Opening statements in the trial of 16 Amish men and women accused of cutting the hair and beards of fellow Amish are set to be heard in a federal court in Cleveland.
News Channel 5 reports prosecutors are ready to begin their case against the breakaway group saying religious differences sparked the alleged attacks last fall.
The group maintains that the events were part of church discipline and that the government should stay out of the matter.
All 16, including alleged mastermind Samuel Mullet Sr are charged with federal hate crimes and could be facing lengthy prison terms if convicted.
Mullet says he didn't order the attacks, but that he never stopped anyone from carrying them out.
The cutting of hair in the Amish culture is considered to be deeply offensive.
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