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.”
Mat Staver shows photo of prayer meeting of 100,000 people supporting Kim Davis in Lima, Peru soccer stadium. pic.twitter.com/VcY953yquY
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) September 26, 2015
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.