Jury acquits West Virginia man accused of hate crime

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal jury has acquitted a West Virginia man charged with attacking a woman at a bar in part because she is a lesbian.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a jury of 10 men and two women on Friday found John P. Taylor IV not guilty of violating the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Testimony at trial indicated Taylor and the woman, Angela Portnoy, got into a fight at the Empty Glass Bar in Charleston on Oct. 7, 2017. Portnoy ended up with a cut on her ear.

Prosecutors say Taylor used anti-gay slurs toward Portnoy. Taylor’s attorney said the incident was a “bar brawl” that started when Portnoy bumped Taylor.

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