Lawyers For Kim Davis: Yeah, That Peru Prayer Rally Photo Was Fake After All

The conservative, Christian law firm representing defiant Kentucky clerk Kim Davis admitted late Monday that a photo it circulated of a Peruvian prayer rally in solidarity with its client was actually a photo of another event entirely.

Liberty Counsel insisted in a press release that Peruvians still prayed for the Rowan County clerk, though.

The mistaken photo was shown Friday at the Values Voter Summit when Davis was presented with a “Cost of Discipleship Award.” Davis was jailed recently for contempt of court after refusing a judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The photo’s caption explained it was of a “Lima, Peru prayer rally for Kim Davis.”

But ThinkProgress presented evidence Monday that the prayer gathering never actually happened, prompting the law firm, Liberty Counsel, to issue a press release defending the veracity of the photo.

The law firm initially copped to one mistake. While the caption shown at the Values Voter Summit said the photo was taken in Lima, Liberty Counsel said in its Monday press release the photo actually was taken at a soccer stadium in Northern Peru.

Liberty Counsel corrected a few more mistakes about the prayer rally in a second press release.

“It now appears that while prayer meetings did occur throughout Peru, the photograph presented to Mat Staver was an honest mistake and was of a different Christian assembly in a soccer field,” the release read.

Liberty Counsel attributed the photo and the story of the prayer rally to Julio Rosas, a Peruvian congressman who’s worked with the law firm’s founder, Mat Staver, in the past. Liberty Counsel said in its prior press release that Rosas organized the rally for Davis on Sept. 13, even though he wasn’t physically present in Peru to witness it that day, and had confirmed the rally’s existence three times.

“As the statement says, we have known Cong. Rosas for a long time and he is a trusted source,” Staver wrote Tuesday afternoon in an email to TPM. “We relied on the information he provided, but the photo he was provided while he was in the US was not accurate.

Still, Liberty Counsel argued that the incident was a simple mix-up and not an attempt to inflate the impact of Davis’ story.

“We have no reason to puff the Kim Davis story,” Staver said in the press release. “Her name has become known around the world. The people in Peru were very much aware of Kim Davis because her story was broadcast on a variety of media. However, the photograph was an honest mistake.”

This post has been updated.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: