Jay Sekulow

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Jay Sekulow
Jay Sekulow Speaking at CPAC 2012 (6854519337) (cropped).jpg
Sekulow at CPAC 2012
Jay Alan Sekulow

(1956-06-10) June 10, 1956 (age 66)
EducationMercer University (BA, JD)
Regent University (PhD)
OccupationCivil attorney of the American Center for Law & Justice
Years active1978–present
Pamela McPherson
(m. 1978)
Children2, including Jordan

Jay Alan Sekulow (/ˈsɛkjəˌl/; born June 10, 1956) is an American lawyer, radio, television talk show host and politically conservative media personality.[1] He has been chief counsel of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) since 1991.[2] As a member of President Donald Trump's legal team, he served as lead outside counsel for Trump's first impeachment trial in the United States Senate.[1][3]

Sekulow built a legal and media business over a thirty-year period by representing conservative, religious, and anti-abortion groups. He hosts a syndicated radio show and is a frequent guest commentator on the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Fox News Channel television networks.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Jay Alan Sekulow was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Natalie (née Wortman) and Stanley Sekulow.[4][5][6]

Sekulow was raised on Long Island, in the town of Jericho.[7] He came from a Jewish family, attended Hebrew School, and had a bar mitzvah.[7][8] While in high school Sekulow and his family moved to Atlanta, where he graduated from Lakeside High School, then earned a B.A. in 1977 and a J.D. from Mercer University in 1980.[9] While attending Atlanta Baptist College (now the Atlanta campus of Mercer University), Sekulow became interested in Christianity and converted to Messianic Judaism after encountering Jews for Jesus.[7][10] Sekulow earned a Ph.D. from Regent University in 2004, writing his dissertation on religious influence on Supreme Court Justices and their opinions.

Career and business ownership[edit]

After graduating from law school, Sekulow worked at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)[11] as a prosecutor with the tax litigation division[10] for "about 18 months."[12]

In 1982,[12] he opened a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, with former Mercer classmate Stuart J. Roth[12] which soon evolved into a business buying, renovating, and selling historic properties as a tax shelter for wealthy investors.[10][11][13] IRS regulations changed in the mid-eighties, and the firm collapsed when investors sued the owners for fraud and securities violations.[10][11][13] Sekulow and Roth filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in 1987,[14] with Sekulow listing $13 million in liabilities and $638,000 in assets,[10] and leaving "a trail of angry investors and employees."[13]

In 1987 Sekulow became general counsel for Jews for Jesus.[15] In 1988 he founded the nonprofit group Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE)[15][16] whose president he is and whose board members are him, his wife, and their two sons.[17][18]

In 1992, Sekulow became the director of the ACLJ, where he was chief counsel and principal officer in 2018.[19] In the early 1990s he also joined the faculty at Regent University Law School.[7][20]

Sekulow is half-owner of the for-profit professional corporation Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, P.C., incorporated in 2003, whose governor and executive officer is Roth.[18][21][11] From 2011 to 2016, the ACLJ paid the group $23 million, "its largest outside expense."[18]

Sekulow owns Regency Productions, the company that produces his radio show and was paid $11.3 million by the two charities for production services between 2000 and 2017.[17]

Sekulow hosts Jay Sekulow Live!, a syndicated daily radio program broadcast on terrestrial radio, and XM and Sirius satellite radios. This live call-in program focuses on legal and legislative topics.[22] Sekulow is the host of ACLJ This Week, a weekly television news program broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network[23] and Daystar.

