Democratic New York City councilman Steve Levin is facing criticism for attending the wedding of a man facing criminal prosecution for photographing a woman as she was testifying in a sexual-abuse case, according to the New York Post:
Councilman Steve Levin (D., Brooklyn) not only attended the wedding of Joseph Fried — whose shocking photographs disrupted the trial in midstream — but also posed with him after the March ceremony.
Levin claimed he wasn’t aware that the groom was the same man who was hauled out of a courtroom in November and slapped with criminal-contempt charges for secretly using his cellphone camera when the victim took the stand. …
Levin said that elected officials in his district routinely are invited to the weddings of constituents and that he attended three or four last month alone.
But at one of those, the bridegroom was Fried, who was arrested during the trial of Nechemaya Weberman, a well-known therapist in the ultra-Orthodox Satmar community accused — and ultimately convicted — of forcing a young girl who was sent to him for counseling to have oral sex during their sessions.
The young councilman is related to Rep. Sandy Levin (D., Mich.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.).
Levin was groomed for the position by Brooklyn Democratic Party chair Vito Lopez. He served as Lopez’s chief of staff for three years before running for city council.
Levin said he was not aware that the man had been charged with any crimes.
"I had absolutely no idea that this individual had been arrested for anything ever," Levin told the Post. "I would not have gone had I known."
Fried, along with three other men, was taken out of the court in handcuffs during a November sexual abuse trial after being caught taking iPhone pictures of a 17-year-old girl on the stand.
The men became ostracized figures in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, which constitutes a major part of Levin’s district.