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Washington D.C. rabbi secretly filmed more than 150 women in ritual bath: Prosecutors

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Prosecutors believe that a prominent Washington D.C. rabbi may have secretly filmed 152 women before being arrested last year, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Barry Freundel was originally accused of videotaping six women without their knowledge as they took a ritual bath, known as the mikvah, inside the Kesher Israel Synagogue, where he served as head rabbi for 25 years before being fired last December. But according to the Post, federal prosecutors said in a meeting on Wednesday that they were trying to identify 88 women who were shown in Freundel’s video.

Freundel also allegedly recorded another 64 women between 2009 and 2011. While Freundel is currently charged with misdemeanor voyeurism, he cannot face additional charges in connection with the recording of these women because the alleged incidents fall outside of the statute of limitations.

WJZ-TV reported that prosecutors said they have evidence that Freundel hid cameras in a clock radio and other items for use in filming the women, and that some of the women involved were students in a religious studies course he taught at Towson University. Freundel allegedly offered extra credit to students if they used the mikvah, even if they were not Jewish.

The rabbi also faces a class action civil lawsuit filed by a group of more than 20 women who are also among the 88 women Freundel is accused of filming in his criminal case. If convicted there, he could spend a year in prison for each victim.

“Many of these victims are likely to be apprehensive in coming to court and being publicly identified as a victim. And that could work in his favor,” said attorney Steve Silverman, who is representing the women filing the civil suit. “But it only takes 20 victims to come forward, and you’re looking at 20 years.”

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After his firing, Freundel refused an order to vacate a home owned by the synagogue last month. He is due back in court on Feb. 19.

Watch WJZ’s report, as aired on Friday, below.

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Dem lawmaker serves notice to Hope Hicks that Trump won’t be able to save her when he grills her during Wednesday’s hearing

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On Saturday, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) gave MSNBC's Alex Witt a brief rundown of what he wants to learn from former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks at her closed-door testimony next week — and warned that if Hicks tries to use executive privilege as a shield, Democrats will not stand for it.

"Let's talk about Hope Hicks," said Witt. "What do you expect to hear from her that she has not already offered in testimony?"

"Here's what's important about Hope Hicks," said Deutch. "She was a key part of the Trump campaign, which is a large part of the report is focused on. She was a key part of the Trump Administration in the early days, and that's the reason that she's a prominent figure in the Mueller report."

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2020 Election

Furious Dem lawmaker blows up on Trump over his Iran war escalation: ‘What the hell did he think was going to happen?’

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On Saturday, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), a 2020 candidate for president, told MSNBC's Alex Witt that the rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and Iran are President Donald Trump's fault — and explained how he would do things differently if he is elected.

"Before we get to the debate, I just want to ask you, if you were the president right now, how would you be addressing the situation with Iran?" asked Witt. "Do you think you would try to de-escalate the tensions and move forward in some fashion? Have you given some thought to that?"

"Of course you want to de-escalate it," said Ryan. "The war in the Middle East at this point, in addition to what's going on in Iraq and Syria and all of the other activity there, would be a disaster."

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2020 Election

Trump’s ‘devastating’ internal polls are a red flag that he’s doomed in 2020: political analyst

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On Saturday, The Nation writer John Nichols told MSNBC that President Donald Trump's new internal polls showing him losing key states are "devastating" — and show why his path to re-election may be slipping out of his grasp.

"I would just emphasize these polls are more than a wake-up call. They're pretty devastating numbers," said Nichols. "We can get excited about a close race in Texas or even some good numbers out of Florida. But remember that for Donald Trump, the key is the Great Lakes states."

"What these internal polls tell us parallels what we're seeing from publicly done polling in those regions," said Nichols. "Two things very significant. Number one, there is an energized Democratic base, more energized, it appears, than 2016. And additionally one subset of this that's a really big deal, major issue for Trump, and that is that in the rural areas where Democrats severely underperformed in 2016, it's what we are seeing in the public polls and I suspect top line numbers from what we're seeing in other places suggest we're seeing rural areas begin to tick back up for Democrats going to that 40 percent number."

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