ponvert, the Attorney for Mirlis, was a no show. I was the only spectator in the courtroom. I sat in the back of the stately wood paneled courtroom. The Judge and the attorneys glanced at me, but didn’t say anything. The reporter who first exposed the Goat for his crimes, ie., Paul Bass, was hiding in his little cubicle on Elm Street drinking coffee. He still fears the Goat.
The hearing revealed a lot of new information. Avi Hack was initially named a defendant in the Goat child rape lawsuit. Avi was the principal of the school and knew that Mirlis got raped by the Goat. Avi failed to report the Goat to the authorities. Avi had a duty to report the Goat. The Goat had an excuse for his behavior: he is a depraved animal. Avi has no excuse for not ratting out the Goat.
The original lawsuit that named Avi a defendant was served on the Goat and Avi back in January of 2016. The lawyer for Mirlis did not file this lawsuit in court. He kept the paperwork on his desk. He had 60 days to file it in State court. He did nothing with it. Nobody knew about this lawsuit other than the Goat, Avi Hack, Mirlis, and the attorneys. Rabbi Muroff may also have known.
Attorney Ponvert probably figured that the Goat would want to settle the case before he filed it in court, where it would become public information. Ponvert misjudged the Goat. The Goat dug in and refused to settle.
At some point after the State court lawsuit was served, Avi Hack made a decision to flip on the Goat. Avi joined Mirlis. Avi would be the star witness against the Goat. Mirlis then dropped Avi from the lawsuit. Mirlis filed a new Federal lawsuit against the Goat in May of 2016. At this point in time the Goat’s children left the compound. Avi was already gone. Rabbi Muroff was long gone. But Avi’s father Harold Hack was still in the compound. I do not know why the lawsuit originally was in State court and then was changed into a Federal case.
During the hearing Attorney Ward referred to a memorandum that Avi Hack sent to Rabbi Hillel David before the lawsuit was filed. Avi Hack was seeking advice from Hillel David about problems in the compound, including the Goat rape allegations. In the memo Avi stated that he was “sick and tired of Greer running the compound.” Avi told Rabbi Hillel David that the Goat and his Ewe turned the compound into a mine field, and he did not like their “meddling.” Avi pondered whether he should bring his own lawsuit against the Goat.
Avi Hack’s attorney Steven Errante argued that whatever Avi told Hillel was protected under the priest-penitent privilege and that Avi didn’t have to answer. The Goat’s attorney argued that most people involved in the case are rabbis. He mentioned that the Goat is a rabbi, Avi Hack is a rabbi, Noah Muroff is a rabbi, and Harold Hack is a rabbi. His point being that everyone can claim this privilege.
Attorney Errante told Judge Martinez that Orthodox Jews have a set of rules that are completely alien to most normal people. He said this was not the typical case of a Catholic sinner going into a confessional booth. Judge Martinez asked the attorneys whether a conversation about a basketball game would be protected under the priest-penitent privilege. The attorneys agreed that a discussion between rabbis about basketball games would not be protected. Now that Avi is living in Rhode Island I assume he is a Celtics fan. Rabbi Hillel David, from Brooklyn, is most likely a Knicks fan.
Judge Martinez did not rule from the bench. A decision should be issued soon. The trial is still scheduled for May 10, 2017.