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Texas mortuary owner faces trial over rotting bodies

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The owner of a Fort Worth mortuary where corpses were left to rot stood trial on Wednesday on charges of taking money from clients for funerals and not properly attending to the bodies.

One of the first witnesses called in the trial of Dondre Johnson, 41, who operated Johnson Family Mortuary with his wife, Rachel Hardy-Johnson, 36, said the stench from the facility was so bad he had to cover his face with a wet rag just to step inside.

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The pair is charged with felony theft, which carries up to two years in prison, for accepting payments from families of deceased loved ones “in exchange for promising services they did not intend to deliver,” according to a statement from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office.

They are also charged with corpse abuse.

Building landlord Jim Labenz, the first witness to testify, told the court he discovered eight decomposing bodies at the facility in July 2014 and then notified police.

Fort Worth police, who arrested the pair, said the bodies were to be have been cremated but instead left to rot in rooms without air-conditioning.

Johnson’s attorney Alex Kim said in opening statements Johnson ran operations but Hardy-Johnson was the boss, a move seen as deflecting blame.

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Labenz testified the mortuary was persistently behind on rent payments so he had the locks changed and had started eviction proceedings when he made the discovery inside, he said.

Labenz also testified that he spent $8,000 on a hazardous materials clean-up.

Johnson denied after his arrest last year that the bodies were mishandled and said the situation was a misunderstanding related to the eviction.

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Hardy-Johnson faces the same charges and will be tried separately. She pled guilty to food stamp benefit fraud this year and is serving a 21-month sentence in federal prison.


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World leaders mocked Trump because they’re tired of his ‘center of attention’ act: MSNBC guest

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During an MSNBC segment on President Donald Trump's abrupt departure from NATO talks in London after video was released of world leaders making fun of him, an MSNBC guest said those same leaders have become tired of his act.

Speaking with host David Gura, the LA Times Eli Stokols said international diplomats have realized there is no dealing with the president who is in his own world and just wants attention..

"Your colleague had a great line: 'This is a president who views norms like a teenager views curfews,'" Gura began.

"Well, he likes going to these things and blowing them up and being the center of attention," Stokols replied.

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Trump slammed for lawless obstruction of Congress: ‘He’s taken a sledgehammer to the Constitution’

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On CNN Saturday, former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY), who voted for the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, discussed the path forward for impeaching President Donald Trump.

"We know moderate Democrats are a bit frustrated with leadership over potentially expanding the scope of their consideration, maybe the Mueller report findings and drawing up these articles of impeachment," said anchor Victor Blackwell. "Do you think it's a mistake not to include anything beyond the Ukraine matter?"

"Yes," said Holtzman. "I think it would be a mistake, although, you know, I'm still at a distance, and the members of the committee really have to, who have been digging into this deeply have the best feel, but my sense is that the, what the president did is so egregious, not just with regard to Ukraine, but what part of what's bad about his activities in Ukraine, is that he's taken a sledgehammer to the Constitution by saying that Congress has no right to get information, and he's cut off his committee, his administration from, and ordered and directed them not to cooperate with the committee in any way."

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Giuliani pummeled by ex-press secretary for ‘returning to the scene of the crime’ to create Ukraine chaos

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On CNN Saturday, Rudy Giuliani's former mayoral press secretary Ken Frydman harshly criticized his former boss for his ongoing efforts in the Ukraine scheme.

"As you've watched the former mayor over the last several years, have you identified a point at which things shifted for the man who I guess still is for some known at America's Mayor?" asked anchor Victor Blackwell."

"Well, yeah. I think when he went into business with Donald Trump," said Frydman. "You saw a — a severe change in his personality. He had a zealous need to make money, to be relevant. To be part of the political process. And you know right now he's making, I think, ill-advised decisions, like returning to the scene of the crime, Ukraine, to make a propagandist documentary. Almost as if he's playing, he and the president, are playing, 'catch me if you can.' The president will not participate in the impeachment hearings, and Rudy is off in the Ukraine doubling down."

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