A New York man accused of attacking participants at a Hanukkah celebration taking place at a rabbi’s home in Rockland County is facing a number of federal criminal charges. In addition to the indictment for the alleged attack itself, the man is also facing elevated charges based on the motivation for the crime. He is accused of five counts of willfully causing bodily injury because of the victims’ religion and five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion through an attempt to kill. The man is accused of bringing an 18-inch machete with him and invading the crowded personal home of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi while congregants celebrated the holiday.
The man allegedly concealed his face with a scarf while stabbing and slashing at the participants in the holiday gathering, injuring at least five people seriously. One of the victims remains in critical condition in a coma. While the charges for the attack were already serious, the additional federal criminal charges highlight allegations that the violence was motivated by religious hatred against Jewish people. After the attack, the man allegedly fled the scene in a car to Manhattan, where he was stopped by New York City police.
Police are relying on an assortment of evidence to back up the allegation that the crime was motivated by hate, which can add a substantial amount to the sentence received. They say that he had searched anti-Semitic content on his mobile phone, looking for companies owned by Jews and information on police responses to other violence against Jews.
People who are the subject of federal criminal charges will face serious penalties if a conviction is obtained. Accordingly, they might want to meet with an attorney as soon as possible so that a strategy to combat the allegations can be constructed.