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Alleged Amish beard-cutting ringleader must pay for own defense, judge rules

Sam Mullet Sr., alleged Amish hair-cutting ringleader, in front of his Bergholz, Ohio home on Monday. Oct. 10, 2011. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND - The alleged ringleader of an Amish beard-cutting posse must pay for his own legal defense from this point forward.

A Cleveland judge ruled Wednesday that 66-year-old Samuel Mullet Sr. can afford to pay for his defense in the case of an inter-Amish feud that has centered around the involuntary cutting of hair.

Mullet and 11 followers are charged in five beard- and hair-cutting attacks on other Amish last year. They have pleaded not guilty.

Judge Dan Polster ruled Wednesday that Mullet can afford to pay for his defense. He has an 800-acre farm near Steubenville, Ohio with oil and gas leases. Mullet has been represented by a public defender to this point.

A feud over church discipline allegedly led to attacks marked by the cutting of women's hair and the hair and beards of men. That's considered deeply offensive in Amish culture.

Complete coverage of the Amish beard-cutting case on Crimesider

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