Brett Joseph Talley was once a seemingly ordinary federal judge clerk and graduate from Harvard Law School during his day job. But instead of going home every night like most people do, some nights, Talley hunted ghosts with fellow devotees of the supernatural.
Perhaps even more shocking than Talley’s hobby, however, is the fact that in 2017, he was President Trump’s pick for a lifetime appointment as a U.S. District Court judge in the fledgling lawyer’s home state of Alabama, The Washington Post reports. The 36-year-old political speechwriter and horror book author has never tried a case in his life, but he was a part of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group in 2009 and 2010, when he helped the volunteer organization scan for ghosts in abandoned hospitals, plantation mansions, and other allegedly haunted buildings using devices like infrared cameras and sensors.
“He was a real help...He was quiet and real smart,” David Higdon, the founder of the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group, told The Washington Post in 2017. “We try to do everything scientific.”
The American Bar Association review committee assigned him a unanimous “not qualified” rating, a designation only two other nominees have received since 1989.
The failed nominee did not disclose his marriage to Ann Donaldson, who served as chief of staff to White House counsel Don McGahn in his Senate confirmation when asked to list family members "likely to present potential conflicts of interest."