Judge Dan Polster told the jury that the testimony of the daughter in law was to be considered only in relation to the charges he faces not with any sex crimes. Samuel Mullet Sr. and 15 other sect members are accused of planning or carrying out attacks on nine Amish men and women last autumn in southeastern Ohio, cutting off their hair and beards in assaults meant to humiliate the victims.
Witnesses have testified the attacks were revenge for a dispute between Mullet and other Amish religious leaders for accepting the daughter-in-law's family and others into their communities after he shunned them. That followed their departure from his group over actions such as those described by the daughter-in-law.
Amish men and women refrain from cutting their hair as a mark of respect for God.
Mullet, 66, was not present at any of the assaults by his followers, but is accused of being the ringleader of the attacks.
The 16 defendants are charged with 10 counts including a federal hate crime, conspiracy and obstruction. They face up to life in prison if convicted. The trial is expected to run three to four weeks.