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Clinton’s pastor bows out of NYC event after book pulled due to plagiarism

(CNN) — Hillary Clinton’s longtime spiritual adviser, Bill Shillady, has pulled out of an appearance with the former secretary of state that was slated for Thursday in New York City, a spokesperson for the event tells CNN.

The decision came after Shillady admitted he plagiarized aspects about his book, “Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” leading his publisher, Abingdon Press, to pull the book from stores and destroy all copies. The book was based on morning devotionals Shillady emailed to Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

The event will go on, said Ann Waller Curtis, a spokeswoman for the event, with the Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington hosting the conversation with Clinton, who attended services at Foundry when she lived in DC.

It is unclear whether Shillady decided to bow out or if he was asked to do so, but the event’s spokesperson said the decision for him to not attend the event became clear once the minister “realized he was going to be a distraction.”

Shillady declined to comment when reached by CNN on Thursday. A Clinton aide confirmed that Shillady will not attend the event.

“There will be a statement made at the event tonight,” he said.

CNN reported on the first discovered instances of plagiarism in August, when Shillady was found to have plagiarized an emotional devotional he sent Clinton at 4 a.m. on the morning after Clinton lost the presidential election.

Clinton had lent her stature to the book, writing a foreword and praising the minister. The two grew close after meeting in New York in 2002. Shillady co-officiated at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010, presided over Clinton’s mother’s memorial service and blessed her grandchildren.

In response to his plagiarism, Shillady asked for forgiveness.

“I deeply regret my actions,” Shillady said earlier this month. “I was wrong and there is no excuse for it. I apologize to those whose work I mistakenly did not attribute. I apologize to those I have disappointed, including Secretary Hillary Clinton, Abingdon Press, and all the writers and others who have helped me publish and promote this book. I ask for everyone’s forgiveness.”

Clinton, according to an invite for the event, will discuss her lifelong Methodism and the 2016 election at Thursday’s event.

The former first lady is a deeply spiritual person, writing for decades that her faith is what helped her get through some of the most difficult moments in her life. Though Clinton usually keeps her faith private, during the 2016 campaign she routinely discuss her faith and beliefs.

During one particularly eye-opening event, Clinton told an Iowa mother that she laments people who use faith to “judge so harshly.”

“It is very important to me. I am a person of faith. I am Christian. I am a Methodist,” Clinton said in response to a question about how she squares her faith with her beliefs regarding abortion. “My study of the Bible, my many conversations with people of faith, has led me to believe that the most important commandment is to love the lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do.”

Former President Bill Clinton also said during the 2016 campaign that Clinton has “lived by” the Methodist Church’s charge to “do all the good we can, in whatever ways we can, to all the people we can, for as long as we can.”

Clinton is also on the cusp of a book tour of her own, with her latest memoir, “What Happened,” slated for widespread release next week. CNN purchased the book from a Jacksonville, Florida, bookstore earlier this week.

A raw and aggrieved Clinton looks to explain her 2016 loss in the book, laying blame on a host of outside factors while also taking blame — at times — herself.

“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want — but I was the candidate,” she writes. “It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”