Rabbi's defense takes plea to federal court Attorneys in the Neulander murder case want unedited FBI files on a key prosecution witness.

Posted: May 24, 2001

The attorneys for Rabbi Fred J. Neulander have gone to federal court to try to force the FBI to turn over all unedited documents relating to former private investigator Len Jenoff, the state's key witness in the murder case against their client.

The attorneys, Dennis Wixted and Jeffrey C. Zucker, have been seeking to learn more about Jenoff's role as an FBI informant in Philadelphia and Baltimore, and the FBI has turned over documents - but with portions blacked out.

In March, Judge Linda G. Baxter of Superior Court in Camden County refused to order the FBI to turn over unredacted copies. Now, a hearing in federal court is tentatively set for June 15.

Jenoff, 55, came forward in April 2000 to tell the Camden County Prosecutor's Office that he and a former roommate killed Rabbi Neulander's wife, Carol, who was found bludgeoned to death at the couple's Cherry Hill home on Nov. 1, 1994. Jenoff said the rabbi had agreed to pay him $30,000 to arrange the killing.

Rabbi Neulander, 59, has pleaded not guilty and insisted that he had nothing to do with the killing. He is charged with capital murder, felony murder and conspiracy.

Jenoff, formerly of Collingswood, and accomplice Paul Michael Daniels, 27, a former Pennsauken resident, have pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and agreed to testify against the rabbi.

With jury selection scheduled to begin Aug. 20 in Camden, the rabbi's attorneys are seeking any information that would enable them to attack Jenoff's credibility. They believe the unredacted 82-page Philadelphia file might help.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis J. Bizzarri has told the defense that the FBI has determined that releasing the unedited documents would violate rules barring disclosure of classified information.

Bizzarri, who has described the redacted portions as administrative in nature, said he had reviewed the complete file and concluded that "none of the redactions contain substantive information relevant to the Neulander case."

In court papers filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Camden, Wixted and Zucker said they "strongly challenge the sweeping assertion invoking 'classified information' with no justification provided whatsoever."

They focused on an FBI report from August 1994 and said the period was important because it was when the rabbi allegedly solicited Jenoff to kill his wife.

If Jenoff's statements about his relationship with the rabbi "can be compromised by these reports, they are clearly exculpatory, highly relevant and most deservedly discoverable," Wixted and Zucker wrote, adding that they have no interest in sensitive administrative information.

Emilie Lounsberry's e-mail address is elounsberry@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus