A man from Mississippi who was accused of destroying a statue of a pagan idol is now charged with a hate crime.
The Statue was allegedly brought to the capitol by the Satanic Temple of Iowa abiding by state rules that allows religious displays in the building during the holidays.
Michael Cassidy, who was a former congressional and legislative candidate from Mississippi, was charged the next day with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. He told the conservative website the ‘Sentinel’ that “my conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”
“Evidence shows the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim’s religion,” Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Polk county attorney’s office, said in a statement.
Cassidy’s attorney, Sara Pasquale, refused to comment on the new charge. She had initially accused the Satanic Temple for making filings that “are only meant to evoke strong emotions and incite others.”
Cassidy will be arraigned on Feb. 15, 2024. His case has raised more than $84,000 for his defense from nearly 2,000 supporters, according to the fundraising site GiveSendGo.
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