A Williamson County judge spoke out in defense of an embattled state legislator on Facebook, at one point calling Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey “dumb as a rock,” and said the lawmaker’s decision to ask for leniency for a former pastor convicted of child porn possession showed “moral courage” and “guts.”
Circuit Court Judge Michael W. Binkley posted the comments — which have since been deleted — on Friday night in response to another Facebook user’s post of a Tennessean story in which Ramsey expressed concerns about House Majority Whip Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin.
Durham did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The lawmaker has come under scrutiny for writing a letter on behalf of Joseph Todd Neill, a pastor at North Folk Baptist Church in Bedford County who pleaded guilty to the child pornography charge in 2014, according to federal court records.
Neill had “been involved with a then 16-year-old member of the church,” and his phone containing the child porn was seized in the course of investigating that relationship. Neill was sentenced to a little more than three years in prison and 10 years of supervised release.
Durham later told The Tennessean that he wrote the letter at the request of “one of his closest friends,” who he said is close to Neill’s family.