By Carlotta Grandstaff
Pro-gay rights and pro-abortion activists are behind the criminal case against Pastor Harris Himes. So said Himes himself, not to a jury but to Missoula’s Talk Back radio program two years ago.
The prosecution played the entire interview with KGVO radio’s Peter Christian before the jury on day three of the state’s criminal trial against Himes.
The jury got an earful from the interview, which lasted less than five minutes but revealed more about Himes’s theory of the state’s case against him than he has revealed before the jury in the previous two days.
The case against him – six felony charges of theft and securities fraud – is a set-up, Himes told KGVO, and is directed by state auditor and securities and insurance commissioner Monica Lindeen, whose office is prosecuting the case against Himes and his co-defendant and co-pastor James Bryant.
“I’ve lobbied her many times,” Himes to KGVO. She’s “very strongly on the other side,” clarifying the “other side” to mean that Lindeen is pro-gay rights and pro-abortion.
In the same interview, Himes was asked whether he still believed that children in public schools were destined to go to hell. He had answered “yes” to that question in a different interview broadcast on KGVO days earlier. He clarified that public schools “jeopardize the salvation of a child.”
Himes did manage to raise a little light laughter in the courtroom when the KGVO radio interviewer asked him whether he had cleared the radio interview with his lawyer. Himes said he was still interviewing attorneys and didn’t have one yet. “I’m wise enough not to represent myself,” he said. The jurors chuckled, as did Himes, who is, in fact, representing himself.
As for the criminal charges against him, Himes told KGVO that the case was so weak that his alleged victim could not bring charges, therefore the state had to get involved – with the backing of unnamed gay rights activists.
“I am not without sin or guilt in this. And neither is my friend Jeb Bryant.”
Bryant faces the same felony charges for allegedly bilking a parishioner out of $150,000. The parishioner, Geoffrey Serata, testified Tuesday that several months after he invested the money into Duratherm Building Systems, a company ostensibly run by Himes and Bryant, did he learn that the manufacturing factory was nothing more than an empty shell of a building 1,000 miles south of the Texas border in Mexico.
An arrest warrant was issued two years ago for Bryant, who was apparently in Mexico until Wednesday when he flew into Houston. Several days ago the arrest warrant was quashed by court order for four days – Sept. 18 to 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Sept. 22 – exempting him from arrest because he has been subpoenaed to testify in this trial. He was detained briefly in Houston until authorities learned that the arrest warrant had been quashed.
Bryant is expected in Hamilton on Thursday.