LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The leader of the Mexico-based megachurch La Luz Del Mundo faces charges including rape of a minor, extortion and human trafficking, but his lawyers are doubling down his defense.
Naason Joaquín Garcia is accused of coercing victims into performing sexual acts by telling them that if they went against any of his desires or wishes, they were going against God.
His lawyers spoke out over the weekend in a 35-minute sit-down interview released by the church, claiming California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is making up the case without any facts.
They said the church has been discriminated against and have seen an uptick in violence against its members.
"Everything the attorney general is saying about this is fictional. Everythng being said is nothing but misinformation, actual ignorance in an attempt to slander this beautiful church, and when we get there, and we will get there, this case will be turned on its head," said lawyer Ken Rosenfeld.
"No law of human kind and certainly no law of God would permit to occur what Naason Joaquin Garcia is alleged to have committed," Becerra said.
A Department of Justice spokesperson released the following statement: "Our office takes its prosecutorial obligations seriously, including that charges shall only be filed when there is a belief that they can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. We have already released information to the defense and will continue disclosure as we work with them during the discovery process while seeking to protect the rights and safety of survivors."
Garcia is being held on $50 million bail. His attorneys said they will present witness testimony in an effort to reduce the bail amount.