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Philly Jesus wins: charges withdrawn

Christmas gift? Philly Jesus' trials are over, for now.

Philly Jesus outside the Criminal Justice Center before his hearing on Dec. 3.

Charles Mostoller

The lawyer for Philly Jesus announced today that charges against his client have been dropped by the District Attorney's Office.

“The DA's decision reaffirms our contention all along: Philly Jesus' arrest for pre­textual charges was without legal merit," Philly Jesus' attorney, Charles M. Gibbs, said in a statement.

Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams, confirmed that they will not prosecute Philly Jesus.

"HALLELUjAH TO THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SiNS OF THE WORLD!!!!!HOSANNA iN THE HiGHEST!!!!"Philly Jesus wrote in a message commenting on the decision. "GOD BLESS EVERYONE!!!!"

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Philly Jesus, a.k.a Mike Grant, is a bearded Jesus imitator known for preaching in LOVE Park and posing for photos with tourists in his long flowing robes.

Gibbs “salutes the DA's office for not wasting its resources and taxpayers’ money on prosecuting ‘Philly Jesus’ a person who simply stands in public squares declaring a message of peace, hope, and love; and instead focus their attention on the much more pressing issues facing our city," he said in his statement.

Philly Jesus faced two summary offenses, for loitering and failure to disperse, after being arrested last month. He said at the time that an officer approached him and accused him of soliciting for accepting cash donations from fans.

While Philly Jesus was handcuffed and arrested, ultimately the worst punishment he could have faced was a fine.

However, Philly Jesus pleaded not guilty and requested to go to trial on the case after a status hearing on Wednesday.

Philly Jesus, already a local celebrity, skyrocketed into national and international fame after his arrest.

"The overwhelming support that Philly Jesus has received locally, nationally, and internationally is due in large part to the captivating story that Philly Jesus represents: a young man who has overcome his own personal demons and now is devoted to talking to anyone and everyone about Jesus posited against a government actor who decided to enforce his will instead of the law," Gibbs said in his statement.

Philly Jesus is open about the struggles with drug addiction and homelessness in his past before he turned to his current vocation.

Now he is known for preaching to the public, as well as attempting to debate and preach love to the Philadelphia Black Israelites.

Outside of court on Wednesday, Philly Jesus was philosophical about his arrest.

"God's gonna use this to further me into my destiny," he said after the hearing. "My destiny is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all creation in a visual experience. This is why I do what I do. When people look at me, they don't think about Michael. They automatically think about the name of Jesus."

Without the scheduled Dec. 15 court date, Philly Jesus' Christmas crosswalk is expected to go ahead unimpeded.

 
 
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