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Fraud trial in second week

Rome News-Tribune, USA
Jan. 18, 2005 • Thursday January 20, 2005

Defendant Abraham Kennard told the Rome News-Tribune today that “things are going OK” as the second week of his trial starts in federal court.

“I think the Lord’s with me,” Kennard said soberly as a court marshal escorted him to a holding cell for this afternoon’s lunch break.

Kennard, who is defending himself against charges that he stole around $9 million from 1,600 churches nationwide, spent the morning cross-examining Bishop Willie Robbins Jr., a former affiliate of his company, Network International Investment Corporation.

Robbins told jurors that he would not have become a part of NIIC if he had known that the promises Kennard made to member churches were never going to be honored.

“That’s why we followed you. Because we believed what you said to us,” Robbins told Kennard.

John Peyton, a pastor from Manassass, Va., took the stand after Robbins, telling jurors that never received “one dime” of the money Kennard had promised him from NIIC in exchange for $18,000 in membership fees.

Proceedings will resume at 1:40 p.m. with the cross-examination of Peyton.

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