One of President Donald Trump’s nominee’s for federal judge was part of a paranormal investigative group and a horror novelist, but appears lacking in actual qualifications.
Brett Talley, Trump’s nominee for a federal district judge in Alabama, said in a Senate Judiciary Questionnaire that he was a member of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group from 2009 to 2010, and that he also wrote a number of horror novels. Talley indicated that he while he earned a law degree from Harvard University and has served in several legal positions, he has never held judicial office and was declared unqualified to be federal district judge by the American Bar Association, according to The Daily Beast. Talley also failed to disclose in the questionnaire that he is married to White House lawyer Ann Donaldson, according to The Hill.
Talley has, however, garnered several awards and a “cult following” for his horror writing and explored the allegedly haunted underbelly of Alabama.
“Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group is a group of ethically minded people searching for the truth of the paranormal existence. We help those who may be living with paranormal activity that can be disruptive and/or traumatic,” the paranormal investigative group’s website reads. “Our team uses a strictly scientific approach to determine the extent of the Paranormal Activity. Supporting evidence may be in the form of video, audio and/or photographs. We respect your privacy.”
Talley wrote three horror novels and two “true ghost story” books based on his paranormal investigations in Tuscaloosa. In his 2014 novel “The Reborn,” Talley depicted Caitlin Conant, then communications director for Sen. Rob Portman, as the antichrist because “In horror novels being the antichrist is, like, the highest honor possible,” according to The Washington Post. Talley worked as Portman’s speechwriter at the time.
“I find it hilarious that no one is writing about his horror writing. He has a cult following,” Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, told The Daily Beast. “I have to say I wasn’t really aware he was a lawyer as my dealings with him were as a writer on campaign. He’s an interesting, smart guy. But so is Stephen King.”
Talley evidently pursues his interest in the paranormal with an enthusiasm not shared by those in his social circle, as he said in a 2011 interview that no one takes him up on his invitations to go ghost hunting after hours.
“Factories, insane asylums, that sort of thing,” Talley said in a 2011 interview. “I am always trying to get people to go with me, but no one ever does. You have to watch out or you’ll get arrested for trespassing.”