Judge throws out extortion charges against megachurch leader

A Los Angeles judge has thrown out extortion charges against the leader of a Mexican megachurch but left in place accusations of child rape and human trafficking.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles judge has thrown out extortion charges against the leader of a Mexican megachurch but left in place accusations of child rape and human trafficking.

The Los Angeles Times says the judge ruled Wednesday that state prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence for the four charges against Naasón Joaquín García, and also for two sentencing enhancements involving sex with a minor.

However, he refused to throw out other charges, including rape of a minor. Last month, García was arraigned on dozens of sex-related charges involving underage girls. He has pleaded not guilty.

RELATED: Lawsuit: Leaders of La Luz del Mundo manipulated Bible to sexually abuse woman for over 2 decades

He is the self-proclaimed apostle of La Luz del Mundo, a Mexico-based evangelical Christian church that claims 5 million followers.

García has been behind bars since June 2019 after his arrest by Los Angeles Airport police.

He is in jail on $90 million bail while he awaits trials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.