LOS ANGELES -- Missing from the Light of the World Church is international director Naason Joaquin Garcia, said to be the sole voice of Jesus Christ. He's in custody facing felony sex charges relating to four minor girls.
"We will win, and we will return the apostle to his flock and to the faithful of 5 million," said a defense attorney for Garcia.
The newly hired legal team condemns Attorney General Xavier Becerra for filing the case.
Prosecutors have been publicizing a hotline number, urging other potential victims to come forward.
"It would be hard to believe, based on the information we are collecting, that it is only these four individuals," said Becerra. "There is a pattern here."
Garcia's attorneys say they will demand a reduction in his bail, which is $50 million.
Though the international church in 58 countries is massive, the lawyers say the church leader has no access to church funds and that he is not a flight risk.
"He is the one who is looking forward to the opportunity to be in court and to be able to tell the world he is falsely charged, he is a victim of a high-tech hit job and that there is no evidence whatsoever to support any allegation," a defense attorney said.
The case comes as the church has purchased 272 acres 45 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Its plan is to construct its own city with schools, a hospital and homes -- a place where the church can realize what Christ intended and serve throngs like the ones that gathered in Devore last year.
Meantime, questions swirl about who will lead the church as Garcia is in custody. God, after all, ordained the man, according to the church, and there is no successor.
"The church will not be taking any questions," the defense attorney said. "But I will tell you this: Five million faithful stand behind a wrongly accused man."
Legal team for La Luz del Mundo church leader facing sex charges says he's wrongly accused