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Utah AG won’t run again over ties to Sound of Freedom asshole

Republican Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes on Friday announced he wouldn’t be running for a fourth term in 2024 and would dedicate his last year in office to supporting a criminal investigation of his “friend” Tim Ballard, the anti-sex-trafficking activist and real-life inspiration for 2023 QAnon fan-favorite film Sound of Freedom, starring adrenochrome freak Jim Caviezel, who turned out to be basically a sex trafficker himself, allegedly coercing Mormon housewives into sex acts when they volunteered for his organization “Operation Underground Railroad” (OUR) to pose as his wife when going “undercover” on trips to third-world countries to meet with slavers and “liberate” victims.

The AP reports that attorney Suzette Rasmussen, representing five of the women who came forward to accuse Ballard says her clients have accepted Reyes’s apology and respect that he was “the first and only person” so far to accept responsibility for promoting Ballard’s scumbaggery.

Reyes, who announced he would recuse personally from any criminal probe as he himself is under investigation by the state legislature for his involvement in possible misuse of state resources to help promote OUR and Sound of Freedom (a film in which he’s credited as a producer), is named in a civil complaint filed against Ballard late last month alleging that Reyes tried to intimidate an employee of another anti-sex-trafficking organization. Plaintiff Susan Whitehead claims that Ballard, portrayed by Q-pilled freak Jim Caviezel in the Trump-promoted film, had in a series of since-deleted blog posts taken credit for rescuing child victims – ones that Whitehead’s organization had in fact rescued – after the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal and that Reyes (the AP and Fox 13 Salt Lake City differ on whether he’s actually a co-defendant in the lawsuit) had tried to call and then texted Whitehead’s supervisor but did not answer when the supervisor tried to call back.

The whole situation’s a fucking shitshow. With Reyes recusing, backing out of a reelection campaign he announced in September, apologizing to the victims – an apology their lawyer says was accepted – and also in September reneging on what had been an expected endorsement of Ballard to run to take over Mitt Romney’s Senate seat (Romney announced his retirement five days before Vice broke the story about Ballard’s sexual abuse), there might be some actual sincere contrition here. Still at best he’s a fucking right wing jerkoff who supported Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s 2020 election lawsuit and was way too into Ballard’s cosplaying bullshit until the sex abuse stuff came out.

Whitehead’s lawsuit alleges Reyes wrote a scene for the planned sequel Cry of Freedom featuring an attorney general character described as “energetic – Hawaiian/Hispanic/Asian of larger build – former MMA fighter now elected official – in conservative suit behind large rosewood desk in ceremonial office.” The dialogue really, really sucks, you have to read it.

Less comical is the part of the complaint that says Reyes directed his staff to help Ballard discredit Ballard’s accusers and that Whitehead has audio of him saying as much. Big if true.

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