Picture via the Tennessean. The following update has been added to The William Talley Burn Notice:
Bill Talley, a former health-care executive turned social media personality, will serve one year in prison and eight years’ probation for possessing hundreds of child pornography files.
The sentencing on Wednesday resolves charges that Talley has been fighting the past eight years. He appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to have evidence in the state’s case against him suppressed — a request the high court rejected.
That is how Bobby Allyn opened his front page article in the Tennessean last Thursday. He ended it by quoting the prosecutor, Deborah Housel, who wants Talley off of Twitter: “He’s prohibited from being around minors, so just think about it.” Indeed.
Talley’s case had earned the negative attention of anti-pedophile activists, and anger over his relatively light sentence is being channeled into a grassroots campaign to ban pedophiles from Twitter. The outrage is fueled by Talley’s attempt to use his Twitter following as proof of his importance as a community leader in order to argue for a lighter sentence.
Yes: @Political_Bill tried to get out of prison by way of Twitter. His attorney would not have introduced the topic at the hearing without Talley’s instruction. This was the objective Talley had in mind as he shmoozed up to liberal Twitter users and their projects. But because activists had shared Talley’s tweets with Ms. Housel, she was able to rebut him with his own words. His plan failed.
In fact, the episode snapped whatever suspension of disbelief still existed at that point. Talley’s defense is one long persecution narrative: police entered his condominium illegally, police planted evidence, police do not understand computers. When Detective Chad Gish testified to credit card receipts found for the videos, including one of a three year-old girl being raped, Talley dismissed it as a misconstrued case of phishing and identity theft against him.
You see, William Talley is always the “real” victim. Nothing is ever his fault; he has never committed any crime; everyone is simply out to get him.
Talley possessed thousands of pornographic images and videos of children when he was arrested in 2005. The items were found in a folder on Talley’s computer desktop, on the CDs in his office safe, and printed out and tucked into his briefcase. Altogether, more than 100 children were identified in the collection, 59 of whom have been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Detective Gish put over three hundred hours of work into disproving Talley’s elaborate contention that malware was responsible for images and videos popping up uninvited; Talley maintained that he had to save, print, and keep all that material so he could block it from his computers…later.
He was too busy to do it right away, which is why the date/time stamps on the printed filth in his briefcase were up to two years old, but Talley was conscientiously keeping it all filed away in order to get rid of it eventually. Because he was so “repulsed.” See how that works?
Talley, who claims to be a member of MENSA, the “High IQ Society,” and who cultivated the image of a wise elder progressive on Twitter for five years, claimed ignorance that child pornography was illegal. At the time of his arrest, he also admitted to giving friends prescription pills in exchange for money, but did not consider it “selling” controlled substances. In her closing, Ms. Housel quoted a psychosexual report already entered into evidence: William Talley “presents as one to whom the rules do not apply.” He is unique and faultless and great, and the rest of us just don’t get it.
Tweeting from a motel room on Murfreesboro Road, Talley had people believing his phantom ventures were successful businesses. In fact, Talley is one million dollars in arrears with the IRS, having closed his home healthcare business years ago. Here again he claims victimhood: Medicare and the economy, not his battered reputation in Nashville, were responsible for declining revenue.
But the activists who exposed and hounded William Talley held a special, new place in his victimology. A “Twitter lynch mob” has been telling horrible lies about him “because they don’t like our politics,” Talley said, smiling smugly at me.
Our politics — as if Talley defines the liberal brand on Twitter.
Talley has a fan club on the social network that includes core members of Unite Blue, a controversial liberal counterpart to TGDN on the right side of the Twitterverse. Two of his sock puppet accounts, @7serf7 and @politaire, both actively conversed with users who made a great show of unfollowing @Political_Bill. On Tuesday, @7serf7 and @politaire indicated they may be “taking time off” from Twitter; the next day, the accounts were alternately protected or tweeting with new voices.
At this time, Steven Hatlestad, a key figure in the doxing and harassment activity that characterized the flame war over William Talley, appears to be running @politaire; Aurora Grajeda aka @cihuamexica was clearly tweeting through @7serf7. Had the accounts gone quiet with Talley in prison, both people would be exposed for their cooperative reputational defense of a pedophile who enjoys watching the rape of three year old children. As it is, they have done themselves no favors by taking over Talley’s accounts.
The “Cauldron of Stupid,” as Talley’s supporters have become known, has at least stopped making empty legal threats in the face of an actual court decision. Judge Watkins clearly did not believe Talley’s story. Credit card receipts for “hardcore porn, all models guaranteed under 14″ were not evidence of a conspiracy against William Talley, but proof that he belongs in prison. His Twitter accounts were not a mitigating factor for him. The rules would apply to him. While the statutes of 2005 allowed Talley’s entire sentence to be served on probation, a term of confinement was in order.
And then it was over, and I was free to tell Twitter.
Talley’s main @Political_Bill account is still followed by thousands of people five days later, though the numbers are steadily declining. Many people are asking Twitter to delete Talley’s accounts — all of them, even the ones being used by his friends now. They represent a monstrous lie; William Talley’s ego was the only thing about them that was ever real.
If you would like to contact Twitter about William Talley’s accounts, the email address is email@example.com and the accounts are listed below:
A final slideshow: Direct Messages from William Talley. As you can see, he has been waging a one-man disinformation campaign in the back channel.