Witness in York case maintains original
testimony was true
Associated Press/August 14, 2004
Macon, Ga. -- A key government witness in the case of a leader
of a quasi-religious sect convicted of child molestation and
racketeering said she tried to recant her testimony because she
felt sorry for him.
Attorneys for Malachi York, head of the United Nuwaubian Nation
of Moors, had sought a new trial because one of the witnesses had
made sworn statements in contradiction to trial testimony that
said she had not been molested by York.
But witness Habiybah Washington said on the witness stand on
Friday that her trial testimony against York was true. During the
trial, she said York molested her beginning when she was 13 and
that York molested other children as well.
She said she later recanted her testimony because she felt
sorry for York and that "everyone deserves a second chance, even
when they do something wrong."
York's defense attorney Jonathan Marks told Judge Ashley Royal
that because Washington stuck to her original testimony, he wanted
to withdraw his motion for a new trial. But York instructed Marks
to leave the motion in place.
Royal did not rule on the motion on Friday.
York was sentenced to 135 years in federal prison in April. His
January conviction was based on the testimony of cult members who
said he regularly molested children and manipulated the sect's
finances from 1998 to 2002, when federal agents raided their