FILE - Election 2020 Trump

President Donald Trump speaks at the Students for Trump conference at Dream City Church, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(The Center Square) – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is warning the Phoenix Dream City Church and its maker of their ventilation system for safety claims over COVID-19. 

In the days before President Trump held a rally at the Dream City Church in Phoenix, Pastor Luke Barnett claimed that the megachurch's air conditioning system killed 99 percent of COVID germs in 10 minutes.

"When you come into our auditorium, 99 percent of COVID is gone, killed, if it was there in the first place," pastor Luke Barnett said. "Thank God for great technology, and thank God for being proactive."

The church released a statement walking the claim back.

"Our statement regarding the CleanAir EXP units used the word COVID when we should have said Coronavirus or COVID surrogates. We hope to alleviate any confusion we may have caused."

Trump hosted around 3,000 young fans in the church auditorium Tuesday afternoon.

On Friday, Brnovich issued cease-and-desist letters to both the church and Glendale-based Clean Air EXP for their messaging.

"Businesses cannot mislead consumers with their advertising, especially when it comes to health issues as serious as COVID-19," Attorney General Brnovich said. "We will not tolerate companies or individuals attempting to deceive or exploit the public during this public health crisis."

His office told the two organizations that the misleading claims could be a breach of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act for false or deceptive advertising about the ability to protect from COVID-19.

Penalties for breaking the CFA include penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, loss of profits stemming from the misleading claim, and possible costs of restitution to consumers.

The church was warned about the claims because they rent out their space.

The claims come as Arizona sees some of the steepest increases of COVID-19 cases in the country. On Friday, the Department of Health Services announced 3,428 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and attributed 45 additional deaths to the virus.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.