Daystar Lawsuits Dismissed

Three former employees drop claims against Christian TV network

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Daystar Television Network
    Marcus Lamb, left, and his wife, Joni, founded Daystar in 1997.

    Three former employees whose lawsuits rocked the Bedford-based Christian TV network Daystar have dropped their cases and did not receive any money from the ministry, according to court records.

    The cases drew national headlines two years ago after evangelist Marcus Lamb admitted that he had had an extra-marital affair. At the same time, he claimed the former employees were trying to blackmail him.

    Dallas attorney James Fisher, who represented all three women, confirmed Tuesday all the cases were dismissed before they went to trial, but declined further comment.

    The lawsuits were dropped after a judge in one of the cases threw out key fraud allegations, court records show.

    Daystar said in a statement the ministry is pleased with the dismissals.

    "We believe the decision to permanently drop these lawsuits without compensation confirms the true nature of their unfounded allegations," the statement said. "Marcus and Joni Lamb and the entire Daystar family are grateful for the overwhelming support received from so many during this difficult period."

    Marcus Lamb founded Daystar with his wife Joni. The Christian network has grown into one of the largest in the country and airs on 70 local stations, according to its website.

    Blackmail Claimed

    On Nov. 30, 2010, Marcus Lamb confessed on his TV broadcast to an affair and also said he was the victim of an extortion attempt.

    “I’m so sorry, I asked God to forgive me,” Lamb said. “I don’t even blame the devil. It’s all on me.”

    The Lambs said they were undergoing counseling.

    Marcus Lamb also accused three people of trying to extort $7.5 million to keep the affair quiet.

    “They’re trying to turn our pain into their gain,” he said.

    He did not name the three, but their names soon became public when the lawsuits were filed.

    The women’s lawyer, Jim Fisher, denied any extortion attempt. He said he had approached Daystar’s attorneys in a legitimate attempt to settle the cases before any lawsuits were filed.

    A Bedford police investigation found no evidence of any crime.

    Lawsuits Filed: Affairs, Cover-ups and Sexual Harassment

    In Dec. 2010, former Daystar marketing director Jeanette Hawkins filed a lawsuit claiming she was pressured to participate in a cover-up of Marcus Lamb’s extra-marital affair. Hawkins said the ordeal left her suicidal and involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

    In Feb. 2011, former Daystar employee Jennifer Falcon accused Joni Lamb’s father, Bill Trammell, of sexually harassing her. She claimed he touched her inappropriately during what he called “quiet time and told her “to sit on his lap.” Falcon was fired in Feb. 2010.

    In March 2011, a third former employee filed another lawsuit. Karen Thompson, the longtime producer of “The Joni Show,” alleged she was “berated, belittled and harassed” and later fired for dating a male co-worker.”

    Daystar denied the allegations and aggressively defended the lawsuits. Separately, the ministry also sued the women, accusing them of extortion.

    Cases Dismissed: “Be at Peace With All Men”

    In moving to dismiss Thompson’s case, Fisher wrote: “Ms. Thompson is a Christian. Accordingly, she has attempted to settle her dispute with Daystar outside the civil justice system.”

    Fisher said Daystar rejected Thompson’s offer “to appear before a group of mature Christians to seek reconciliation.”

    Falcon made similar religious claims in her motion to drop the case.

    “Falcon is willing to drop her claims against Daystar in obedience to the Biblical injunction to, ‘if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men,’” Fisher wrote.

    A Daystar attorney wrote that the ministry did not oppose the dismissals and added the claims were without merit and would not have been successful had they gone to trial.

    An online review of Dallas County court records shows Hawkins lawsuit was dismissed Feb. 28. The case had been set to go to trial on March 27.

    In October, a judge threw out key fraud allegations made by Hawkins but ruled she could continue pursuing defamation allegations.

    Daystar later dropped its lawsuits against the women.