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NC attorney who defended Jim Bakker dead at age 70

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Harold Bender, a defense attorney whose clients included former PTL evangelist Jim Bakker and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, has died. He was 70.

Rick Sanders, funeral director at Peacock-Newnam & White Funeral Service in Southport, said Bender died Sunday at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington. A cause of death wasn’t given.

Bakker, who was involved in a sex scandal, was accused of bilking millions of dollars from the followers of his TV ministry and was convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Hendrick was accused of mail fraud, pleaded guilty to the charge and was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

Among Bender’s survivors are his wife, daughter and two stepsons.

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday in Southport, where Bender maintained a small practice.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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