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Trump federal judge nominee defended early KKK online: Report

Brett Talley had already been rated "not qualified" by the American Bar Association.
brett talley
Brett Talley, federal judge nominee and former ghost hunter, appeared to defend the KKK on TideFans.com under the alias "BamainBoston." Photo: YouTube/Liberty Day Institute

Brett Talley, President Trump's nominee for a lifetime federal judgeship in Alabama, defended the early Ku Klux Klan on a message board for University of Alabama fans, Slate reported.

Talley — who has been an attorney for three years and has never tried a case, but spent one year as a ghost hunter — wrote more than 16,300 posts on TideFans.com under the alias "BamainBoston," Slate says. One topic he weighed in on was a February 2011 discussion about the statesmanship of Nathan Bedford Forrest, an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, after the South lost the Civil War.

"Heaven forbid we let the facts get in the way of your righteous indignation, but Forrest, when he decommissioned his men, told them to make peace with the men they had fought and live as good citizens of the United States," wrote Talley.

"It was only after the perceived depredations of the Union army during reconstruction that Forrest joined (it is highly unlikely that he founded or acted as the Grand Wizard) the first KKK, which was entirely different than the KKK of the early 19th Century," he said.

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"When the Klan turned to racial violence, he distanced himself from the organization as he had long supported the reconciliation of the races. In fact, he often spoke to black organizations," he said.

At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern points out that Talley's claims are dubious. The "early KKK" was not fundamentally different than its current incarnation; the organization has always promoted white supremacy. It is also likely that Forrest was the first grand wizard of the KKK, although the organization's secrecy makes it hard to know for certain.

Talley has been rated a rare "not qualified" by the American Bar Association to serve as a federal district judge. Earlier this week, it was reported that Talley failed to disclose that he is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff for White House counsel Don McGahn.

But on a questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee, he revealed that from 2009 to 2010 he was a member of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group, which according to its website investigates “paranormal existence” and assists “those who may be living with paranormal activity that can be disruptive and/or traumatic.”