Michael Salman Disinformation Campaign Continues: Pastor Was in Tent City by Choice (Update: Maybe)

UPDATE: MCSO now provides a different explanation. "Not an option if you are a sentenced inmate to time less than a year," spokeswoman Lisa Allen says. "That's where all convicted inmates go to serve their sentences unless mitigating circumstances prevent it....very poor health for example."

See also: Michael Salman wants to build a church in his backyard
See also: Michael Salman is not in jail for having Bible studies in his home
See also: Michael Salman claims his "right to hold Bible studies in jail" was violated
See also: Joe Arpaio and Michael Salman keep inmates bored to death at Tent City

The tales from pastor/ex-gang member Michael Salman and his attorneys keep coming, and people keep eating it up.

Salman has portrayed himself as a victim of religious persecution since he was found guilty of 67 misdemeanors related to an illegal building he erected in his backyard, and his attorneys from the Rutherford Institute have claimed that his religious rights have been violated during his 60-day jail sentence in Tent City.

Not a single one of the claims from Salman or his attorneys in this case has been recognized as legitimate, including allegations of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and company of violating his "right to hold Bible studies in jail" -- which the sheriff's staff wasn't even aware of until New Times started asking questions.

The latest complaint from team Salman is his stay at Tent City.

While still alleging religious persecution, Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead has passed off a story about a victimized Salman being locked up for no reason in the greatest hellhole on earth.

"This is where you would put Osama bin Laden, not Michael Salman," Whitehead told one Christian group.

Whitehead even penned the following as part of his campaign, which was posted on the Huffington Post:

It is in this Guantanamo-like facility, surrounded by hardened criminals and subjected to all manners of degradation and hardship that Michael Salman -- who was fined more than $12,000 and sentenced to 60 days in jail starting on July 9, 2012, for the so-called "crime" of holding a weekly Bible study in his Phoenix home, allegedly in violation of the city's building codes -- is incarcerated.

But the Rutherford Institute has good news today for those relying on blind faith into following Salman's tales of martyrdom.

"Following unrelenting pressure from The Rutherford Institute and a general public outcry over the incarceration in Tent City Jail of a Phoenix man who is serving a 60-day jail sentence for using his private residential property to host weekly Bible studies, allegedly in violation of the city's building codes, Phoenix officials have transferred Michael Salman to a newer, indoor facility for the remainder of his sentence," the organization announced today.

In reality, it was Salman's choice to be in Tent City.

"...[T]he inmate can say that he does not want to go/stay at tents and we will move the inmate to another facility," MCSO spokesman Jeff Sprong tells New Times.

As usual, myth busted.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley