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Hypnosis Hearing Stuns Petitioner

Posted Jul 24, 2007 10:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge has granted a hearing to determine if the children who agreed to testify in a high-profile sexual abuse case were influenced by hypnosis.

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert of Central Islip, N.Y., issued the order in response to a habeas petition by Jesse Friedman, the New York Times reports. Friedman served 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to abusing 13 children during computer lessons at his home.

Friedman’s case was chronicled in the documentary “Capturing the Friedmans.” He has long sought to exonerate himself, saying he pleaded guilty because he thought it was useless to try to defend the charges.

Friedman claims the 2003 film revealed exculpatory evidence. He says prosecutors used threats and hypnosis to create false memories of abuse, a claim that prosecutors say is not true.

Friedman told the Times he is stunned by the order. “It’s almost difficult to process because I had pretty much given up hope,” he said.

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