James MacDonald, the embattled former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel megachurch, is suing Chicago radio personality Erich Mancow Muller for branding him a “con man” and, MacDonald says, fabricating stories about him on the air.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County circuit court alleges Muller repeatedly defamed MacDonald on the morning show Muller hosts for Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. The complaint also names Cumulus Media as a defendant.
MacDonald is seeking more than $50,000 in damages for multiple counts of defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress and other allegations.
Muller, once an outspoken follower and close friend of MacDonald, broke with the pastor, accusing MacDonald in a Daily Herald essay of leading “a culture of authoritarianism, secrecy, intimidation, outlandish fundraising expectations, poor financial controls and debt.”
Rolling Meadows-based Harvest Bible Chapel fired MacDonald in February after Muller aired a recording of the pastor discussing planting child pornography on the computer of a Christianity Today magazine editor.
Muller later accused MacDonald in a police report of attempting to hire a hit man to kill one of his critics.
MacDonald’s complaint, first reported by Cook County Record, claims Muller fabricated all of the statements and incidents “to build up listener interest for his radio/podcast shows.”
The complaint also accuses Cumulus of failing to properly supervise Muller’s broadcasts and alleges Muller violated Illinois eavesdropping laws by airing “surreptitiously” recorded phone conversations between MacDonald and others.
Muller said Sunday he could not comment specifically on the lawsuit but defended his actions to bring MacDonald’s conduct to light.
“For me this has always been about trying to help people and trying to expose a bad guy,” Muller said. “For years I had endorsed (MacDonald) and his church. When I found out the truth, I felt it was my duty to tell my listeners.”
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Source: Daily Ledger