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Tea Party activist blames autism after pleading guilty to child porn charges

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A longtime conservative activist will spend up to two years in prison after he admitted to collecting hundreds of sexually explicit images of children — but defense attorneys blamed his autism and depression.

Christian Hine, of Fort Mill, S.C., spoke out against the Affordable Care Act, toll roads and taxes to build sports arenas, and the former president of a local Tea Party group promoted candidates such as Rand Paul, Greg Brannon and Dan Forest, reported The Herald.

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But the 39-year-old Hine was arrested in June 2015 after FBI agents raided his home and seized his electronic devices, where investigators found more than 700 images showing children involved in pornography.

Authorities said those photos had been shared thousands of times for more than a decade.

Hine’s attorneys argued that he had only about half that number of photos, and they said his autism disorder had left him unable to communicate well or socialize normally with others.

They said that caused him to become addicted to pornography, which then led him to search for images of children instead of adults.

“His descent into depression and pornography abuse was as swift as it was tragic,” wrote his attorney, Johnny Gasser. “It’s difficult to understand how Christian ended up in such a terrible place.”

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Hines pleaded guilty to 10 felony charges in connection with the case, and he was ordered to spend at least two years in prison.

After he’s released, Hines must register as a sex offender and go through three years of probation.

If he fails to complete the terms of that sentence, Hines could be ordered to spend up to eight more years in prison.

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His lawyers had asked the court to sentence Hines to house arrest, but the court disagreed with their recommendation.

Hines, who has worked for a lumber mill and as an Uber driver since his arrest, accepted full responsibility for his action in court, the newspaper reported.

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Some of his former co-workers at a U.S. Postal Service processing plant and conservative activists who knew Hines asked the court to show mercy in sentencing.

A doctor testified that Hines was not likely to re-offend after undergoing treatment, which he’s been doing since his arrest.


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Lindsey Graham promises Fox viewers a new investigation into Andrew McCabe despite the Justice Dept clearing him

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Appearing on the Fox Business channel with host Maria Bartiromo, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) promised viewers he fully intends to use his position as the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee to launch his own investigation into former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe despite the former law enforcement official already having been cleared by the Justice Department.

Complaining that the controversial Steele dossier was based on " a bunch of bar-talk and hearsay," Graham said he plans to call -- at the very least -- McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey in to be grilled by his committee.

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2020 Election

‘Kiss Florida goodbye’: Voto Latino head warns Democrats of coming 2020 debacle

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," Voto Latino CEO María Teresa Kumar said Democrats should not count on taking Florida's 29 electoral votes in the upcoming 2020 presidential election if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the at the top of the ticket.

During a fairly contentious panel discussion on the viability of Sanders as a candidate due to self-identifying as a democratic socialist, Kumar claimed that would not play well Florida's Latino community.

"All I can think about when David [Corn] was unpacking it for us, we can all agree is you can kiss Florida goodbye," she explained. "I say that, Floridians -- Latinos that have fled socialism, they have fled and they are in Florida and they have sensibilities that are different from the rest of the Latino community."

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CNN’s Bakari Sellers schools Rick Santorum over claim Trump is not part of the ‘extreme hard right’

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During a panel discussion on CNN's State of the Union, contributor Bakari Sellers set fellow panelist Rick Santorum straight after he tried to claim that Donald Trump doesn't take far-right positions.

Following a discussion on Sen. Bernie Sanders' Nevada caucus win, Santorum tried to note the major differences between Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Responding to conservative commentator Linda Chavez who called both Sanders and Trump "two angry people," Santorum remarked, "I wanted to take issue with what Linda said: two angry folks representing the extremes, and I would agree with that, with Bernie Sanders, and he is representing, no question, the extreme of the Democratic Party and he says that he is a socialist and he is angry, I agree."

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