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Trial begins in Kentucky gay hate-crime case

LONDON, Ky. — Opening statements began Wednesday morning in the trial of two Eastern Kentucky men who face the first charges in the nation under a section of the federal hate-crimes law dealing with sexual orientation.

David Jason Jenkins and his cousin, Anthony Ray Jenkins, are accused of conspiring to beat and kill a gay man in Harlan County because of his sexual orientation, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins told jurors that the two men "bragged to family members" about the April 2011 attack and said they did it "because he was gay."

Both men face charges of conspiracy, kidnapping and committing an act of violence based on the victim's sexual orientation.

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