crimesider

Closings set in Ohio Amish hair-cutting trial

Amish men leave the U.S. Federal Courthouse Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, in Cleveland.
AP Photo/Tony Dejak
(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND -- A trial for 16 people accused in hair- and beard-cutting attacks against fellow Amish is wrapping up in Ohio.

Closing statements were scheduled Wednesday in federal court in Cleveland.

Prosecutors say the defendants planned or took part in at least one of five attacks last fall, cutting off Amish men's beards and women's hair because the hair carries spiritual significance in the faith. The suspects were charged with hate crimes because prosecutors believe religious differences between the Amish brought about the attacks.

None of the defense attorneys denied that hair-cuttings took place. Some said their clients participated, but they said what happened didn't amount to hate crimes.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case Tuesday, and defense attorneys didn't call witnesses.

The defendants are from the Bergholz settlement in eastern Ohio.

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