Bodybuilder Charges That Robertson Threatened Him Over Diet Shake Lawsuit

A bodybuilder who had a falling-out with Pat Robertson over a soured business deal claims the TV preacher threatened him and his family during a confrontation in a courthouse.

Phillip Busch insists that Robertson entered a room in the Norfolk federal courthouse where he was scheduled to be deposed Feb. 7 and told Busch, “I am going to kill you and your family.” Busch later filed a complaint with the Norfolk police department.

Busch is suing Robertson over a dispute that goes back to 2005, when he contacted Robertson’s “700 Club” program to report that he had lost 200 pounds drinking an “age-defying” protein drink Robertson had been promoting on the show.

At the time, Robertson was offering the recipe for the drink for free on the Christian Broadcasting Network Web site. He had Busch flown from his home in Texas to Virginia Beach to be on the show. Busch also did promotional spots for the drink, unaware that Robertson was planning to license the formula through a nationwide health-food chain.

In his lawsuit, Busch accuses Robertson of appropriating his image for commercial purposes without compensation. The case is set to go to trial in April.

Robertson denies threatening Busch.

“There was no such threat,” Glen Huff, Robertson’s attorney, told The Virginian-Pilot.

The newspaper reported that the litigation has been “raucous.” It noted, “Robertson’s spokesmen have accused Busch of extortion, and Busch has posted disparaging comments about Robertson on his personal Web site.”

This is not the first time Robertson has been accused of making a threat of bodily harm. In the 1990s, Robertson got into a dispute with Mark A. Peterson, whom he had hired to run a multi-level marketing company called American Sales Corporation. Robertson fired Peterson just before Christmas in 1992. Three years later, Peterson and his wife, then living in North Carolina, alleged in court documents that Robertson had threatened them.

Robertson is alleged to have advised Peterson’s sister, Pam Johnson, to tell her brother to quit criticizing him in public.

“Pam, you give your brother this message from me,” Robertson is alleged to have said. “Wild horses that kick and destroy things without a bit in their mouth have to be put down. They have to be shot. You tell him that.”

Robertson denied making the threat, and Mark Peterson later dropped the lawsuit. His wife continued with a case against the TV preacher, but a court in North Carolina later removed Robertson from the legal action.