Bedford police have ended an investigation into a North Texas televangelist's allegations that he was blackmailed over an extramarital affair after finding no evidence a crime was committed.
The Rev. Marcus Lamb, founder of the Daystar Television Network, revealed Nov. 30 on a TV broadcast that he had an affair "several years ago" and claimed three people were demanding $7.5 million to keep from going to the news media.
Police in Bedford, where Daystar is based, opened a criminal investigation the next day after Lamb's attorneys spoke with detectives.
On Thursday, Bedford police released the following statement: "After review of the details provided by Daystar and consulting with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office, there does not appear to be any criminal conduct under the Texas law. As such, the Bedford Police Department has ended its investigation into the matter."
Jim Fisher, an attorney for three former Daystar employees, said last week that he approached Daystar's attorneys Nov. 18 to discuss a lawsuit and a possible settlement. He said allegations of extortion were "preposterous."
Fisher filed a lawsuit Dec. 1 on behalf of Jeanette Hawkins, Daystar's marketing director from 2005 to 2008. In the suit, she claims that she was pressured to cover up the affair and that she became depressed, suicidal and was eventually committed to a mental institution.
Daystar filed a countersuit Dec. 3, accusing Hawkins and two other former employees of conspiracy to commit extortion.
"Daystar Television Network will continue to aggressively pursue its legal claims to prevent former employees and their legal counsel from capitalizing on the personal crisis experienced by co-founders, the Lambs," Daystar said Thursday in a statement.
Tonya Harlin, supervisor of economic crimes in the Tarrant County District Attorney's office, said her review of the case found that Fisher had contacted Daystar's lawyers to make a legal claim on behalf of his clients -- not to commit a crime.
"With what we were presented, it appeared to me to be lawsuit settlement negotiations," Harlin said.
Fisher said he was not surprised that the investigation ended with no charges.
"It is now beyond dispute that Daystar's claim of extortion was utterly baseless," he said.
Fisher said he would try to get Daystar's countersuit dismissed as soon as he can.
"If there's no crime, no intent to commit a crime, there can't be civil conspiracy either," he said.
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