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FBI launches hate crime investigation into hot water attack on gay Atlanta couple

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Marquez Tolbert and Anthony Gooden (WSB-TV)

The FBI has launched an investigation to determine if an attack on two gay men who were seriously burned last month when hot water was poured on them as they slept in a suburban Atlanta apartment was a hate crime, a spokesman said on Monday.

Martin Blackwell, 48, was arrested on state aggravated battery charges after the Feb. 12 incident and remains jailed, records show.

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Blackwell, who dates the mother of one of the victims, told police he attacked the men because he was disgusted by their relationship.

“They’ll be all right. It was just a little hot water on them,” he said, according to police documents cited by WSB-TV.

A lawyer for Blackwell could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Atlanta office “has initiated a federal civil rights-based investigation to determine whether the federal hate crime statute will apply,” FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said.

Victims Anthony Gooden Jr., 23, and Marquez Tolbert, 21, spent two days and 10 days, respectively, in the hospital to be treated for their burns, College Park police detective Gerald Riser said.

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“The pain doesn’t let you sleep,” Tolbert told WSB. “It’s just, like, it’s excruciating, 24 hours a day, and it doesn’t go anywhere.”

Online fund-raising efforts to help pay the men’s medical bills have generated more than $120,000 in donations, according to the gofundme.com website.

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Dan Grebler)

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WATCH: Bob Woodward grilled on HBO about Trump supporters being disconnected from reality on COVID

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward was taken to task for failing to warn Americans that Donald Trump's public statements on coronavirus were the exact opposite of what he actually believed.

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan interviewed Woodwood on "Axios on HBO" for an episode that aired on Monday.

Swan noted Woodward recorded Trump admitting that COVID was dangerous on March 19th, but instead of immediately warning America by publishing the bombshell, he saved it for his book Rage -- which was published on September 15th.

Woodward claimed that the world already knew the facts on coronavirus by the 19th of March, but Swan pushed back and pointed out that many of Trump's supporters ignore reality and instead trust Trump -- even when his views are not backed up by science or reality.

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‘It was all a hoax’: NYT destroys Trump’s claims of business success — in second blockbuster on his taxes

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President Donald Trump's tax returns have resulted in a second bombshell story by The New York Times.

"From the back seat of a stretch limousine heading to meet the first contestants for his new TV show “The Apprentice,” Donald J. Trump bragged that he was a billionaire who had overcome financial hardship. 'I used my brain, I used my negotiating skills and I worked it all out,” he told viewers. “Now, my company is bigger than it ever was and stronger than it ever was.' It was all a hoax," the newspaper reported Monday evening.

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2020 Election

Trump campaign accused of ‘laundering’ 170 million — companies linked to Brad Parscale are implicated: report

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The Trump campaign may be in legal hot water after a new complaint accused the organization of money laundering.

"The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission Tuesday accusing the Trump campaign of “laundering” $170 million through numerous companies, some with connections to former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale," Forbes reported Monday.

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