Friday, November 4, 2016

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill gets indignant about ballot access, but seems to forget details re: his extramarital affair in Millie Brinyark scandal

What happens when a politician thinks a scandal has blown over, and he more or less has gotten away with certain unsavory acts? If Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is an indicator, he becomes an insufferable, arrogant prick. Given Merrill's close ties to former Governor Bob Riley and his son, Rob "Uday" Riley, it's quite possible that Merrill was an insufferable, arrogant prick all along.

Merrill removed all doubt this week when his comments in a documentary about American barriers to ballot access came to light.  Numerous states have approved, or are considering, plans to allow all eligible citizens to automatically be registered to vote. But Merrill snorts and ruffles his feathers when presented with such ideas, calling them the “sorry and lazy way out.” (See video above.)

Speaking of "sorry," Merrill seems to have forgotten the ugly extramarital affair in his not-too-distant past. We, however, have not forgotten reports from multiple sources that Merrill has "issues" in Huntsville. We have the name of a person and a business in Huntsville with interesting "ties" to Merrill, and we are very close to having that story nailed down for publication.

Merrill is not in a great position to play the "holier than thou" card on ballot access -- or any other issue -- but he did it anyway in the documentary interview. From an article at Think Progress by Kira Lerner:

Five states have approved plans to allow all eligible citizens to automatically be registered to vote, unless they opt-out, and dozens more are considering following suit.

But Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) opposes such a practice, calling it the “sorry and lazy way out.”

“I don’t think that just because your birthday comes around, you should be registered to vote,” he said in an interview with Brian Jenkins, the director of a documentary about America’s various barriers to ballot access.

Merrill, a Republican, then starts harrumphing and claiming such plans cheapen the work of civil-rights icons like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks:

“These people fought — some of them were beaten, some of them were killed — because of their desire to ensure that everybody that wanted to had the right to register to vote and participate in the process,” he said.
“I’m not going to cheapen the work they did, I’m not going to embarrass them by allowing somebody that’s too sorry to get up off their rear end to go register to vote… because they think they deserve the right because they’ve turned 18,” he continued, growing angry.

It's nice to see that Merrill can make value judgments about others, given revelations in early 2015 about his own extramarital affair.  The right-wing mainstream press did its best to keep the story under wraps, but we broke it here on January 29, 2015. Merrill ultimately went to to shoo the problem away by offering some of the most preposterous excuses in the history of straying spouses.

Millie Brinyark, with ex husband and kids
(From Tuscaloosa News) columnist Kyle Whitmire admitted he had court documents prior to the 2014 election that provided details about an extramarital affair involving an unnamed politician. A deposition from a divorce case in Tuscaloosa Circuit Court styled Bryan Scott Brinyark v. Mildred Murphree Brinyark revealed the politician to be Merrill -- and it's possible he never would have been elected Secretary of State, and his political career would have been over, had Whitmire not taken the deposition and "stuck it away."

Keep in mind that Merrill is not just any old Alabama politico. He's made it clear that he considers himself to be gubernatorial timber, and with his ties to the Riley Machine, he likely has the backing to make a serious run for it. In fact, Merrill probably was posturing for an upcoming governor's race -- playing to his right-wing base and their race-based fears -- when he became indignant during the interview about voting access. From Think Progress:

In the interview, Merrill also compared automatic registration to giving everyone on a sports team a trophy for participation. “You only get a trophy if you win,” he said emphatically.

“Just because you turned 18 doesn’t give you the right to do anything,” he continued. “I think it’s the sorry, lazy way out, and it shows no initiative.”

When the interviewer points out that voters still have to take the initiative to go to a polling place to cast a ballot, Merrill adds that he’s not “attracted to lazy people, or sorry people, or people that don’t want to get involved.”

“If you’re too sorry and lazy to get up off of your rear and to go register to vote, or to register electronically, and then to go vote, then you don’t deserve that privilege,” he said.

Court documents show that Merrill certainly was willing to "get off his rear" and "take the initiative" when it came to Millie Brinyark. In fact, it's clear he was "attracted" to her and found her to be quite the "trophy." Consider these statements from Ms. Brinyark's deposition regarding one interaction with Merrill: (A section of the deposition is embedded at the end of this post.)

