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Rabbi cross-examines daughter in sex trial

NEW YORK (JTA) — A fervently Orthodox rabbi accused of sex crimes cross-examined his own daughter.

Rabbi Israel Weingarten, whose daughter accuses him of molesting her from age 9 to 16, is representing himself at the trial in Brooklyn federal court.

Weingarten, 59, questioned his daughter Tuesday, the day after she testified to the abuse she allegedly suffered by her father.

The presiding judge called the situation "awkward" and "fairly untenable," The Associated Press reported.

A member of a Satmar Chadisic community in upstate New York, Weingarten was arrested last year on charges he traveled outside the country to have sex with a minor. He is said to face up to 210 months in prison under sentencing guidelines.

In his opening statement Monday, he said he was falsely accused by his daughter, now 27, and asked jurors not to judge him by his Chasidic garb, which he compared to that worn by George Washington.

"I’m not that different when it comes to our forefathers who were fighting for freedom," he said.

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