Counsel to President Trump[edit]

Beginning in 2017, Sekulow served as a personal attorney to President Donald Trump during the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and investigations by Congressional committees into links between Trump associates and Russian officials.[1][2][3]

Sekulow also served as lead outside counsel for Trump during his impeachment proceedings in 2019 and 2020.[1] He made several allegedly false statements on the Senate floor during the first Trump impeachment trial. [24][25][26][27]

Sekulow also represented Trump confidant and Fox News host Sean Hannity during the investigation by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.[28]

Charity finances[edit]

In November 2005, Legal Times published an article which alleged that Sekulow "through the ACLJ and a string of interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, has built a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle—complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia." In the article, former donors and supporters claimed that Sekulow engaged in a pattern of self-dealing to finance his "high-flying lifestyle." According to a ranking by the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity watchdog group, Sekulow was the 13th highest paid executive of a charitable organization in the United States.[8]

ACLJ's and CASE's tax returns show that between 1998 and 2011 they paid more than $33 million to Sekulow, members of his family, and businesses owned or co-owned by them;[29] from 2011 to 2015, the two charities paid $5.5 million to Sekulow and members of his family, and $23 million to their businesses.[18] Since 2011, donations to ACLJ are routed through Sekulow's family-run CASE,[18][30] and many "transactions that benefit members of the Sekulow family are disclosed on the CASE returns, but not the ACLJ's."[29][30] Between 2011 and 2015, the ACLJ, the "public face of the two nonprofits," collected nearly $230 million in charitable donations.[18]

On June 27 and 28, 2017, The Guardian reported that documents obtained by them confirmed later that "millions in donations" were steered to his family members,[31] that Sekulow "approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses",[31] and that attorneys general in New York and North Carolina opened investigations of Sekulow's CASE for possibly using pressure tactics in telemarketer calls to raise money which was allegedly misdirected to Sekulow and his family.[32]

News and politics[edit]

Sekulow is thought by some in Washington to have been one of the "Four Horsemen" who "engineered" the nomination of Chief Justice John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court.[33] In 2007, Sekulow endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.[33][34] He has opposed the building of Park51, an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan two blocks from the World Trade Center.[35][36][37]

On February 27, 2019 Michael Cohen reported in testimony before Congress that Jay Sekulow and other members of Trump's legal team made “several” changes to his false statement to the House Intelligence Committee, including a change to the “length of time that the Trump Tower project stayed and remained alive.” Sekulow disputed the testimony "Today’s testimony by Michael Cohen that attorneys for the president edited or changed his statement to Congress to alter the duration of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations is completely false".[38] The Intelligence Committee announced on May 14, 2019, that it would investigate whether Sekulow “reviewed, shaped and edited” Michael Cohen's false testimony to Congress.[39] The Washington Post reported on May 20, 2019, that Cohen testified in closed session before the Intelligence Committee that Sekulow instructed him to falsely testify that the Trump Tower Moscow discussions ended in January 2016.[40] The Senate Intelligence Committee's August 2020 final report on 2016 election interference noted that after his indictment, Cohen discussed a presidential pardon with Sekulow more than six times, and that "he understood that the pardon discussions had come from Trump through Sekulow."[41]

The New York Times reported in December 2019 that people close to Sekulow said he told them he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.[11] In 2020, January, he was named as part of the counsel team that represented Donald Trump in the impeachment case in the Senate.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Sekulow and Pamela McPherson married in 1978 and have two adult sons, Jordan and Logan.[43][44] Jordan Sekulow is an attorney with the ACLJ and Director of International Operations. He also co-hosts the radio and television programming with his father. Logan briefly starred in the Nickelodeon series U-Pick Live in 2005.[45]

Sekulow is a Messianic Jew and a convert to Christianity.[46] Sekulow's youngest brother Scott was the founder and Rabbi of the Messianic Jewish Congregation Beth Adonai in Atlanta, Georgia,[47] until his death in August 2021 of Covid-19.[48][49][50]

Sekulow is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Supreme Court Historical Society in Washington, D.C.[citation needed] He plays drums and guitar in the "Jay Sekulow Band", which includes John Elefante, a former member of the band Kansas, and John W. Schlitt, a former member of Head East and Petra, among its members.[51][52][53]

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

  • Legal Times profiled him as one of the "90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 years".[56]


