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New York firefighter charged with setting fire to own home — and blaming it on Black Lives Matter

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A New York firefighter was arrested after allegedly setting fire to his own home in an apparent attempt to smear anti-police brutality activists.

Jason Stokes pleaded not guilty Tuesday to arson in connection with the August fire at his house in Endicott, reported WBNG-TV.

A family member said at the time that they believed their home was targeted because of the “Blue Lives Matter” flag flying out front.

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Investigators found the message, “lie with pigs, fry like bacon,” written on some siding outside the burned home.

The slogan apparently referenced an incident from August 2015, when some demonstrators chanted, “pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon,” during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Minnesota State Fair that was widely reported by conservative media.

Pro-police websites blamed the fire at Stokes’ home on “terrorists” associated with the civil rights group.

Prosecutors now believe the 41-year-old Stokes wrote the message to help cover up his crime, although they’re not sure why.

“We don’t need to show a motive, we need to show intent,” said Steve Cornwell, Broome County district attorney.

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Investigators also found multiple gas cans placed throughout the home, which they said appeared to be booby-trapped, but Stokes’ family escaped unharmed and no other injuries were reported.

Cornwell said he was disturbed by the apparent attempt to blame civil rights activists for the fire.

“That statement to me is absolutely despicable,” he said. “It fuels a false narrative when it comes to the work that police officers do.”

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Stokes remains jailed on $10,000 bond.

UPDATE: Endicott firefighter has been released from jail after posting $10K bail

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Trump impeachment trial: 4 stories from first day spell doom for Mitch McConnell

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If the score was kept for the first day of the impeachment trial, it would show hefty losses for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As Former Special Counsel for the Department of Defense, Ryan Goodman, pointed out, four major headlines perfectly reflect the cracks in the strangle-hold McConnell has had on his party.

First, McConnell was forced to change the impeachment hearing rules. After a huge uprising by Americans demanding to be able to watch the impeachment trial during normal human hours, senators told McConnell he'd lost the votes to hold proceedings after midnight.

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‘Disease fanboy’: Internet slams NBC conservative for ‘rooting for pandemic’ to distract from Trump impeachment trial

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Hugh Hewitt is once again under fire, this time for almost appearing to be glad a deadly SARS-related virus has been diagnosed in a patient in Washington state – saying additional diagnoses will take the focus away from the Senate's historic impeachment trial. Hewitt is a conservative Washington Post columnist, radio host, MSNBC and NBC contributor, and law professor who went from being a "Never-Trumper" to all-in for President Donald Trump.

"People care much more for their health than theater," said Hewitt via Twitter, referring to Trump's impeachment trial. The SARS-related virus, known as the Wuhan coronavirus, is named for an area of China where it was first found. It "has infected more than 300 people and killed six in an outbreak that has struck China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and now the US," CNN reports.

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Trump pushed for a sweetheart tax deal on his first hotel — it’s cost NYC $410,068,399 and counting

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In 1975, New York City was run-down and on the verge of bankruptcy. Twenty-nine-year-old Donald Trump saw an opportunity. He wanted to acquire and redevelop the dilapidated Commodore Hotel in midtown Manhattan next to Grand Central Terminal.

Trump had bragged to the executive controlling the sale that he could use his political connections to get tax breaks for the deal.

The executive was skeptical. But the next day, the executive was invited into Trump’s limousine, which ushered him to City Hall. There, he met with Donald’s father Fred and Mayor Abe Beame, to whom the Trumps had given lavishly.

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