York sentencing set for Thursday

Malachi York is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Thursday – but first, a federal judge must hear two more motions involving the cult leader and convicted child molester, officials said.

York, 58, could face between 20 to 30 years in federal prison after being convicted in January on 10 counts of child molestation and racketeering.

Sentencing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday and federal security will be placed around the courthouse, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Pam Lightsey said.

The hearing is one of three scheduled for York in U.S. District Court in Macon this week.

York, the self-proclaimed leader of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, also is expected to appear in federal court at 10 a.m. today for a hearing to have his attorney, Adrian Patrick, removed. Patrick, who has an office in Athens, did not return a phone call for comment Friday.

Today, Judge Ashley Royal is scheduled to hear arguments on whether Patrick can withdraw from York’s case. March 15, Patrick filed a motion to withdraw from the case “for reasons that can be outlined at the sealed closed ex-parte hearing for client protection.”

Federal prosecutors filed a response asking the judge to deny Patrick’s request because he failed to cite a good reason for leaving.

Friday, York’s legal team is expected to argue against federal prosecutors’ attempt to seek restitution in the case. Prosecutors have asked the court for restitution of $113,402.53 in trial costs.

Both hearings are scheduled for 10 a.m.

York founded the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors in the early 1970s in Brooklyn, N.Y. The group was then known as the Nubian Islamic Hebrews and was an Islamic sect. In the 1980s, the group moved its base from the Bushwick Avenue neighborhood in Brooklyn to a camp outside Liberty, N.Y., in the Catskill Mountains. In 1993, York and his followers moved to Putnam County, where York claimed to be from another planet.

Beginning in 1998, the Nuwaubians and Putnam County officials engaged in a public battle over county zoning requirements.

The Nuwaubians erected Egyptian-style statues and pyramids on the compound, often without building permits. The county sued York and some of his followers over the illegal buildings.

But in May 2002, after a lengthy investigation into allegations that York was molesting children in the compound, officials from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI arrested York at a grocery store in Milledgeville, then raided the group’s compound.

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