Bail for rabbis, others in alleged divorce ring

FBI agents remove evidence from the Brooklyn residence of Rabbi Mendel Epstein during an investigation, early Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in New York. Several defendants, including Epstein and another rabbi, were arrested in an overnight sting in New York and New Jersey and accused by the FBI of plotting to kidnap and beat a man to force him to grant a religious divorce. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

October 17, 2013 11:01:06 AM PDT
Several men including two rabbis charged with plotting to arrange religious divorces through torture and kidnapping are to be released on bail.

A total of 10 defendants were charged last week in federal court in Trenton. Several were in court Wednesday for hearings and were released on $500,000 bail.

The men were arrested in an undercover operation that began in August when two FBI agents, one posing as a woman trying to get a divorce, contacted the rabbis. According to an FBI complaint, one rabbi spoke about forcing compliance through "tough guys" who use electric cattle prods and even place plastic bags over the heads of husbands.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has said the organization involved in the alleged plot had been involved in up to 20 kidnappings.

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