Those who think Donald Trump is not a serious presidential candidate received new ammunition yesterday with the release of a list of individuals Trump considers possible nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. Included on the list is an Alabama judge who posed nude during his college days for a series of photographs that wound up at the badpuppy.com gay-pornography Web site in the late '90s.
William H. "Bill" Pryor's foray into gay porn probably is more substantive than anything he's done as a judge. President George W. Bush nominated the virulently homophobic Pryor to the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003, even though the Alabama attorney general had zero experience as a judge--not even in municipal or traffic court.
What were Pryor's credentials? Well, he was a passionate member of the Federalist Society, and he launched a state investigation of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman before the Democrat's fanny had barely hit the seat in his new office. That state probe led to a federal prosecution that landed Siegelman at Oakdale (LA) Federal Correctional Institution, where he still resides today. It is widely believed that Karl Rove, "Bush's Brain," orchestrated the Siegelman prosecution and rewarded Pryor for his key role with a nomination to the 11th Circuit.
That was long before Pryor's ties to gay porn became widely known when we broke the story in fall 2013. What's the story behind the nude photos of a college student who, despite his painfully thin resume, grew up to be a federal judge? Here's how we described it in a post dated Sept. 17, 2013: (Warning: If you click on this link and scroll to the bottom of the post, you will find the original Pryor photo, unedited. If you are squeamish about full-frontal male nudity, we advise caution if you choose to click on the link.)
Nude photographs of federal judge Bill Pryor appeared in the 1990s on a gay pornography Web site, a Legal Schnauzer investigation shows.
The photos appeared in 1997 on badpuppy.com, which was in its online infancy, having debuted in mid 1995. Based in Cocoa, Florida, the site has morphed into one of the largest gay porn sites on the Web.
Images obtained by Legal Schnauzer show Pryor posing completely nude, staring into the camera and sporting a noticeable erection. We see no indication that the photos were taken surreptitiously, without Pryor's knowledge. Sources say Pryor was college age when the photos were taken.
Is there doubt about the photographs' authenticity? Well, a major Republican political figure in Alabama was shown the pictures in the late '90s and immediately exclaimed, "Holy Cow, That's Bill Pryor!" A former female political journalist at a Birmingham news outlet was shown the photos and reportedly guffawed and semi-fainted at the same time. Did either of those insiders express any doubt that it was Bill Pryor in the photo? Nope.
|Judge Bill Pryor|
Here's more about the photographs' history:
Alabama law-enforcement officials became aware of the photos at badpuppy.com in 1997, not long before Governor Fob James appointed Pryor attorney general. An investigation ensued, and multiple officials familiar with that process have told Legal Schnauzer that the photos are, in fact, of the Bill Pryor who now sits on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Sources say the photos were taken while Pryor was a student at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe) from 1980 to 1984.
Legal Schnauzer contacted Judge Pryor last Friday via e-mail, seeking an interview about the photographs and their possible implications for his role on the federal bench. Pryor responded as follows:
I have nothing to say to you except that these accusations are totally false. Do not contact me again. Bill Pryor.
I replied by reminding Pryor that these were not "accusations"; they were photographs where multiple sources had identified him as the subject. Pryor still was not willing to grant an interview on the subject:
This is the last time I will respond to you. Those photos are not of me. Do not contact me again. Bill Pryor
If the photos were not of Pryor, wouldn't it be easy for the judge to invite an inquisitive reporter to his office at the Hugo Black Courthouse in downtown Birmingham, lay out several family photos of himself from the undergrad days, show that he didn't look then like the young man in the photo (with a noticeable erection), and put the story to bed? That would seem like an easy way to handle it. But Pryor never has done that.
Instead, the story was picked up by Above the Law, the nation's No. 1 legal blog, plus dozens of other blogs and news sites. When other journalists sent queries to Pryor, he responded by having a former law clerk send out a canned statement.
