York's attorneys seeking new trial

The Macon Telegraph/May 25, 2004
By Sharon E. Crawford

Attorneys for convicted child molester and cult leader Malachi York have asked a federal judge for a new trial, citing new evidence they say could clear their client.


Monday, York's attorneys asked U.S. District Court Judge C. Ashley Royal for a new trial based on an affidavit from a woman recanting her testimony in January that York molested her and then she solicited other children to have sex with York.

The motion was filed last week, but a new motion was filed Monday after defense attorneys received an updated affidavit from the woman.

York is the leader of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a quasi-religious group based in Putnam County.

On April 22 - the day York was sentenced to 135 years in federal prison - his supporters produced a videotape of the woman saying she was never molested and was coerced into testifying by York's son, Jacob York.

In the affidavit, the woman says Jacob York coerced her into making up a story of abuse and that she worked with other victims to make sure their stories were similar.

"I take her at her word," York's new attorney, Jonathan Marks, said Monday. "She said she really didn't understand it would go this far and she wants to right this awful wrong."

Marks said he's hoping to get a hearing to discuss the need for a new trial. Federal prosecutors did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.

"This startling evidence could not have been discovered until after the trial," Marks said in his motion. "(York's attorney) sought diligently to obtain exculpatory evidence to present at trial. Indeed, he was successful in calling several alleged victims whom (witnesses) claimed to have seen having sex with (the) defendant when they were minors."

Marks said the female witness was the first to come forward saying she did not tell the truth at trial. Marks said that since he took over as York's attorney, he's talked to several alleged victims whose names were brought up during the trial.

"I haven't talked to every one of the victims who testified during the trial , but I have talked to some who were named as victims," Marks said. "Quite a number have said they were not victimized."

York, 58, began his organization in 1967 in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a Muslim community. He later moved it to upstate New York, then to Putnam County in 1993.

The group's ideology has undergone several shifts, claiming ties at various times to Christians, Jews, ancient Egyptians and American Indians. At one time, York claimed to be an alien from another planet.

Beginning in 1998, the Nuwaubians and Putnam County officials engaged in a public battle over county zoning requirements. That case has never been settled. The Nuwaubians erected Egyptian-style statues and pyramids on the compound, often without building permits. The county sued York and some of his followers over the illegal buildings.

But in May 2002, after a lengthy investigation into allegations that York was molesting children in the compound, officials from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and the FBI arrested York at a grocery store in Milledgeville, then raided the group's compound.

York still awaits sentencing in Putnam County Superior Court on 77 counts of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and exploitation of children he pleaded guilty to in January 2003, officials said.















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