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Amish leader convicted in beard-cutting attacks files appeal

MECHANICSVILLE, MD - JANUARY 21: A horse pulls an Amish buggy during a snowfall January 21, 2014 in Mechanicsville, Maryland. A strong winter storm is bearing down on the East Coast between Virginia and Massachusetts and could dump four to eight inches of snow on the Washington area. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — The leader of a breakaway Amish group in Ohio convicted in hair- and beard-cutting attacks is asking a federal judge to overturn his 2012 convictions.

Samuel Mullet Sr. is arguing in an appeal filed Friday that his former attorney made a series of mistakes during the trial and in his previous appeals.

His former attorney said in court documents that he did make errors handling the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided last year not to review Mullet’s appeal challenging the constitutionality of the federal hate crimes.

Prosecutors say Mullet directed the hair-cutting attacks. Hair and beards have spiritual significance in the Amish faith.

Mullet is serving an 11-year sentence. The fifteen other members of the eastern Ohio Amish community convicted in the case have since been released.