Updates from bottom up:
-4:50 p.m.: Judge issues sentence: 2 YEARS PROBATION, 60 days prison in Middlesex County Jail, and $250,000 fine. Rabbi Eisemann will be allowed to return to lead SCHI, but can’t handle the finances of the school.
-4:45 pm: Judge says he never saw such overwhelming support from the letters he received on behalf of Rabbi Eisemann (APP)
-4:20 pm: Judge begins his ruling, spelling out different legal parameters of what he can sentence
– 4:15 pm: State argues that he is a educator builder and nurturer, but not a victim; he led a great life but that does not exempt you from the law
-4:10 pm: R’ Eisemann speaks, asks for rachmanus so he can help and care for his special needs son and continue his life’s work at SCHI. “I’m sorry the last 3 years have distracted me from my mission that I loved outside of my family. My son Eliezer has been a great blessing to my family, but not all blessings are easy.”
-4:00 pm: Defense attorney pleads with judge for the sake of the rabbi’s special needs son, a student at SCHI.
-3:58 pm: State asking judge to sentence him to 12 years in prison (charge is usually 5-10)
-3:55 pm: GL confirms Rabbi Eisemann will speak prior to sentencing
-3:50 pm: Judge asks if probation sentence will send a message to not loan out SCHI money; says he hasn’t acknowledged he cannot do so
-3:45 pm: Defense lawyer says judge should disregard prison because of R’ Eisemann’s good character, money was repaid in 12 days, and no harm was done to the school. He built that school from a strip mall. Convictions will prevent him from working at SCHI
-3:35 pm: Attorney Lee Vartan speaks on R’ Eisemann’s behalf, pleading with judge for a light sentence, reading letters of support
-3:30 pm: Judge addresses R’ Eisemann sympathetically, hoping he can see all the good he’s done and this unfortunate situation should not temper his selfless life
-3:15 pm: Judge upholds the verdict, denied defense motion, moves to sentencing
-3:10 PM: Judge says the evidence for money laundering was slim but adequate enough to support jury’s verdict
-3:00 pm: Judge orders break
-2:55 pm: Prosecutor says throwing out guilty verdict would undermine the American court system that the jury is the finder of facts
-2:45 pm: Judge says he’s convinced from trial that all SCHI money cannot be used as seen fit by any employee public or private donations
-2:00 pm: Defense argues that there is no evidence supporting money laundering conviction. State Deputy AG says charges should stand because he was in charge of operations in the school.
-1:45 pm – Packed courthouse, with many attendees, including Lakewood rosh yeshiva Rav Yeruchem Olshin
HT: Hefker Velt