AWMI Responds to Bogus Request for an Injunction

Oct 7, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Andrew Wommack Ministries International (AWMI) filed its response to a legally baseless motion for a temporary restraining order to entirely shut down its Minister’s Conference. 

Last night, Jaqueline Revello, Director of Teller County Department of Public Health and Environment, and Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, improperly filed the motion at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. When they realized their error, they refiled it in the District Court. 

The defendants’ motion has grave deficiencies and must be denied. For example, the defendants first sought relief in the form of an injunction pending appeal at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the wrong court. Then when they filed in the correct court, they filed the wrong motion that has no legal or factual support. The only law at issue in the District Court case filed by AWMI is the First Amendment, which AWMI could not violate anyway. The First Amendment protects private individuals or organizations against government restrictions on free speech and the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment does not give authority for the government to restrain the speech of private actors.

Further, the defendants cannot be heard in federal court on a claim that AWMI is allegedly violating state law. The state law claim is not before the court. Moreover, even under the governor’s most recent order, PHO 20-35, AWMI can have 175 people in each segregated room. In addition, the defendants presented no evidence to this court to support its motion and they failed to comply with the procedural requirements for requesting a temporary restraining order. 

The motion wrongly alleges, with no evidence presented, that AWMI caused an “outbreak” during its summer conference in June. But the Colorado Public Health and Environment website states the following: 

It is possible that a person may have been exposed elsewhere (and we can rarely prove where any individual was exposed with a person-to-person pathogen), but when a person worked/lived/spent time in a facility with a known outbreak, we attribute their illness to the outbreak even if there is no definitive determination that the case acquired the illness at the facility. Colorado COVID-19 Case and Outbreak Definitions (Aug. 7, 2020). (emphasis added). 

Moreover, on September 16, before AWMI filed the Complaint, Sheryl Decker, County Administrator for Teller County, wrote Andrew Wertz of AWMI that the County has not “blamed AWMI for the outbreak in the County” and that it is not productive to point “fingers.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The county and state public health departments filed their motion in the wrong court, and then filed a wrong motion in the District Court. Getting past the comedy of errors, the request for an emergency injunction has no basis in any law or fact. The motion also contains internal contradictions with too many errors to list.” 

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