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Pastor who stole more than $631,000 from AIDS charities claims he’s ‘entitled to it’

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A New York City pastor is being charged with stealing money that was allocated to go to help HIV-positive drug addicts to use for Caribbean vacations and gifts for himself.

According to the New York Daily News, Bronx Pastor Reginald Williams, of the Charity Baptist Church of Christ, scammed nonprofit groups out of more than $631,000. Two others, Bennie Hadnott and Naomi Barrera, helped Williams and were charged with grand larceny in the Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday.

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Hadnott scored $40,000 from a contract with his Tondah Consulting Group and he managed to get $54,000 in kickbacks on top of it.

“Williams allegedly used the money to pay off his American Express bill and write cashier’s checks to himself and his wife,” NYDN reported.

Two taxpayer-funded nonprofits were completely plundered, according to prosecutors. Barrera is accused of using proceeds from a real estate sale. Barrera scored $30,000 and Williams pocketed $135,000.

“Prosecutors said Williams also had a lucrative expense reimbursement hustle,” wrote the NYDN. “They said he expensed $100,000 spent on trips to the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic and treated himself to $170,000 worth of dinners and bar tabs. He allegedly double-dipped his reimbursements by submitting the same receipts to both ARC affiliates.”

The men “shamelessly stole from publicly funded organizations dedicated to helping vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. “Even while their organizations struggled financially – failing to meet contractual obligations and even furloughing employees without pay – these defendants continued to drain the coffers for their personal gain.”

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Williams’ attorney disputes the account, saying that he raised over $14 million for the foundation. Because he raised the money, “he was entitled to” it, said attorney Paul Martin. “The board made the decision to pay my client, to pay him for the years in which he got no salary.”

Read the full report from the New York Daily News.

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CNN legal analyst flattens Rick Santorum for ridiculous impeachment defense of Trump

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Former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum was shut down on CNN for his latest defense of President Donald Trump.

Santorum was effectively arguing for people to ignore the words coming from Trump.

"Wait, this argument is insane," Carrie Cordero said. "You cannot argue that the president of the United States' words do not matter or that he's just sort of spouting off or he has his own views."

"The reality is we ignore 80 to 90% of what the president says," Santorum argued. "Look at the tweets, we ignore most of those things he tweets and say 'it's Trump being Trump.'"

Then CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin flattened Santorum.

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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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