SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Jurors have begun deliberating the case of a white man charged with burning a predominantly black Massachusetts church in the hours after President Barack Obama’s 2008 election.
Michael Jacques (JAKES) and two friends were charged with setting fire to the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield.
The other men pleaded guilty and implicated Jacques. He faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy against civil rights, damage to religious property and other charges. Jurors began begin deliberating Tuesday.
Jacques’ attorney said in her closing argument Monday that Jacques didn’t set the fire and that incriminating statements he made in taped conversations were just bragging about something he didn’t do.
Prosecutors said Jacques told friends that Obama’s election meant blacks and Puerto Ricans were taking over the country.
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