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Florida priest on trial in embezzlement case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Testimony has begun in the trial of a Florida priest accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his church.

The Rev. Francis Guinan has pleaded not guilty. He is accused of stealing $488,000 from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach to fund a lavish lifestyle.

The trial began Tuesday and is expected to last several weeks.

Guinan's attorney Richard Barlow told the jury the Catholic Church allows priests to make expenditures below $50,000 without approval. He says Guinan did nothing wrong.

Prosecutors claim he misappropriated thousands of dollars, spending money on fancy hotels and resorts, trips to Las Vegas and lavish home furnishings.

Another priest accused of skimming money from the church pleaded guilty last month.


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