  • 1990: From Intimidation to Victory, Creation House
  • 1993: Knowing Your Rights: Taking Back Our Religious Liberties
  • 1996: And Nothing But the Truth
  • 1997: Christian Rights in the Workplace, The American Center for Law and Justice
  • 2000: The Christian, The Court, and The Constitution, The American Center for Law and Justice
  • 2005: Witnessing Their Faith: Religious Influence on Supreme Court Justices and Their Opinions, Rowman & Littlefield
  • 2014: Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can't Ignore (with Jordan Sekulow, Robert W. Ash, and David A. French), Howard Books
  • 2015: Undemocratic: How Unelected, Unaccountable Bureaucrats Are Stealing Your Liberty and Freedom, Howard Books
  • 2016: Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia, and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World
  • 2018: Jerusalem: A Biblical and Historical Case for the Jewish Capital

Cases before the Supreme Court[edit]

Sekulow has argued in front of the United States Supreme Court 12 times, specializing in issues of the First Amendment.[57] Sekulow most recently argued before the Supreme Court on November 12, 2008 in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, case No.07-665. Sekulow represented the city in this case concerning government control over monuments and memorials in government-owned public places, which ended the following February with the Court ruling in the city's favor. On March 2, 2009, the Supreme Court issued a summary disposition in the companion case of Summum v. Duchesne City. The Court vacated the Tenth Circuit opinion and remanding the case for an opinion consistent with Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460 (2009).

Sekulow has submitted several amicus briefs in support of conservative issues. He has submitted amicus briefs in landmark cases such as Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Rasul v. Bush, Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, and Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation. His amicus briefs for Van Orden v. Perry and Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC were cited by Justices John Paul Stevens and John Roberts respectively.[58][59] Sekulow was counsel to Robert and Mary Schindler during the controversy surrounding their daughter, Terri Schiavo. Sekulow's amicus brief in Morse v. Frederick was in support of the ACLU's position; he argued that schools banning "offensive" speech would also be able to prohibit religious speech with which the administrators disagree.

List of Supreme Court cases[edit]

