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New York woman with eight husbands denies fraud charges

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Always the bride, never the bridesmaid.

A New York City woman accused of being married to eight men at the same time pleaded not guilty in state court in the Bronx on Friday to two counts of felony fraud that prosecutors say stemmed from a scheme to gain U.S. citizenship for grooms from countries “red flagged” by the Department of Homeland Security.

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After Liana Barrientos, 39, married men from Egypt, Turkey, Georgia and other countries, she tied the knot an eighth time with Pakistani man Rashid Rajput, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said.

Rajput was later deported to Pakistan in 2006 following an investigation into making threatening statements about the United States by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security, tags certain countries with red flags as part of efforts to prevent “illegal export of sensitive U.S. munitions and strategic technology” and protect “American technological accomplishment from adversaries,” according to the State Department.

“Not guilty,” said Barrientos, sporting a ring on her left hand and shaking her head as she faced a judge during her arraignment.

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The blonde woman got married as many as six times in a single year, in 2002, according to the criminal complaint.

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Lupo said Barrientos is still married to four men. When investigators asked her about her marriage to husband Vakhtang Dzneladze of Georgia as he sought U.S. residency, Barrientos admitted “receiving money for those actions,” Lupo said.

As soon as the wedding bells stopped ringing, seven husbands filed for legal permanent resident status, Lupo said.

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“When some of them were denied, they filed for divorce immediately and re-filed for their immigration status with other marriages,” she said.

Barrientos was arrested last November after forms she filed in New York City in 2010 for a marriage license with Salle Keita from Mali raised suspicions. A District Attorney’s Office investigator found a trove of marriage certificates tying her to multiple other husbands in various towns across New York state.

Barrientos had stated on the 2010 forms that Keita was her first and only husband, and that statement prompted the two felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing, each punishable by up to four years in prison if convicted.

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(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Barbara Goldberg and Will Dunham)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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White House spokesperson ridiculed for ‘pathetic’ spin on Trump’s trade war admission: ‘Does she think we believe that?’

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Hours after Donald Trump blithely admitted that he had "second thoughts" about his trade war with China that has damaged the U.S. economy and helped set the stage for a possible recession, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham was forced to issue a clarification about the president's comments.

Addressing Trump's G7 response about his tariffs, widely interpreted by the press as expressing some regret, Grisham issued a statement saying the president meant that he wished he had increased his market-destroying tariffs even more.

"The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'" White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham relayed. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

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Here is why Trump is obsessed with Greenland

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They say that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Remember that President Harry Truman tried to purchase Greenland in 1946; now, in 2019, President Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

To be clear, Trump’s farcical, “absurd” idea — to borrow the adjective used by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen — is not happening, and was never going to happen. As Frederiksen pointed out, Greenland is “not for sale." Trump, for his part, has not backed down from the idea.

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2020 Election

Iowa’s Steve King facing ouster because his campaign is broke and his allies have fled: report

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Iowa Republican Steve King is facing losing his seat representing his district in the U.S. House of Representatives as his campaign finds itself broke and the Republican Party has turned its back on him after his latest round of controversial comments.

According to a report from the Daily Beast, his campaign is struggling to bring donors -- who once wholeheartedly supported him --back into the fold.

Even worse, his colleagues in Congress have also abandoned him.

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