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Release denied for Amish sect leader

CLEVELAND, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- A federal judge has declined to release an Ohio Amish sect leader pending trial on charges he ordered followers to cut the beards of other Amish men.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster ruled Wednesday that Samuel Mullet Sr., 66, should remain behind bars, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

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Mullet contended he is not a threat or a flight risk, but federal prosecutors said he was a threat to the Amish community -- noting that the beard cutting attacks have stopped since Mullet and six others were put behind bars Nov. 23.

"Samuel Mullet Sr. is primarily and ultimately responsible for this series of violent attacks," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Getz said in court. "They were carried out by his loyal and devoted followers, to settle his scores."

Mullet and 11 others appeared in court Wednesday for an arraignment on federal hate crimes charges. They all entered not guilty pleas related to charges for five hair-cutting attacks across Ohio.

Trial is scheduled to begin March 19 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

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