CLEVELAND (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a breakaway Amish group spent months planning hair-cutting attacks against followers of their faith in Ohio.
The government on Tuesday began laying out its case against 16 Amish men and women charged with hate crimes in the hair- and beard-cutting attacks last fall. Such hair-cuttings are considered deeply offensive in Amish culture.
Prosecutors presented a photo to jurors in Cleveland and said it showed one suspect holding an Amish bishop on the night some defendants broke into his house and cut his beard.
Prosecutors say the attacks were motivated solely by religious disagreements between Amish bishops and a breakaway group.
The defendants describe what happened as internal church disciplinary matters and say the government shouldn't get involved.
The defense was expected to present its case later Tuesday.