Case: Date: Argument: Result:
Board of Airport Commissioners v. Jews for Jesus[60] 1987 Arguing on behalf of Jews for Jesus, Sekulow argued that LAX's policy banning all "First Amendment activities" violated the organization's right to free speech. Judgment for Jews for Jesus.
Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens[61] 1990 Sekulow argued on behalf of students who were denied their request to form a Bible and prayer club at their school. Judgment for the Students.
U.S. v. Kokinda[57] 1990 Sekulow argued on behalf of two volunteers of the National Democratic Policy Committee who were arrested after refusing to leave the sidewalk near a post office. Judgment for the United States
Lee v. ISKCON[62] 1992 Sekulow was co-counsel, arguing on behalf of ISKCON against a regulation that prohibited distribution of literature in airport terminals. Judgment for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic 1993 Sekulow argued on behalf of United States anti-abortion activists who were originally found as violating a statute by conducting demonstrations at abortion clinics. Judgment for the Activists.
Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District[63] 1993 In another case involving use of school property, Sekulow represented Lamb's Chapel, and their right to show religious-oriented films in a school after-hours. Judgment for Lamb's Chapel.
Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York 1997 Sekulow argued on behalf of Schenck, challenging a District court ruling that provided for speech-free floating "bubble zones" surrounding abortion clinics. Judgment for Schenck.
Hill v. Colorado 2000 This case revolved around protesters' rights to distribute literature in front of abortion clinics and a statute that barred them from approaching a non-consenting person. Sekulow, representing the protesters, argued that Colorado's "eight-foot rule" was unconstitutional. Judgment for Colorado.
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe 2000 Sekulow, representing the school district, argued that prayer, initiated and led by students at football games, did not violate the Establishment Clause. Judgment for Doe.
McConnell v. FEC 2003 In a highly publicized case, Sekulow, on behalf of a group of students including Emily Echols, argued that a portion of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 violated the First Amendment and was thus unconstitutional. Judgment for Echols, et al.
Locke v. Davey 2003 Sekulow, representing student Joshua Davey, argued that a statute excluding theology students from publicly funded scholarships was unconstitutional. Judgment for Locke.
Pleasant Grove City v. Summum[64] 2008 Sekulow, representing the city of Pleasant Grove, challenged a Tenth circuit opinion allowing Summum to erect a monument alongside a Ten Commandments monument donated to the city by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Judgment for Pleasant Grove City.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Williamson, Elizabeth (2020-01-17). "In Jay Sekulow, Trump Taps Longtime Loyalist for Impeachment Defense". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  2. ^ a b c Hawkins, Derek (19 June 2017). "Jay Sekulow, Trump's unlikely lawyer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Trump hires another high-profile lawyer as special counsel probe heats up, Politico, Josh Dawsey, June 16, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Susan-M-Klau-NJ - User Trees - Genealogy.com".
  5. ^ "Crowd Control in Judge Battle, Mr. Sekulow Plays A Delicate Role". The Wall Street Journal. May 17, 2005. pp. A1. Archived from the original on May 17, 2005. Alt URL
  6. ^ Obituary for Stanley Sekulow (June 12, 1934 – January 6, 2017)
  7. ^ a b c d Fisher, Marc (October 21, 1997). "Unlikely Crusaders: Jay Sekulow, 'Messianic Jew' of the Christian Right". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  8. ^ "Notable Alumni". Mercer University. 7 February 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e Pinsky, Mark (2 September 1993). "Legal Weapon : Jay Alan Sekulow is the Christian Right's leading lion in the judicial arena. Those he opposes say he's a zealot, an opportunist--and a formidable foe". Los Angeles Times. p. 3. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e Williamson, Elizabeth (December 1, 2019). "Trump's Other Personal Lawyer: Close to the Right, but Far From Giuliani". The New York Times. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Sekulow, Jay (February 1, 2019). "My Big Day at the Supreme Court". Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Mauro, Tony (November 1, 2005). "The Secrets of Jay Sekulow". The Rutherford Institute. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Biesecker, Michael (January 31, 2020). "Charities steered $65M to Trump lawyer Sekulow and family". Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Savage, Charlie (June 19, 2017). "For Jay Sekulow, New Trump Lawyer, Public Stumble Is Out of Character". The New York Times. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  15. ^ "Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism Inc". ProPublica. 9 May 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Swaine, Jon (June 27, 2017). "Trump lawyer's firm steered millions in donations to family members, files show". The Guardian. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Davis, Aaron C.; Boburg, Shawn (June 27, 2017). "Trump attorney Jay Sekulow's family has been paid millions from charities they control". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "Jay Sekulow, ACLJ Chief Counsel Biography". American Center for Law and Justice. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  19. ^ Scimone, Diana (2016). "Jay Sekulow: Religious Freedom Finds a True Friend". Charisma Magazine. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  20. ^ "Events for Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group P.C." OpenCorporates. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  21. ^ "Prison Fellowship Founder Chuck Colson Special Guest on National Radio Show "Jay Sekulow Live!"". WDC Media News. August 22, 2006. Archived from the original on November 11, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  22. ^ "Our Programs: ACLJ This Week". Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  23. ^ Rupar, Aaron (January 21, 2020). "Trump's lawyers began the impeachment trial with a blizzard of lies". Vox.