Perhaps most troubling of all is reports that the secrets in Pryor's past actually helped his judicial career--that he was nominated to the bench so he would be vulnerable to blackmail, ensuring that he would steer cases to outcomes favorable to conservative interests. Here's how we described it in a December 2014 post:
In fact, our sources say conservative forces pushed George W. Bush to make the appointment not because of any legal expertise on Pryor's part, but because his secrets make him controllable. [Journalist Wayne] Madsen calls Pryor a "gatekeeper" for Republican interests. Others have called him a "fixer," that he protects Karl Rove's agenda on the bench. Rove once served as Pryor's campaign manager in a race for Alabama attorney general.
Either way, Pryor appears to be a judge of dubious integrity.
Is this a sensitive topic in Alabama conservative circles? Well, roughly one week after I broke the Pryor/gay porn story, Shelby County deputies started showing up on our property (two and three at a time, in multiple vehicles), banging on doors and looking in our windows, even shining lights in our windows at dark. Less than one month after that, deputies broke into our basement garage as I was pulling our car in, assaulted me, doused me with pepper spray (while never showing a warrant, stating they had a warrant, or stating their reasons for being there) and hauled me to jail for a five-month stay. I probably would still be in jail (or dead) if my wife, Carol, had not managed to avoid being abducted (they were trying to arrest her, too) and was able to get word out about my arrest to the press.
|WizardBoy photo gallery,|
including Bill Pryor
As for Trump, this is not the first time he has floated Pryor's name as a possible SCOTUS nominee. He did it back in February, after Super Tuesday primaries. U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is Pryor's mentor and No. 1 political backer, became a Trump supporter early on and is considered a possible VP pick. Sessions likely has been whispering sweet nothings about Pryor in Trump's ear.
Is Trump completely ignorant of Pryor's past? It looks that way. Don Siegelman is one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet about Pryor, and his reaction to Trump's words in February were, well . . . rather harsh. Siegelman called Pryor "evil and pernicious," and that was just for starters. Here's more:
Pryor's background: Slipped in as a recess appointment of Bush. A protege and political client of Karl Rove, a state attorney general linked to Karl Rove's tobacco clients and large corporate interests refused to join in the national suit against Big Tobacco. His reasoning: "Poor people who smoke die faster, so they cost Alabama's Medicaid less money." Republican Arizona Attorney General, Grant Woods, later Co-Chair McCain for President, responded publicly saying: "Alabama would be better off with comedian Richard Pryor rather than Bill Pryor as its attorney general."
I've sought to interview Pryor at least three times about the gay-porn photos--and other issues. Each time, he has refused to take questions or even issue a substantive comment. In fact, he simply has not responded. I gave him another opportunity yesterday, via the following e-mail:
date: Wed, May 18, 2016 at 4:15 PM
subject: Inquiry about Donald Trump, U.S. Supreme Court, and your appearance at badpuppy.com
As I'm sure you know, Donald Trump yesterday mentioned you as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. I would like to request an interview or a comment on this topic, especially in light of my fall 2013 reports about nude photos of you that appeared at the badpuppy.com gay pornography Web site.
I have requested interviews on this subject multiple times in the past, and you never have granted one. I repeat that request today and ask that the interview be done in the next 24-48 hours because this is a national, breaking story.
A few questions that quickly come to mind:
* Have you disclosed to the Trump campaign your appearance at badpuppy.com?
* Did you disclose this information to the U.S. Senate during your confirmation hearings after being nominated to the federal bench?
* Would it be appropriate for you to consider a SCOTUS nomination, given the gay-porn photos in your background--and your public statements indicating you oppose gay rights. Multiple sources say you were confronted about the photographs in roughly 1997, long before your nomination to the federal bench.
* What does the presence of such photographs say about your judgment and your suitability for a position on the federal bench, much less SCOTUS?
* Were you asked about these photographs--or other potentially embarrassing and/or corrupting background information--during the confirmation process for your position on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals? If so, did you answer truthfully? If you failed to disclose this information, what does that say about your suitability for a role on the federal bench? Did you effectively lie to Congress?
Trump's comments represent a breaking story, so I ask that you respond to this e-mail by 5 p.m. on 5/20/16 (Friday).
Any chance Pryor will respond by 5 p.m. tomorrow? We will keep you posted.