Here’s how ‘barroom sailor talk’ took down Alabama’s GOP Secretary of State

The disgraced Alabama Secretary of State was the focus 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:


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