Convicted con artist and infamous televangelist Jim Bakker has lost his fight to stop the ongoing investigation into his allegedly fraudulent COVID-19 "cure," which he hawked on his television show early into the coronavirus pandemic.
Last June, Bakker, his Morningside Church and its production company sued the Arkansas attorney general, the city attorney of Los Angeles, California, and the district attorneys of both San Joaquin and Merced counties for allegedly violating their constitutional rights under the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
According to their complaint, the investigation violated the "protected religiously motivated speech of a pastor to his congregation" and Bakker's belief that his colloidal silver product known as "Silver Solution" has been "made available to this generation by God."
But the Missouri federal court dismissed the lawsuit, citing lack of personal jurisdiction, a decision that was just upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit's three-judge panel.
A spokesperson for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge told Radar in an email statement that she was "pleased with the Eighth Circuit's decision affirming the dismissal of convicted scam artist Jim Bakker's lawsuit against the State of Arkansas."
"Once again, Jim Bakker has failed in his attempt to harm Arkansas consumers from his fraudulent claims that colloidal silver products could prevent and cure COVID-19," the statement read. "General Rutledge believes it is despicable that scam artists will use a crisis like a global pandemic to deceive Arkansans."
Counsel for the district attorneys in Merced and San Joaquin counties echoed Rutledge's sentiments and said that their investigation into Bakker's alleged fraud would go on as planned.
Last February, Bakker began advertising Silver Solution on his show, even having a self-described "doctor" named Sherill Sellman make an appearance to convince audiences that the product was "proven by the government to have the ability to kill every pathogen it's ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV."
"You can give it to babies," Sellman claimed. "It has been tested. There are no side effects from it. And you can't overdose on it."
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that "colloidal silver is both ineffective for any known health condition and dangerous to consumers. It can cause argyria, a usually permanent, bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, eyes, internal organs, nails, and gums," among other adverse effects.
Bakker's televised ordeal prompted Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer to send him a letter demanding that he submit proof to substantiate his claims of Silver Solution.
Rutledge followed suit, requesting information on the sale and marketing of the product to Arkansas consumers.
Last March, the state of Missouri won its lawsuit against Bakker, which succeeded in preventing him from advertising or selling Silver Solution to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease or illness, including the virus that causes COVID-19.
Bakker was ordered to pay $156,000 and still faces a proposed class action in Missouri federal court.
He previously served eight years in federal prison for fraud and conspiracy.