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Christian Veteran Who Destroyed Satanic Statue Gets Major Legal Update

Hate crime charges have been dropped against Michael Cassidy, a veteran who destroyed a satanic statue that was on display outside the Iowa state Capitol Building, as part of a plea deal.

Cassidy, who was narrowly defeated in a congressional primary against U.S. Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) in 2022, pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the felony hate crime charge he was facing.

The former congressional candidate was set to go on trial on June 3, though his attorney filed a guilty plea on his behalf to an aggravated misdemeanor count of third-degree criminal mischief, the Des Moines Register reported. Cassidy admitted in writing that he “partially dismantled a display in the Iowa State Capitol Building, without a right/license to do so,” adding that the damage was greater than $750.

The statue was a display of the demonic, horned deity Baphomet, which was brought to the Iowa State Capitol as a result of an effort from the Satanic Temple. The group has frequently sought to bring satanic statues to state Capitols, arguing that it should be allowed under religious freedom principles.

On December 14, the statue was “destroyed beyond repair,” according to the group. Cassidy quickly took credit for the destruction and said he had no regrets, citing his Christian faith.

“I saw this blasphemous statue and was outrage,” Cassidy said. “My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”

Cassidy had raised more than $125,000 for his legal defense through the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo after prosecutors charged him with vandalism-related offenses. In January, Polk County prosecutors announced that Cassidy would be facing charges of third-degree-criminal mischief, while the act would be classified  as a “hate crime” under Iowa law.

The news generated outrage from conservative leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and former President Donald Trump.

As part of his plea agreement, Cassidy will receive a deferred judgment with two years probation, an $855 civil penalty, and be ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined. He will also be required to participate in a victim-offender dialogue with representatives of the Satanic Temple if requested.

The sentencing recommendation is not binding on the court, however, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Ben Collis is a freelance journalist for the Trending Politico covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.
Ben Collis
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