Federal Judge Rules Jim Bakker is Competent to Stand Trial Hot

Federal Judge Rules Jim Bakker is Competent to Stand Trial

Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker

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In Charlotte, North Carolina, Federal District Judge Robert Potter rules that Jim Bakker is competent to stand trial. At the beginning of the month Judge Potter suspended Bakker's trial after just four days so he could be given a psychiatric evaluation.

Bakker's psychiatrist, Dr. Basil Jackson of Milwaukee, had testified that Bakker was having hallucinations. Dr. Sally Johnson, chief of psychiatry at the Butner Federal Correctional Institute, where Mr. Bakker was committed, reports that Jim Bakker suffered a "panic attack."

Dr. Johnson testifies to the court:

"Our evaluation did not find Mr. Bakker suffering from severe mental disease or defect. What we did see was that he was involved in a life circumstance and problem that has serious implications for him and the stress of that brought him to our doorstep. ...

He is not going crazy. He has no hidden mental illness. The stress that he's feeling is normal. I can't rule it out that it won't happen again, but I can't rule it in, either."

Jim Bakker has been charged with wire and mail fraud and conspiracy in connection with the sale of millions of dollars in "lifetime partnerships" in the PTL ministry. People paid $1,000 for a partnership, thinking it guaranteed them three free nights each year for life at the Heritage USA theme park in Fort Mills, South Carolina.

The government alleges that PTL never built enough lodging to support all the partnerships it was selling and, in fact, never even intended to. Jim Bakker and some close aides are charged with diverting more than $4 million of the $158 million they collected for the purpose of maintaining a lavish, luxurious lifestyle.

Video

Jim Bakker/Geraldo Rivera Interview

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