The Nation

Jim Bakker disdained "the people he was asking to send (him) money" and "described them as tacky because of the way they dressed," a federal prosecutor said as the TV evangelist's trial on fraud and conspiracy charges opened in Charlotte, N.C. The first witness, former aide David Taggart, testified that Bakker was involved in the daily details of the PTL ministry and had told him that top executives took a cut from the money they raised. Bakker once said that he "wanted to be paid like Johnny Carson," Taggart added. But Bakker's attorneys described him as "a creative, religious genius." Prosecutors say Bakker and others diverted $4 million to their own uses.

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