A: John came to talk to me, and he came again and talked to me, and then I met with him that Sunday afternoon, and he had--he had been very sexual in his conversations and -- 
Q: Toward you? 
A: Yes. 
Q: In an inappropriate manner? 
A: Yes. 
Q: In what way? 
A: Just he talked about he had to have sex all the time and -- 
Q: He wanted to have it with you? 
A: Uh-huh.

Ms. Brinyark then provides plenty of details on how physical things became:

Q: Did he touch, caress, and/or kiss your breasts?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you do the same for him?
A: Yes.
Q: So you touched his unexposed penis?
A: Yes.
Q. And did either one of y'all have oral sex with the other?
A: Yes.
Q: How many times?
A: Just once.
Q: Both for each other?
A: No.
Q: Him for you--did he commit or perform oral sex on you?
A: No.
Q: You performed oral sex on him?
A: Yes.

This is not the kind of information that appears at Merrill's bio on the Secretary of State Web site. Instead, you get this kind of thing, from one of our posts on the scandal:

During the 2014 campaign, Merrill was a favorite of the pro-business and religious communities, picking up endorsements from the Business Council of Alabama (led by Bill Canary), Alabama Conservative Christians, the National Rifle Association, Alabama Farmers Federation, and the Alabama Association of Realtors. . . . 
Merrill's official biography at the Secretary of State Web site says he is a deacon at Calvary Baptist Church and has served as a Sunday School teacher.

How did Merrill sweep the Brinyark scandal under the rug? He went to his pals at the, met with four "journalists" and fessed up -- sort of.  He admitted to having an extramarital "sexual encounter," but denied receiving oral sex. (Try not to laugh when you read that last sentence -- or the following, from Legal Schnauzer.)

In a sworn deposition, defendant Millie Brinyark provided graphic details about a sexually charged relationship with the married Merrill. In an interview with four journalists on Tuesday (Feb. 3), Merrill supported much of Brinyark's testimony, primarily denying that he received oral sex and that he was the sexual aggressor.

According to, Merrill claims to be the victim of a "smear campaign" by unnamed individuals who widely circulated portions of the deposition to the press, politicians, members of his church, and others. How can it be a smear campaign when it involves public documents, about testimony that Merrill largely admits is true? The journalists apparently did not ask Merrill that question.

John Merrill apparently thinks Alabamians are stupid enough to believe a woman would admit, under oath, to providing him with oral sex when she really hadn't.

Merrill also seems to think the Brinyark scandal is neatly tucked away. It isn't -- and neither are his "issues" in Huntsville, which could break at any moment.


Anonymous said...

Merrill is a typical Republican phony.

Anonymous said...

Although I disapprove of what Shuler says, I will defend to the death his right to say it. Or, at a minimum, I'll nourish children with good morals and self-esteem. Okay, that's not quite the same as “defending to the death,” but at least it demonstrates that ever since Shuler decided to push the State towards greater influence, self-preservation, and totalitarianism and away from civic engagement, constituent choice, and independent thought, his consistent, unvarying line has been that people are pawns to be used and manipulated. No man who values himself, who has any regard for sound morality, or who feels any desire to see intellectual progress made certain, can rightfully join his deluded attempt to inspire a recrudescence of voluble fatuity.

Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave with his eyes shut and his ears plugged knows that Shuler sometimes has trouble convincing people that the world is crying out to labor beneath his firm but benevolent heel. When he has such trouble, he usually trots out a few neurotic polemicists to constate authoritatively that promoting imperialism helps one gain skills for success in an increasingly complex and globalized marketplace. Whether or not that trick of his works, it's still the case that Shuler's secret passion is to resort to underhanded tactics. For shame!

Robby Scott Hill said...

Perhaps it's not good enough for voting, but the AL Dept. if Revenue sure as hell considers your previous registration with Social Security good enough to automatically register you for income tax withholding & to let you electronically file a tax return. Hell, if you forget to file a return, they'll automatically remind you too & if you refuse to file after several reminders, they'll file for you without any deductions & credits and "automatically" place a tax lien on your property.

He needs to go have coffee with Director Julie "I doubled my salary after Bentley's divorce" Magee of the Alabama Department of Revenue & make friends with her. Her people are experts at getting folks automatically registered to meet their tax responsibilities.

