O’FALLON, Mo. — To resolve a lawsuit accusing the TV preacher of fraudulently claiming that a health supplement could treat the coronavirus, Jim Bakker and his southwestern Missouri church will pay $156,000 in damages.
According to Missouri court documents, a settlement agreement was filed on Tuesday. It demands that those who paid money or contributed to getting a product called Silver Solution in the early days of the COVID-19 epidemic get their money back.
Bakker and Morningside Church Productions Inc. are also prohibited from advertising or selling Silver Solution “to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure any disease or condition,” according to the settlement. Bakker did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in the deal.
In March 2020, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against Bakker and Morningside. Schmitt was seeking an injunction to restrain Bakker from marketing Silver Solution as a COVID-19 therapy on his streaming TV show, The Jim Bakker Show. Bakker and a guest, according to the complaint, made the curative claim over 11 programmes in February and March of 2020.
Bakker has already given restitution to many clients, according to Schmitt, and must pay an additional $90,000 to others, he said in a press release on Wednesday.
The Jim Bakker Show is shot in southern Missouri and lasts an hour. Silver Solution was provided to individuals who committed to donate $80 to $125 during the programme, according to the consent agreement.
Bakker’s lawyer, former Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, has stated that Bakker was unfairly targeted “by people who seek to smash his ministry and drive his Christian television programme off the air.” Bakker did not state that Silver Solution was a treatment for COVID-19, according to Nixon, who served two terms as governor from 2009 to 2017 and is currently a partner at the Dowd Bennett law firm in St. Louis.
Bakker talked with Sherrill Sellman on the show on Feb. 12, 2020, referring to her as a “naturopathic doctor” and a “natural health specialist,” according to the complaint.
“Are you claiming that Silver Solution would be successful against the current pandemic of influenza that is sweeping the globe?” Bakker inquires. “Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eradicate it within 12 hours,” Sellman responds, according to the complaint.
Bakker replies, “Yeah.”
It’s completely eliminated, and it’s dead. According to the lawsuit, Sellman responds, “Deactivates it.”
Nixon did not respond to an email addressed to him on Wednesday.
In March 2020, US officials issued a warning to Bakker’s firm and six others, telling them to cease selling goods that made misleading claims about being able to treat or prevent the coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission wrote to the firms, warning them that their COVID-19 treatment items were fraudulent, posed a serious danger to patient health, and violated federal law.
After receiving the FDA and FTC warning letters, Nixon claimed Bakker quickly cooperated with instructions to cease promoting Silver Solution on his programme and ministry website.
Meanwhile, Arkansas’ attorney general filed a case in June 2020 that is identical to Missouri’s. That lawsuit is still in the works.