Southern California breaking news and trends

'Obama is Muslim' trends on Twitter thanks to poll of likely Republican primary voters

President And Mrs. Obama Attend Sunday Church Services

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

File: President Barack Obama speaks at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church January 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke during a service in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Talk about the long-debunked rumors that Obama is a Muslim is once again in the cultural zeitgeist, thanks to a new poll showing the majority of likely Republican primary voters in Albamaa and Mississippi don't believe Obama is a Christian. It led to "Obama is Muslim" hitting the top trending topics nationwide, including right here in Los Angeles.

The survey by Public Policy Polling shows that only 14 percent of Albama voters believe Obama is a Christian, while 45 percent believe he's a Muslim and 41 percent aren't sure.

In Mississippi, those numbers are similar but more pronounced, with only 12 percent saying he's a Christian, a 52 percent majority saying he's a Muslim and 36 percent not sure.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently attacked Obama as having "some phony theology," but Santorum later added that he was speaking specifically about Obama's environmental policies not coming from Christian theology, not questioning Obama's religion overall.

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Shepard Fairey pleads guilty in 'HOPE' poster criminal case

Shepard Fairey Obama HOPE poster

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Shepard Fairey unveiling his portrait of then US president-elect Barack Obama before it was installed at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC (2009)

The civil lawsuit between artist Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press over the use of an image in his Barack Obama "HOPE" poster was settled out of court in 2011, however, the criminal case, stemming from Fairey's acknowledgement that he fabricated and destroyed information in the 2009 lawsuit, was just heard in a New York courtroom. 

Fairey pled guilty on Friday in federal court to one count of criminal contempt for misconduct he called  a "terrible decision." The Los Angeles street artist faces a maximum fine of $5,000 for the misdemeanor charge, and a maximum penalty of six months in prison. 

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement Friday that Fairey "went to extreme lengths to obtain an unfair and illegal advantage in his civil litigation." Upon realizing the image he'd used was not the image he thought, Fairy reportedly printed documents to support his claims, arranged for a witness to support false claims, and hid the truth until files were discovered.

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