The adultery and extortion saga at a Dallas area Christian television network has taken a turn with the filing of a civil lawsuit against network founder Marcus Lamb.
Former employee Jeanette Hawkins filed a fraud claim Wednesday against Daystar Television Network and Lamb, claiming she was hired to work in Christian environment and later learned he was having an affair with a high-ranking female employee there.
The lawsuit claims that e-mails seen by Hawkins showed the affair lasted about seven years, that in one e-mail Lamb told the woman he wanted to make her "the next Mrs. Marcus Lamb," and that Daystar funds were used "to facilitate trysts."
On Tuesday, Marcus Lamb and his wife, Joni, appeared on Daystar's morning show and acknowledged he had been unfaithful in past years and that three people were pressuring the network to pay them $7.5 million to keep the story out of the media.
Dallas attorney James Fisher said today that he's representing Hawkins and two other women and that he met Nov. 18 with Daystar's lawyers to ask for a settlement.
Fisher wouldn't discuss how much he asked for. But he did say, " I did not threaten to go to the news media with the story of the affair."
John Lynch IV, the Grapevine lawyer who represents Daystar, said, "I would strongly refute his position that he didn't indicate he was going to the media. He made it clear that there was a seven-and-a-half-million number."
Lynch said he couldn't comment further.
The lawsuit states Hawkins found the revelation of Lamb's affair "utterly devastating."
"She's hurting," Fisher said.