ATLANTA — A minister accused of attacking his televangelist wife in a hotel parking lot will contest her petition for divorce, his lawyers said Tuesday.
Randy Kessler, one of the attorneys representing Thomas W. Weeks III, said they are considering whether the counterclaim will accuse Juanita Bynum of cruel treatment, the charge her divorce petition levels at Weeks.
“Cruel treatment is a very vague legal term,” Kessler said. “There’s a possibility that there’s cruel treatment on both sides, but we’re not committed to that position.”
The divorce petition was filed Monday in Ware County, where Bynum has a home. According to the document, Bynum and Weeks were married July 22, 2002, and have been separated since June. They have no children together.
Bynum, 48, cited “cruel treatment” as grounds for divorce, and said the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Kessler and attorney Louis Tesser said they will likely file a response next week.
Karla Walker, Bynum’s divorce lawyer, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.
Bynum has accused Weeks, 40, of choking, pushing and stomping her in a hotel parking lot in an incident that began the night of Aug. 21 and continued into the next morning.
Weeks, who is known to his followers as Bishop Weeks, was charged with aggravated assault and making terroristic threats and isn’t allowed to have contact with Bynum.
Bynum is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Her ministry blossomed after she preached at a singles event about breaking free of sexual promiscuity, and she is known for her intense, no-nonsense style. Her books include “No More Sheets: The Truth About Sex” and “Matters of the Heart.”
Her album “A Piece of My Passion” had been listed in the top 10 gospel albums by Billboard magazine for several months. She also preaches through televised sermons.
The couple were married in a million-dollar, televised ceremony. They wrote “Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings.”