|James M. Henderson|
Update at 1:05 p.m., CDT, on Wednesday, 9/26/12:
The entry for James M. Henderson on the Web site at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) no longer exists. Henderson also no longer is included on the ACLJ's list of "Senior Attorneys and Staff." It's not clear when Henderson's name was removed, but he was listed last night and apparently this morning. Did Henderson resign? Was he fired? We don't know at this moment. But news of a sex and drug scandal involving Henderson, which originated with reports at Exposed Politics and The Patriot-Ombudsman, apparently prompted swift action at ACLJ. We will continue to track the latest developments on this story.
A "pro family" lawyer with ties to religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apparently has a secret life that involves marijuana and online sexual banter with boys, according to two Web-based investigative reports.
James M. Henderson Sr. is senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and an adjunct professor at Regent University School of Law, which Robertson founded at Virginia Beach in 1978. Working under ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow, Henderson has helped prepare appellate-court briefs on some of the most contentious issues of our times--abortion rights, free speech, the Bush-Gore recount of 2000, and ObamaCare. Henderson's online bio touts his roles as a husband, father of eight, and youth minister.
But a Web site called Exposed Politics reported on Monday that Henderson appears to have a secret life that revolves around sexually charged interactions with boys and the use of illegal drugs. The Patriot-Ombudsman Web site published a followup yesterday, noting that Henderson's Facebook page had been scrubbed and a query to Jay Sekulow had been deflected to an ACLJ media officer, who failed to respond.
This story has roundabout ties to our base in Birmingham, Alabama, via an outfit called the Southeast Law Institute and its director, lawyer/activist A. Eric Johnston. More on that connection in a moment.
But first, how did James Henderson's apparent double life come to light. Like many postmodern scandals, it started on the Internet--with a Facebook user who called himself "Kyle Johnson."
Before it was scrubbed, Johnson's Facebook page showed that quite a few of his friends were boys who tended to pose shirtless. A number of the boys apparently knew each other and decided that Kyle Johnson might have improper motives. From Exposed Politics, which began to investigate after receiving an anonymous tip:
According to sources, several of these boys got the idea that Mr. Johnson might be a predator and so they began copying his electronic messages, taking pictures of him and his vehicle, taking cell phone videos inside and outside his car, and photographing evidence in his car.
Through Aug. 23, 2012, “Kyle Johnson’s” Facebook page contained many comments and references to marijuana and sex. These include references to his personal use of marijuana.
Was this man's name really Kyle Johnson? The answer appears to be no, and one of the boys found evidence that the mans' real name is . . . James M. Henderson Sr. From The Patriot-Ombudsman:
According to the anonymous young man, who gave the videos to Expose Politics, when “Kyle” went into a nearby liquor store to get something for them to drink, he rifled through the glove box and found out who, he says, “Kyle” really is.
The investigative report then includes a still shot of a bank statement that is addressed to:
7108 Reservoir Road
Springfield, VA 22150-3836
Henderson's online bio says he is married to Theresa Ann Henderson (nee Lawson), and this apparently is their address.
How does all of this connect to us here in Alabama? Well, A. Eric Johnston is our version of James Henderson. And Johnston's Southeast Law Institute is a miniature ACLJ.
As it turns out, Henderson and Johnston apparently have collaborated on legal work. We found at least two instances where they worked together on legal issues that are dear to right-wing hearts:
* Frisby v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474 (1988)--Henderson and Johnston urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower-court ruling that prevented abortion-rights foes in Wisconsin from picketing at the private residence of an abortion provider.
* Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 507 (1992)--Henderson and Johnston urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower-court ruling that prevented clergy from leading prayer at a Rhode Island public school.
|A. Eric Johnston|
The forerunner to CBA was a group called Citizens Against Legalized Lottery (CALL). We shined light on those two groups--and A. Eric Johnston's massive hypocrisy--in a November 2011 post titled "Abramoff Confirms That He Helped Turn Alabama Into a Political Cesspool."
From that post, which borrowed heavily on a Birmingham News article about a book by GOP felon Jack Abramoff:
A 2005 investigation by the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee revealed documentation of the payments that Abramoff routed from the Mississippi Choctaws into Alabama. For example, the Christian Coalition of Alabama accepted $850,000 from the Americans for Tax Reform to help fight video poker legislation in 2000; and another $300,000 went from the anti-tax group to the Citizens Against Legalized Lottery, which was formed in 1999 to defeat Siegelman's lottery plan.
Abramoff wrote that conservative activist Ralph Reed, whom he enlisted to help on the Alabama anti-gambling campaign, didn't want his "co-religionists" to know the operation was financed with gambling money.
We then tied things together, showing that A. Eric Johnston helped fight gambling in Alabama . . . by using Mississippi gambling money that had been laundered through Jack Abramoff:
Citizens Against Legalized Lottery, by the way, morphed into Citizens for a Better Alabama (CBA) in 2001 and played a leading role in fighting the Sweet Home Alabama plan that would have brought legalized, regulated gaming to our state. CBA is led by A. Eric Johnston, a shadowy Birmingham lawyer who made a failed run for the Alabama Supreme Court in 2010.
We can thank Jack Abramoff for confirming what many of us have suspected for some time: A. Eric Johnston's group is not really based on a moral objection to gambling; it's designed to protect Mississippi gaming interests.
The bottom line? A. Eric Johnston is the worst sort of hypocrite on gambling issues. Now, it appears that James M. Henderson Sr. is a hypocrite on family issues. No wonder these two guys have gotten along famously for years.