Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Has Drug and Sex Scandal Caused the Ouster of a Right-Wing Lawyer With Ties to Pat Robertson?

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:

James Henderson 
Theresa Henderson 
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
Like Henderson, Johnston is no stranger to hypocrisy. Johnston is director of Citizens for a Better Alabama (CBA), a staunch anti-gambling outfit that supported former Governor Bob Riley's raids on casinos in our state. CBA launched frequent attacks on casino owner Milton McGregor, who was acquitted on all charges in a federal trial and retrial on corruption charges.

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.


Bill Schmalfeldt said...

And still, not one word from the ACLJ's media crew, or anyone stepping up to deny or defend... except in Exposed Politics comments, where one person suggested the naughty boys SEDUCED the 53-year old married, father of 8, so it's THEIR fault. The Right Wing Outrage Machine is REMARKABLY silent, considering how they exploded when Rep. Weiner sent pictures of himself to girls, with no physical contact. Here, we have a Conservative Lawyer, a professor at Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School, who spends his spare time buying drugs and alcohol for young barely legal (a most generous characterization, we think) lads. How does ACLJ reconcile this to their mission? How does Regent University react to this? How will his church -- where he was youth minister -- deal with these allegations? Will there be an ethical investigation? Will the church look into Henderson's contact with the youth of the congregation? Thank you, Roger, for lending your gravitas to this story. But we need much more. If the right wing can coalesce and force a congressman to resign for taking pictures of his man parts, don't the conservatives deserve the same sort of self-policing? The gay issue aside... purchasing drugs? Alcohol for under 21-year olds? But silent they are, silent they remain!

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for your coverage and insights on this, Bill.

Perhaps this will help land A. Eric Johnston on the national radar, too. He doesn't appear to have a taste for boys and MJ. But he does have a taste for fighting gambling initiatives (which usually would benefit education, health care, etc.) with Mississippi gambling money . . . laundered through Jack Abramoff.

Henderson is a much bigger fish than Johnston, but they have worked together.

Staying tuned.

Anonymous said...

Gotta admit, I get a charge out of these kinds of stories.

Great work.

Anonymous said...

I had the impression that Jay Sekulow never met a camera or microphone that he didn't like.

This must be serious if Sekulow Sr. didn't want to take questions.

Spasmoda said...

Can't beat a story about conservative hypocrisy.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Henderson's excuse?

He was just trying to help out kids living in poverty.

Look at the boys on his Facebook page. They are so poor they can't afford shirts.

Spasmoda said...

Anon at 12:15 . . .

Your comment cracked me up.

Yep, the ACLJ, "We help poor boys who can't afford shirts."

legalschnauzer said...

Looks like we have breaking news on this story. Will top the post with an update here in a minute

Curious George said...

The guy's stepped down already? Damn, I was looking forward to more dirt. We want details!

Barb said...

Wow, that didn't take long. Makes me think there was a raging fire that was producing this smoke.

jeffrey spruill said...

Another secret of Jay Sekulow!

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, Jeff, this is in your neck of the woods. Jay Sekulow has secrets?

They sure have scrubbed Mr. Henderson from the ACLJ Web site since last night or early this morning.

I never dreamed something would happen so quickly.

Anonymous said...

What's that smell? It's a burning conservative scalp. And Mr. Schnauzer has it tacked to the wall.

Congrats on some courageous and important reporting.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 2:41--

I'm not sure how much credit I deserve on this. I was mostly riding on the coat tails of "Exposed Politics" and "The Patriot-Ombudsman." They really got the ball rolling.

Plus, it should be noted that Mr. Henderson's ouster is not a certainty yet. But it is curious that he has disappeared from ACLJ Web site.

Anonymous said...


You're being too modest. Sounds to me like Mr. Henderson was still listed on the Web site until your post came out this morning.

It's that Schnauzer magic that did in a right winger.

jeffrey spruill said...

Mr. Schnauzer:

Jay Sekulow has all kinds of secrets.

You should ask Jay how did he win this case?

And who was railroaded to accomplish this task?

legalschnauzer said...

Well, it looks like they got rid of Mr. Henderson in a hurry. His bio was up there last night or this morning, and now it's gone--poof.

Sounds like the ACLJ is in major damage control.

legalschnauzer said...


I hope folks will view the video to which you linked. Very interesting, including comments from the always loony Randall Terry. Would love to know the answers to the questions you raise.

jeffrey spruill said...

Where's Sean Hannity's outrage when the "moral values" crowd needs him?

Anonymous said...

On the net it is reported Henderson is being investigated by the FBI, his local police refused to investigate a possible pedophile when asked to do so (the PD said the report needs to be made in person)

...elsewhere it is reported that Henderson hired a civil rights attorney to do battle with his firing. We can assume he'll demand the protections against discrimination on his behalf.

Those are the very laws he and his ilk fought against in courts around the US.