Annapolis, Md. – A local photographer’s public Facebook photo album showed District 33 Sen. Edward R. Reilly, R-Crofton, and 5th Circuit Judge Mark W. Crooks, attending a Severna Park fundraiser for anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and law-violating Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore with County Executive Steve Schuh in September 2017.
“Everyone had their picture taken with the good judge,” said Reilly of the event held in a private home. The Pasadena-based Laura’s Eyes Photography posted the album titled “Judge Roy Moore Fundraiser” (UPDATE: This link was removed after this article was posted.) on September 13 with the subtitle: “Last week I got the opportunity to meet Judge Roy Moore. A man who stood up for God and the Ten Commandments in an extraordinary way. A privilege.” Many pictured wore name tags.
On Friday, Reilly told The Arundel Patriot he attended the event “to find information” and because Councilman Michael Peroutka, R-Millersville, invited him. Reilly said he did not financially or politically support Moore. No evidence to the contrary was discovered.
Judge Crooks was appointed to the bench by Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016. He did not return calls to his chambers for comment on why he attended a fundraiser for a former judge who violated Alabama’s Canons of Judicial Ethics. No record of Crooks donating to Moore was found. Crooks will run in the Anne Arundel County judicial election in 2018 as a sitting judge.
Reilly paraphrased Moore’s address at the event. “He gave his traditional stump speech: protecting marriage, being a pro-life legislator, working from the Constitution and not a political playbook,” said Reilly. “I agree with some of the issues he was espousing, but not all of them.” When asked with which issues Reilly agrees, he replied he did not have his list with him.
Reilly said that Moore should step down from the race and that he believes the eight women accusing Moore of either sexually assaulting them or making unwanted sexual advances when they were teenagers. Moore, now in his 70s, was in his 30s at the time of the incidents.
Schuh Wednesday told The Capital he made a $1000 donation to Moore after a September Severna Park fundraiser. Schuh requested a refund on the same day The Arundel Patriot reported the donation and said the two events were unrelated. A spokesperson for Schuh has not returned requests for comment or provided a copy of Schuh’s refund request.
The fundraiser appears to have been closely timed to the September 12, 2017, unveiling of the Anne Arundel United initiative, a program sponsored by Schuh and Councilman Pete Smith, D-Severn, to “unite the county against hatred and build greater understanding,” according to the county website.
The former chief justice of Alabama was already controversial at the time of the Severna Park fundraiser. Moore said in 2005 that homosexuality should be illegal in the United States. In 2006, he wrote a column explaining why Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, the first Muslim congressperson, should not be allowed to swear his congressional oath on the Quran and that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress.
At a rally in Florence, Alabama, in late September, Moore noted a time in our nation’s history when America was last great. Moore said, “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”
Moore, who holds extremist views, believes that God’s law is the moral law of the land and should be honored above the Constitution. Moore was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court, once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a state judicial building and again for violating the state’s judicial ethics codes when he ordered probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples.
Also present in photos were vocal Moore supporters and financial backers Peroutka, his wife, Natalie Peroutka, and U.S. Rep. Andy Harris. The Peroutkas donated $2,500 each to Moore’s primary and an additional $2,000 and $2,500, respectively, to his run-off election against Doug Jones. Michael Peroutka was on stage with Moore when Moore won the primary against Sen. Luther Strange, R. Peroutka renewed his support of Moore in November by signing a re-released letter with 50 pastors after the sexual allegations were made.
Neither Peroutka nor Harris has responded to questions for this article or their support for Moore.
Brenda Wintrode is a freelance reporter for The Arundel Patriot.
Editor’s Note: The Arundel Patriot used the photographs in this article under the fair use doctrine without intention to profit from their use or infringe on copyright. Read Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities for further information.
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