Attorneys Ponvert and Grudberg each gave opening statements to the jury. Ponvert went first. Ponvert told the jury that they will hear how the Goat forced sex upon Eli Mirlis of the “most horrific nature.” Forced anal and oral sex. Pornography. Alcohol. Motels. Forced sex in the same bedroom that the goat shared with his wife.
Ponvert told the jurors that they will hear from Avi Hack. Jurors will hear how Avi’s moral life was manipulated by the Goat. The Goat pretended to care about the life of Eli Mirlis and Avi Hack. The Goat pretended to care about Mirlis even after Mirlis graduated.
Ponvert told jurors that the Goat will take the Fifth Amendment. The Goat will not deny the allegations of Mirlis. Ponvert stated, “One the one side you will hear from Avi and Mirlis. On the other side you will hear silence, evasion, and a refusal to testify.”
Ponvert told jurors that they will also hear from Shira Mirlis, the wife of Eli Mirlis and Dr. Julian Ford. Dr. Ford will testify that Eli suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and serious emotional problems. The last witness to testify will be Eli Mirlis. Ponvert told jurors that Eli will not be present in court, other than to testify. Eli does not want to endure having to look at the man who raped him. He has been through enough pain and suffering.
Ponvert told the jury that they will not hear from the Goat. The Goat will be silent and take the Fifth Amendment. Rather than get on the witness stand and defend himself like a mentch, the Goat will hurl accusations against Mirlis and attempt to re-victimize and re-traumatize Eli Mirlis. Ponvert didn’t actually use the word “mentch.” I threw that in for the benefit of Jewish readers.
David Grudberg gave an opening statement for the Goat. Before he gave his opening statement he asked the judge if the Goat could be excused to make frequent trips to the bathroom, as the Goat had a medical condition. I wrote in my blog that I noticed that the Goat went to the bathroom at least ten times during jury selection. I thought that the Goat got nervous when he saw me in the courtroom. I do not know the nature of his medical condition. He could be having an allergic reaction to noodles.
Grudberg told the jury that they should not hold anything against the Goat’s wife for not appearing in court during most of the trial. Since Sarah Greer may be called as a witness, she cannot listen to others testify. Sarah Greer has an excuse not to be present during the trial. The Goat’s five children also have an excuse not to show up at the trial. They know that their father is a depraved pedophile.
Grudberg tried to explain to jurors why the Goat was taking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to testify. But Grudberg didn’t give a straight answer. He danced around the question. He said it was a complex issue, not so simple, and jurors should keep an open mind. He said that one year ago Mirlis pursued a criminal complaint against the Goat. But Grudberg didn’t explain why pursuing a criminal complaint would be a reason to take the Fifth Amendment in a civil trial.
Grudberg harped on the fact that Mirlis “continued to involve the Goat in his life.” The Goat was a witness at Mirlis’ wedding. The Goat was the sandek at the birth of Mirlis’ son, with Dov Greer the mohel. Mirlis traveled to New Haven frequently from New Jersey to spend the Sabbath and holidays. Big deal. Mirlis had been friends with Dov Greer, Ezi Greer and Avi Hack for many years. Why would he not want to visit them?
Mirlis was a rape victim. There are plenty of support groups for female rape victims. There are literally no support groups for male rape victims. New Haven had a support group for Mirlis. Avi was raped by the Goat. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Goat raped his own boys. The Goat’s boys clearly experienced years of verbal and mental abuse. I observed this abuse first hand. In New Haven Mirlis could talk openly for hours with three men who also suffered abuse and trauma at the hands of the Goat, ie., Dov, Ezi and Avi. This was a survivors group if there ever was one.
During his opening statement Grudberg took some cheap shots at Mirlis. Grudberg said that Mirlis didn’t seek treatment for PTSD until after he consulted with an attorney. Grudberg said that PTSD has many causes, including stress caused by family problems Mirlis may have experienced growing up. Grudberg said that Mirlis seems to be doing ok now. Mirlis is a nursing home administrator and has an ownership interest in some nursing homes in Connecticut.
During his opening statement Grudberg took some stabs at Avi Hack. He said Avi tried to get the Goat to turn over the school in 2015. Avi thought he could do a better job running the school than the Goat.
Grudberg doesn’t have much to work with. The Goat is refusing to testify. Jurors will hear heart breaking testimony detailing extreme depravity on the part of the Goat. All Grudberg can do is to point the finger at the victim, or try to confuse the issues. If you throw enough stuff up in the air something may stick. I think Grudberg knows that the Goat is doomed.
After opening statements, Attorney Ponvert called the Goat to the witness stand. More to come…..