Nuwaubians rally as leader's case is
Associated Press/November 18, 2004
By Doug Gross
Atlanta -- Attorneys for jailed religious sect leader Dwight
"Malachi" York called his federal conviction on child sex charges
flawed Thursday, as more than 100 members of the United Nuwaubian
Nation of Moors pronounced their group strong, even with their
leader in prison.
York's attorneys filed an appeal with the 11th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals.
The brief says the prosecution improperly applied federal
racketeering laws, the judge erred when ruling on defense motions
and the grand jury was tainted by pretrial publicity, York's
attorney, Adrian Patrick of Athens, said Thursday.
The brief also says that York's own trial lawyers jeopardized
York's appeal by withdrawing a crucial motion.
York was sentenced to 135 years in federal prison in April for
molesting 14 boys and girls whose parents were members of his
"We are still affirming that Dr. York is innocent of these
charges," Patrick said at a news conference outside the state
Patrick was fired as York's attorney after his conviction, but
was rehired for the appeal.
York recently referred to himself as "Baba" in a letter to
supporters from a special housing unit of the federal prison in
Leavenworth, Kan. In the Oct. 30 message, York said he has
received visitors from another planet while in prison and was
moved by prison officials because he was converting other inmates
and levitating in the air.
In the letter, York said visitors named Crlll, Alomar and Saad
visited him from "Zeta Reticuli" and healed him.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Maxwell Wood, who headed the
prosecution during the three-week trial in Brunswick, said Wood
would have no comment on the appeal, noting that the government
has until Dec. 13 to file its response.
"For sale" signs now stand on the 476-acre, Putnam County
compound where as many as 500 Nuwaubians lived in pyramid-style
structures only five years ago. The property was seized by the
But Thursday, members said their group is still going strong.
"They said the Nuwaubian nation is dead and they hoped we would
dwindle away," said Hattie McKenny, of Athens, who led the group
in a religious recital before the conference began. "From what I
see, we are setting that straight today."
In the past, members have appeared publicly dressed as cowboys
and in other unusual garb as they practiced York's malleable
religion - which incorporates Islam, Judaism, Christianity and
Egyptian mysticism and has even included talk of space aliens.
On Thursday, members were dressed more conventionally.
All wore black, a few men wore Shriner-style fezzes and several
women adorned their foreheads with jewelry similar to the bindi
worn by Hindu women.
McKenney called the group "very solid, very strong," before
referring other questions to Patrick.
Officials in rural Putnam County say they've seen few signs of
the group since York's conviction.
Sheriff Howard Sills said he's had no contact with about 20
Nuwaubians who own homes in the county. He said the crowd at
Thursday's press conference suggests the group is growing smaller.
"During the hearings and during the trial itself, the most they
could gather was around 200," he said. "This sounds like about
half of even what they could gather then."
Patrick said York had been ill in prison, but is feeling
"He's doing fine; he's upbeat and feeling very well," Patrick
said. "It's the love that he feels from this family."