If we registered people to vote like we register them to meet their tax responsibilities, we'd have 99% voter registration & 90% voter turnout. All the information you need to get registered to vote is already on your income tax return & the background check for the Star ID driver license is more rigorous than the requirements to vote & you have to have a valid AL driver license to e-file your tax return. All Merrill has to do is adopt the system the Department of Revenue already has in place.

The Founding Fathers said "no taxation without representation," but Robby Hill says, "no taxation without voter registration."

Robby Scott Hill said...

My legal training makes me a skeptic & when I'm a disinterested 3rd party & not employed by any of the law firms representing the interested parties, I tend to root for the underdog. Deposition statements are just answers to questions a party to a dispute makes under oath to opposing counsel. They are supposed to be truthful. Merrill seems to be saying at the least that the deposition you reference is not the whole story & at the worst he seems to be saying Brinyark either: 1) outright lied about the oral sex Merrill was alleged to have received or that 2) opposing counsel asked the question in an ambiguous manner where Brinyark did not completely understand what they were asking & unintentionally answered in such a way that the entire truth of the matter was not revealed.

I would never accuse a member of the Alabama State Bar of incompetence in asking deposition questions. Likewise, I would never accuse a member of the Alabama State Bar or a State Official of intentionally lying or misrepresenting the truth as revealed in sworn testimony.

Heck, I would never accuse any law abiding Citizen of Alabama of lying without clear and convincing evidence to the contrary & the peer review of an impartial jury. Now, those scalawags over in Atlanta, Georgia who consort with Yankees I don't know about them, but the good Christian People of the Sovereign State of Alabama are not liars. I refuse to believe our Citizens would be less than truthful without that clear and convincing evidence to the contrary & the interpretation of a Christian Jury. I just see a Good Ol' Boy, a Christian Woman & some of
our fine Christian Lawyers who got all confused under the stress of legal proceedings while they were working long hours to pay their property taxes & church tithes and no Negroes involved in the mix to blame anything on. So, I, the Honorable Robby Hill, Justice of Christian Self-Righteousness, declare all parties reported on by Roger Shuler d/b/a Legal Schmauzer to be innocent by the Blood of Christ & I order Roger Shuler detained for Kangroo Court proceedings where he will be found guilty of the high crimes of telling truth to power & attempting to hold them accountable for their inappropriate behaviors because he refuses to accept the salvation of Jesus Christ in the manner prescribed by state law, interpreted by this court. Given under my hand, this the 4th day of October, Year of Our Lord 2016, Judge Hill Presiding, with the valuable assistance of The Late, Air Marshall Carlin.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read this. THIS is the type stories that draw me to this site...the true political hypocrisy that need to be exposed.

legalschnauzer said...

Have no idea what you are trying to say, @1:44. Care to give it another shot? You might start by answering this question: What have I said that draws your disapproval? Is it something in this post? I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

Hey, @1:44, are you saying you like the fact John Merrill is a lying, cheating SOS?

Anonymous said...

Has the Alabama MSM covered this story at all? Maybe covering it up like they tried to do with affair story?

legalschnauzer said...

I haven't seen a thing in Alabama MSM, @4:18. Anyone else?

Anonymous said... did have a story today on Merrill and his contradictory comments...but nothing about this affair.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing @4:27. Will have to check that out.

Anonymous said...

Here is one story did today on Merrill:

Anonymous said...

John Merrill blames his ignorant comments on "liberal trolls." They made him say that stuff -- no kidding.

Anonymous said...

Here is an equation for yee:

John Merrill + Bob Riley/Uday Riley = white entitlement

Anonymous said...

Looks like Kyle Whitmire isn't protecting John Merrill's white ass any longer:

Anonymous said...


Do Merrill's issues in Huntsville involve the initials "NJ"?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes. You da man, @5:16.

S C said...

@1:44 comments worked for half the first sentence, and then he pulled out the ole thesaurus. His human sagacity is evident with such preponderance of overstuffed (commodious) words.

Anonymous said...

Nice picture of Millie. Looks to be fertile country guys. I bet John wasn't her first rodeo during the marriage.

Anonymous said...

Hairy coyote sometimes sniffs sucker chick in the kitchen.