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Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 1:17pm

Sect Leader Claims Case Mishandled

The founder of the Nuwaubian religious sect is asking a federal judge to toss out his 135-year prison sentence.

Dwight "Malachi" York alleges prosecutors mishandled his 2004 child molestation trial and that witnesses were coerced. York, who is serving his sentence in Colorado, accuses federal agents of threatening witnesses until they agreed to testify against him.

Affidavits included in the motion are from seven of York's victims, who now say they were never molested and were coerced to make false statements.

York founded the religious sect in New York in the late 1960s and moved it to rural Putnam County in 1993.

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