|Cesaire McPherson (Facebook)|
Alabama's Republican Secretary of State John Merrill will not run for U.S. Senate in 2022 after admitting to an extramarital affair, according to reports yesterday from at least two state news outlets. An article about the affair first surfaced in the right-wing National File, and Merrill denied that report. But he admitted the affair took place to al.com reporters after being confronted with an audio recording provided by the woman who claimed to be his lover. Yellow Hammer News(YH) followed with another report yesterday. Reports YH:
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill released a statement on Wednesday ruling out a run for public office in 2022.
Merrill’s decision comes after a 2019 extramarital affair he conducted with a 44-year-old legal aide in Montgomery surfaced online in recent days.
“After much prayer, reflection, and conversations with my wife, Cindy, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for any office in 2022,” Merrill said in a statement provided by his official office.
Merrill did not show any inclination to resigning before his term ends in January 2023, saying “I am surrounded by a great team and we look forward to finishing the goals we set out to achieve before our term ends.”
The first evidence of Merrill’s marital infidelities was reported by the hyperpartisan outlet National File on Tuesday afternoon.
It alleged that Merrill, who is married with children, carried on a months-long sexual affair with Cesaire McPherson, a Montgomery resident.
The National File report included what appeared to be firsthand evidence of illicit communications between Merrill and McPherson, including texts, photos and an audio recording.
Still, Merrill denied the report until confronted with audio evidence that could not be denied. This is not the first time Merrill has denied reports of extramarital activities. In 2015, Legal Schnauzer broke the story of Merrill's relationship with a Tuscaloosa woman named Millie Brinyark, based on documents from Brinyark's divorce case. Merrill admitted to a "sexual encounter," but denied receiving oral sex. Amazingly, he mostly got away with that "explanation." But his denials don't seem to be working this time. Reports al.com about Merrill's latest indiscretion:
After initially denying reports of an affair, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on Wednesday afternoon told AL.com that he had “an inappropriate relationship” with a 44-year-old woman and will not make an anticipated run for the U.S. Senate.
“I will obviously not be a candidate for the United States Senate nor will I be seeking any other elected position in 2022, because I think it’s important to me to make sure that I become the man that I have been before and that I am working to put myself in the position to be the leader that I have been before, as a husband, as a father, as a friend and as an elected official,”Merrill, elected Alabama’s secretary of state in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, and was term limited from seeking a third term in 2022.
“With the end of my term coming up in January of 2023, I have been presented with a variety of options for where my path in public service could lead,” a statement from his office read. “I have decided that I will not be a candidate for any office in 2022.”
This time, the more Merrill denied an affair, he more he sank into quicksand:
In an interview with AL.com on Wednesday morning, Merrill denied having had an affair and accused Cesaire McPherson of “stalking” and “harassing” him.
McPherson declined to answer questions on the record Wednesday, instead providing a recording and a short statement.
“I don’t want to say anything other than here’s the proof that John Merrill is a liar,” she said. “Here’s the true John Merrill.”
McPherson provided Al.com with a recording of an October 2020 conversation between her and Merrill, who is a Republican. In the 17-minute recording, Merrill and McPherson discuss various sexual acts they performed during dozens of romantic encounters that McPherson says took place between November 2017 and November 2020. During the conversation, Merrill seems to try to end his relationship with McPherson, who was reluctant to break off the affair. He told her they had met for the last time and that he was seeking help from the Lord to stay away from her.
Ultimately, Merrill admits in the interview there is no excuse for his behavior:
After being played a portion of the recording Wednesday, Merrill, who is married with two children, told AL.com “there’s no excuse” for his extramarital relationship.
“It’s clear that I had an inappropriate relationship with her, and it is not something that I am proud of or something that is something that — I’m very disappointed in myself. I’m also disappointed that I allowed my family to be embarrassed by this action,” he said. “And it’s something that I certainly will always regret because of the pain that it has caused my family.”
McPherson’s allegations were first made public yesterday on the right-wing web site National File.
Early in the call, McPherson asks Merrill, “the last time that we had sex, that’s the last time ever?” Merrill responded, “well, it was a pretty good day.” McPherson asks again if “that’s the last time ever” and Merrill says “it’s supposedly the last time ever.”
McPherson goes on to ask Merrill in explicit detail about sex acts she says they engaged in on multiple occasions and about specific locations.
He told her later in the call he hoped to draw strength from God to resist continuing their affair.
“I am not able to stay away from you, so that’s the reason why I have to have help in order to do that … the help is coming from the Lord,” Merrill said.
“You already went against your marriage … So you’ve already done it, you can’t take that back, you can’t change it,” McPherson said.
The National File article definitely is not for the squeamish or easily offended. It is filled with raw and explicit language. Here is a sampling:
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who is expected to run for U.S. Senate, had an extramarital affair from July 2019 to November 2020, his ex-mistress Cesaire McPherson told NATIONAL FILE. Cesaire McPherson, a legal assistant, said that she slept with John Merrill in his marital bed.
Merrill enjoyed having his anus breached with sex toys, according to McPherson, who also said that Merrill used his government vehicle to visit her home and used his official phone to send text messages. McPherson said that she recorded herself having sex with the Secretary of State on one occasion. McPherson said that Merrill engaged in physical fights with her that led to bruises on her body, with the politician grabbing and shoving her. McPherson also said that Merrill is a “real bad racist” who made disparaging remarks about African-Americans in her presence. NATIONAL FILE has obtained text messages that McPherson said Merrill exchanged with her.