Christian Media Figures, Including Some with Colorado Ties, May Face Defamation Trials Before November Election (2024)

Christian media celebrities and the companiesthat platform them are getting closer to facing the legal consequences of falsehoods they spread about the 2020 elections.

Christian radio host Eric Metaxas, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, Clay Clark of the ReAwaken America Tour, and Dinesh D’Souza, the conspiracist behind the movie2000 Mules, are among the celebrities facing defamation lawsuits and running out of legal options.

Christian Media Figures, Including Some with Colorado Ties, May Face Defamation Trials Before November Election (1)

Salem Media, which owns Colorado’s KNUS 710-AM among other stations, is named in a handful of defamation cases and is clearly feeling the heat.

It recentlyapologizedfor producing the2000 Mulesmovie, which brought the company $10 million, and has withdrawn it from circulation. Salem also sold off the publishing company that released a2000 Mulescompanion book.

Salem’s announcement,released quietly on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend via Business Wire, alerted people who own Salem stock (OTCQX: SALM) of the potential financial implications of a defamation judgment.

Last year,Dominion Voting Systemswon a historic $787.5 million defamation settlement against Fox News. In December, Rudy Giuliani was sentenced to pay $148 million for defaming two Georgia election workers.

Right now, Mike Lindell faces some of the biggest legal problems. He has been sued for defamation by three different parties, including two voting machine companies (Smartmaticand Dominion Voting Systems) and Dominion executive Eric Coomer. The three plaintiffs are seeking a combined $1 billion in penalties from Lindell.

Lindell has used up $60 millionof his company’s profits to fund election denial events, publications and websites including FrankSpeech.com and electioncrimebureau.com. Retailers, including Walmart, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Wayfair, and Bed Bath and Beyond quit carrying his products. He also is being evicted from a Minnesota warehouse because of $200,000 in unpaid rent.

A judge demanded Lindell pay the $5 million he promised to anyone who could win his “Prove Mike Wrong Challenge” by debunking his election data. A computer scientist quickly shot holes in the data, but Lindell has refused to pay.

The mounting pressures have challenged Lindell’s Christian witness. He called Eric Coomer a “scumbag” for suing him and has called opposing attorneys “ambulance chasing assholes.”

Dominion executive Eric Coomerhas four cases against nearly two dozen people and groups:

  • Metaxas and nearly a dozen other parties, including Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani
  • Salem Media of Colorado and radio host Randy Corporon
  • Clay Clark, producer of the ReAwaken America Tour
  • Mike Lindell, MyPillow and FrankSpeech

MetaxasdemonizedCoomer in a November 2020 episode titled, “How A Security Genius at Dominion Voting Promised Antifa Members a Trump Loss.”Metaxas has appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court to dismiss the case, and a decision could be made within 60 days.

Among Metaxas’ fantastic claims:

  • Coomer, who has a Ph.D., is like the Unabomber: “When you’re smart enough to get a Ph.D. in nuclear physics it, you know, reminds me of the Unabomber. … They’ll flirt with insanity and violence and it sounds like you’re dealing with somebody who at least begins to fall into that category.”
  • Coomer is evil: “These are people working on the side of evil. Let’s cut to the chase. This is satanic evil. Anybody who wants to cheat and lie, we know that’s wrong, but when you cheat and lie as a way to shut down the voice of American voters, that rises to a whole new level because this country has been the shining torch of freedom for the whole world.”
  • Coomer should be locked up: Coomer’s behavior was “extremely criminal, and these folks know they’re going to go to jail for the rest of their lives.”

Metaxas acknowledged he did nothing to verify the truth of any of the false claims he broadcast about Coomer.

Metaxas’ latest book and documentary,Letter to the American Church, says: “It’s up to believers to speak up for what is right and good and true.”

But in his legal deposition, Metaxas acknowledged he did nothing to verify the truth of any of the false claims he broadcast about Coomer, who was forced to spend months in hiding.

In his deposition in the Coomer defamation case, Metaxastestifiedthat he does nothing to verify the wild claims he and his guests make on his show. “I don’t see that as my job,” he testified.

Conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza helped create the2000 Mulesmovie and its companion book. Both claim some 2,000 human “mules” harvested 400,000 fake ballots to steal the 2020 election from Trump.

The film has aired on Christian TV networks,was shown in hundreds of churches and was promoted by Metaxas, Andrew Wommack,Charismamagazine, MovieGuide, and Mike Huckabee, the honorary national chairman of My Faith Votes.

But the movie’s claims are false. One of the alleged “mules” was a Black man named Mark Andrews. The film used footage of Andrews during an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s former show on Fox News, and a photo of Andrews was published in a companion book published by Salem-owned Regnery Publishing. The photo caption said Andrews was engaged in “organized crime.”

Andrews sued D’Souza, Salem Media, Regnery and the organization True the Vote. Attorneys defending the film admitted in court they have no evidence to support the film’s wild claims.

James Bopp Jr., a prominentanti-abortion attorney who has worked with National Right to Life Committee andFocus on the Family, was defending True the Vote in Georgia but he left the case, citing nearly $1 million in unpaid legal bills.

It is unlikely any of these cases will be concluded before the November 2024 election.

Salem Mediadescribes itself as “America’s leading media company serving the nation’s Christian and conservative communities. The company owns 95 radio stations in 35 markets, including 30 stations in the top 10 markets and 62 stations in the top 25 markets. It also hosts websites and podcasts for far-right groups and commentators.

This article originally appeared in Baptist News Global.

Christian Media Figures, Including Some with Colorado Ties, May Face Defamation Trials Before November Election (2024)

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