Arkansas Sues Jim Bakker Over Bogus COVID Cure

The TV preacher is accused of exploiting consumer fears
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2020 5:55 PM CDT
Arkansas Sues Jim Bakker Over Bogus COVID Cure
Television evangelists Jim Bakker and thenwife Tammy Faye Bakker talk to a television audience in this Aug. 20, 1986, photo.   (AP Photo, file)

(Newser) – TV preacher and convicted fraudster Jim Bakker is being sued yet again for selling a product that supposedly "eliminates" the coronavirus from the body within hours. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed a lawsuit against the Missouri-based televangelist under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, saying 385 Arkansans had spent a total of roughly $60,000 on the collodial silver "cure" Bakker was peddling, the Arkansas Times reports. Missouri filed a similar lawsuit in March and federal agencies have sent cease-and-desist letters to the Jim Bakker Show. Bakker sold "Silver Solution" for around $80 a bottle. Rutledge's lawsuit accuses the 80-year-old of exploiting consumers "by leveraging COVID-19 fears."

The Arkansas lawsuit also named Sherill Sellman, a guest who claimed on Bakker's show that his products were "proven by the government to have the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on," CBS News reports. Bakker is being represented by former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who has argued that the Missouri lawsuit infringed on Bakker's rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion, per the Springfield News-Leader. "Let me be clear, this case is not about freedom of religion," Rutledge said in a statement. "This is a consumer fraud case, and I urge any Arkansans who have experience with these false advertisements claiming silver to be a COVID-19 cure to immediately call my office." (Read more Jim Bakker stories.)

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