Televangelist Jim Bakker is being sued over claims that he helped to unlawfully market and sell a cure for the coronavirus.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is asking Stone County Circuit Court to issue arestraining order against the preacher, who is based in Blue Eye. The suit also names Morningside Church Productions.
It is alleged that the defendant advertised, solicited, sold, and offered to sell merchandise in Missouri through the Jim Bakker Show on his website. Bakker, one of the most prominent televangelist in the 1980s, served almost five years in federal prison for fraud.
According to the suit, the defendants, from Feb. 12, "advertised, offered to sell, and sold 'Silver Solution', also referred to as 'Silver Sol' and 'Optivida Silver Solution' created by American Biotech Labs."
The suit states the show airs on multiple networks across the country and on the website. Consumers were told that the products support the immune system, speed up natural processes and "disrupt foreign elements without disturbing the body’s natural environment.”
But the attorney general's suit, which claims multiple violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, zeroes in on specific claims linking the products to potentially curing the coronavirus.
One interview, with an individual called Sherill Sellman, described as a “naturopathic doctor” and “natural health expert," is cited.
Bakker asks whether the silver solution is effective in dealing with the "influenza that is now circling the globe."
The guest replies: "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 eliminate it within 12 hours."
After a prompt, Sellman adds: "Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it."
The suit also refers to the "Covid-19 Coronavirus, building immunity, staying healthy, and the benefits of Silver Solution.”
On March 6, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to Bakker and other companies for selling unapproved coronavirus drugs, according to the suit.
Bakker and his companies are accused of false promises, misrepresentations of material fact, and unfair practice by engaging in actions that offend public policy established by the federal agencies.
The court is asked to issue permanent and preliminary injunctions, bar the defendants from marketing or selling Silver Solution as a treatment for the virus, and award of $1,000 for each violation of the statute.