Evangelist's Husband Apologizes, Pleads Guilty to Assault

Bishop Thomas W. Weeks pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting his wife, prominent evangelist Juanita Bynum.

"I want to apologize to my wife for all she's had to go through," Weeks said in the Fulton County courtroom.

After initially pleading not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats, Weeks pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault, admitting that he grabbed Bynum, threw her down and kicked her.

Bynum had accused Weeks of choking, pushing and stomping her in the parking lot of the Renaissance Concourse Hotel in Atlanta on Aug. 21, after the couple had met to try to reconcile.

"My emotions got the best of me," Weeks said about the attack. "I take responsibility."

After Weeks' apology in the courtroom, Bynum thanked him. He asked for her forgiveness and she accepted. Bynum has said several times publicly since the August attack that she forgives Weeks.

The two are now working on their relationship and the status of their marriage, said Ed Garland, Weeks' attorney.

Weeks was sentenced to three years probation, 200 hours of non-church related community service and ordered to undergo violence and anger counseling. A restriction barring him from communicating with Bynum was lifted. His record will be cleared if he completes the terms of his sentence, as reported by The Associated Press.

Prosecutors did not pursue jail time for Weeks after a personal plea from Bynum initiated by Weeks' grandfather.

Bynum said that she was overwhelmed by Weeks' grandfather's plea.

"I don't believe my husband is a criminal," she said, according to AP.

Bynum is a widely respected "prophetess" and prominent female preacher who got her big break when she was invited to speak at well-known megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes' MegaFest. Weeks pastors four Global Destiny churches in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles and London.

They wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in 2002.

The high-profile couple drew national attention when Bynum filed for divorce a month after the August incident.

But upon seeing her husband on Monday at a divorce deposition, Bynum said old memories came back to her and she appealed to the court to be lenient on him.

"When I saw him, it allowed me to reflect on the first time we got married," the prophetess said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "No one tells you what to do with all of the love you feel for the person.

"I thought about the time wasted and the time lost, and I said, 'This has got to stop.'"

Judge T. Jackson Bedford scolded the couple as their troubles were played out before the public.

"I understand if not hundreds of thousands, millions of people look to you for leadership, both moral and spiritual," said Bedford, as reported by the local newspaper. "Going forward I would be mindful in your conduct in the future. Going through a divorce is a very difficult time. I know what it does to people.

"I'm very pleased this was able to be worked out. Neither of you needed to be exposed to what would have happened in the courtroom. I wish you the very best."

Weeks and Bynum held a joint press conference outside the Fulton County Courthouse and embraced afterward.

They did not say whether they would be getting back together.

"God is in control of all things," Weeks said.

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