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Jesse Matthew Legal Defense Fund Taken Offline after Threats

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As Jesse Matthew faces charges in connection to the Hannah Graham case, a group of supporters were looking to raise money to help him pay his legal costs – but Monday those plans came to a halt.

Matthew is facing an abduction with intent to defile charge in connection to the Hannah Graham case. Graham was last seen on Charlottesville's downtown mall on Sept 13.

Some people close to Matthew announced they had set up an online defense fund to help Matthew pay for his lawyer. Monday afternoon the site was taken down after the creators received death threats.

The site allowed anyone to log on and donate money to Matthew's defense fund using PayPal. Most of the site's trustees were from out of state.

We're told the decision to pull the site is not connected to the additional allegations against Matthew surrounding Morgan Harrington. Virginia State Police confirmed Monday that forensic evidence links Matthew to the Harrington case.

The Jesse “LJ” Matthew Legal Defense Fund Press Release

Louisville, Kentucky – September 29, 2014 – Friends and supporters of Jesse “LJ” Matthew have created a legal defense fund to raise money for his legal defense. Mr. Matthew is charged with Abduction with Intent to Defile in the disappearance of Hannah Graham and is represented by former Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney, Jim Camblos. The fund, which is established as an irrevocable trust, will be used solely to pay for costs associated with Mr. Matthew's legal defense.

“While we hope for Hannah's safe return, we believe that this matter should be tried in a court of law and not in the court of public opinion,” stated a Co-Trustee of the Jesse “LJ” Matthew Legal Defense Fund. “The Jesse ‘LJ' Matthew Legal Defense Fund demonstrates our community's commitment to ensuring that Mr. Matthew is afforded his constitutional rights of due process, trial by jury, and effective counsel.”

The fund, which is administered by three trustees who know Mr. Matthew, is operating through FundRazr, a crowdsourcing site. The fund's web address is: https://bit.ly/ljfund. Donations may be submitted through the site, or directly to the fund's PayPal account, registered under ljmatthewlegaldefensefund@gmail.com.

“We were all feeling powerless and distraught because we knew that LJ was not the violent monster that he was being made out to be. In fact, every person I spoke with talked about how he was the gentlest, kindest person any of us had ever met,” a co-trustee explained. “We hope to speak to the very nature of our friend, LJ, and the ways in which he selflessly offered his support of others.”

In the event that the fund raises more funds than are necessary to cover Mr. Matthew's legal defense fund, the trustees will select a charity to receive the remaining donations.