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The disgraced Alabama Secretary of State was the focused of a new exposé by AL.com titled, "Sex, lies and the Alabama secretary of state: The fall of John Merrill."
"For more than two years, John Merrill carried on an affair, secure in the assumption that his secret life was safe so long as the woman he slept with didn't go public about it," Connor Sheets and Kyle Whitmire reported. "However, on April 6 a self-described 'New Right' political blog published recordings of Cesaire McPherson speaking in explicit terms about her relationship with Merrill. It might have been as much a surprise to McPherson as it was to the secretary of state."
The website spoke with McPherson, who provided a photo of her with Merrill for the story.
"I never would have said all those things if I knew I was being recorded," said McPherson. "I wouldn't have been talking just like some kind of barroom sailor talk."
"His fall revealed something important and new: The emergence of an ecosystem of hyper-partisan political media, one openly loyal to former President Donald Trump and supporting America First candidates, a new set of players gunning for politicians under a new set of rules," AL.com reported. "These sites have taken up the role of supermarket tabloids that worked outside the practices of mainstream journalism to break stories on former President Bill Clinton and other political philanderers, said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute and co-author of Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload. Like them or not, these sites are part of the political culture and a place where campaigns and operatives can put what they want into circulation."
"The first that McPherson found out her name and voice had been released online was when a radio host from Minnesota reached out to her for an interview, McPherson said. She now says she was tricked into giving up her anonymity and that she didn't know that the things she said were being recorded. At least one of the people who set up that phone call denies she was recorded without being aware," AL.com reported.
The scandal was initially reported by a website called the National File and the initial report was salacious.
"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," Patrick Howley reported for the website. "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."
Watch the website's report:
Married Alabama Secretary of State Likes Painful Sex, Anal Play - Ex Lover www.youtube.com
Sex, lies and the Alabama secretary of state: The wild backstory of how John Merrill went from top U.S. Senate cont… https://t.co/odZgGsxYpy— Connor Sheets (@Connor Sheets)1618592162.0
A Black teenager who was practicing his ROTC routine with a replica rifle in North Carolina received a shock when he learned neighbors had called the police on him, WXII reports.
Jathan Walthour was practicing his routine on Tuesday night when neighbors dialed 9-11. One call that was released shows someone reporting that a man was outside with a gun and "walking up and down our cul-de-sac."
Walthour says his training from a community program called "Police Explorers" gave him the tools to respond properly when police arrived.
"I placed the gun down on the ground and walked away from it," he said. "And I kept my hands visible, away from my pockets and things because the officers recommend you keep your hands where the officers can see you."
WXII reports that Walthour's family is considering making fliers to let neighbors know he's is in ROTC and not a threat.
Watch WXII's report on the story below:
Millions of Americans believe the election was stolen, and hundreds of Donald Trump's supporters stormed into the Capitol to overturn that loss, but experts are optimistic that the worst may be over -- for now.
Recent studies have found that Trump's most dedicated supporters are "cooling out" and drawing away from politics rather than simmering in their post-election anger, and the former president's disappearance from public life after his Twitter ban may have something to do with that, reported The Guardian.
"I think a lot of people have felt abandoned," said sociologist Arlie Hochschild, who is conducting interviews in eastern Kentucky. "Trump did not pardon [the Capitol rioters]. He went away, disappeared into silence. They feel like: 'Wait a minute: why isn't he speaking up for us? Why isn't he defending us?'"
A small minority of the Trump supporters she's interviewing feel paranoid about big government under President Joe Biden, but most of them have let go of their emotional attachment to the idea of election fraud."[On Jan. 6 they] had felt proud, patriotic, defending democracy, and in a day's time that had turned around to dishonor, criminalization," Hochschild said. "They were put down. The law was looking for them."
Hochschild isn't terribly concerned about another round of political violence anytime soon, but she still sees that risk in the long term.
"I do feel there are a lot of people whose position is extreme," she said. "I just don't see it mobilized at this point."
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