Katie KullSpringfield News Leader
A federal judge Thursday dismissed the Branson area televangelist Jim Bakker's lawsuit against lawyers in Arkansas and California who wanted to investigate the sale of a liquid product that Bakker claimed would cure COVID-19.
In a lawsuit, a judge wrote that the court had no jurisdiction over the Arkansas Attorney General or Los Angeles area officials investigating consumer protection violations and was unable to stop their requests for information, including the names and phone numbers of the people purchased the product.
The decision comes about six months after Bakker first advertised a "silver sol" product on his show that a guest claimed would "remove the coronavirus" from the human body within 12 hours.
These claims directly contradicted the scientific understanding of how to treat the virus, mainly using the promising but rare antiviral drug remdesivir and convalescent plasma. However, none of these options is considered a "cure".
Bakker attorneys, which included former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, wrote in court records that a church's obligation to provide records of names, addresses, and personal financial information was a violation of several constitutional rights, including freedom, religion exercise and freedom of speech.
In a press release, Nixon wrote: "It is extremely worrying that this is happening in America."
For its part, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wrote in a statement that the investigation was an attempt "to deceive consumers (who) have been deceived by Mr. Bakker and may have been financially and physically harmed by his misdeeds."
Bakker's lawsuit was not the first time he had come to court over the product "Silver Sol".
Eric Schmitt, Attorney General of Missouri, and Letitia James, Attorney General of New York, sued Bakker and his Morningside Church over the product.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission wrote to Bakker informing him that products like Silbersol "are unapproved drugs that pose a significant risk to patient health."