  24. ^ Dale, Daniel (22 January 2020). "Trump lawyers make at least three false claims during impeachment arguments". CNN.
  25. ^ Kiely, Eugene; Robertson, Lori; Gore, D'Angelo (January 22, 2020). "False and Misleading Claims at Impeachment Trial".
  26. ^ "AP FACT CHECK: Trump defense wrong about FBI investigation". AP NEWS. January 28, 2020.
  27. ^ Ryan Nobles; Annie Grayer; Paula Reid; Angelica Grimaldi; Alex Rogers (January 4, 2022). "January 6 committee seeks cooperation from Fox News' Hannity and releases texts between host and White House". CNN.
  28. ^ a b Smietana, Bob (September 5, 2012). "Tenn. lawyer's family, firm collect millions from charities". The Tennessean via. USA Today. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  29. ^ a b "Donor Alert: 'ACLJ' Is Two Charities Dominated by One Family". CharityWatch. July 19, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ a b Swaine, Jon (27 June 2017). "Trump lawyer's firm steered millions in donations to family members, files show". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  31. ^ Swaine, Jon (28 June 2017). "Authorities to investigate Jay Sekulow nonprofit after 'troubling' revelations". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  32. ^ a b Bazelon, Emily (2007-11-26) On the Advice of Counsel, Slate.com
  33. ^ Zoll, Rachael (May 4, 2007). "Romney travels to Pat Robertson's school". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
  34. ^ "Petition filed to nix NY Islamic center". The Jerusalem Post - JPost.com.
  35. ^ "The Maddow Blog - ACLJ finds on/Off switch for 1st Amendment". Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  36. ^ "Jay Sekulow: Landmark Church to be Rebuilt at Ground Zero". Faith & Justice. 18 October 2011.
  37. ^ "'Completely false': Trump attorney Jay Sekulow disputes point in Cohen testimony". NBC News. 27 February 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  38. ^ Andrew Desiderio. "House Intel probing Trump attorneys for possible obstruction". POLITICO. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  39. ^ Hamburger, Tom; Nakashima, Ellen; Demirjian, Karoun (May 21, 2019). "Cohen told lawmakers Trump attorney Jay Sekulow encouraged him to falsely claim Moscow project ended in January 2016". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  40. ^ Mazzetti, Mark (August 18, 2020). "G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Details Ties Between 2016 Trump Campaign and Russia". The New York Times.
  41. ^ O'Reilly, Andrew (2020-01-14). "Trump's impeachment trial team: Who are the lawyers defending the president?". Fox News. Retrieved 2020-01-15.
  42. ^ Pinsky, Mark I. (September 2, 1993). "Legal Weapon : Jay Alan Sekulow is the Christian Right's leading lion in the judicial arena. Those he opposes say he's a zealot, an opportunist--and a formidable foe". Los Angeles Times.
  43. ^ "Anna Handzlik, Jordan Sekulow - Weddings". The New York Times. October 23, 2011.
  44. ^ "Jay Sekulow Fighting for Your Freedoms". DFW Christian Family. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  45. ^ "Exclusive: Trump impeachment lawyer Jay Sekulow says 'I've never felt not Jewish'". The Forward. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  46. ^ "Beth Adonai Leadership". Archived from the original on November 15, 2012.
  47. ^ Tom M. Wages Funeral Service. Memorial for Scott L. Sekulow. Legacy.com
  48. ^ Obituary for Stanley Sekulow shows family members
  49. ^ "Williams L. Scott Sekulow Obituary Atlanta, GA – Death, Rabbi Scott Sekulow Has Died. August 16, 2021". Archived from the original on November 6, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  50. ^ Suebsaeng, Asawin; Swan, Betsy (June 19, 2017). "Trump's Lawyer Jay Sekulow Has A Band. It's Terrible". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  51. ^ Moore, Sam (June 20, 2017). "Donald Trump's lawyer is in a band with the ex-singer of Kansas". NME. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  52. ^ "John W Schlitt Biography~Testimony".
  53. ^ "1994 Power List". National Law Journal. Vol. 16, no. 31. April 4, 1994.
  54. ^ "The Public Sector 45". The American Lawyer. January–February 1997. p. 81.
  55. ^ "90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years". Legal Times. Vol. 31, no. 20. May 19, 2008.
  56. ^ a b "United States v. Kokinda, 497 U.S. 720 (1990)". Oyez.org. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  57. ^ Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 (2005).
  58. ^ Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC, 546 U.S. 410 (2006).
  59. ^ "Board of Airport Commissioners v. Jews for Jesus, 482 U.S. 569 (1987)". Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  60. ^ "Board of Education of Westside Schools v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990)". Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  61. ^ "Lee v. Int. Society for Krishna Consciousness, 505 U.S. 831 (1992)". Oyez.org. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  62. ^ "Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches School District, 508 U.S. 284 (1993)". Oyez.org. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  63. ^ Koons, Jennifer (April 8, 2008). "On the Docket: Pleasant Grove City, Utah v. Summum". Northwestern University. Archived from the original on May 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-29.

External links[edit]