Roger Sollenberger got his very first scoop about Herschel Walker by mishap. “Simply googling, truly,” the Daily Monster press reporter informed me. It was June and he was looking for his next story. “I didn’t understand that I was searching for a kid. I was simply following some other track,” he stated, when he came across some “dirty old websites” that would lead him to his sources (and ultimately, the discovery of a boy Walker hadn’t openly acknowledged). “I don’t understand precisely if you might reverse engineer that,” stated Sollenberger. “It’s simply interest.” And Walker, in Sollenberger’s viewpoint, “is among the most interesting figures in American public life in the 40 years that I’ve lived.”
I captured Sollenberger on Thursday early morning simply after he finished up an MSNBC hit. It’s been “a quite insane week,” acknowledged the Austin-based investigative press reporter, a relative beginner to journalism who has actually broken a number of Walker stories in the previous couple of months—none larger than Monday’s bombshell. Walker, the previous football star turned Georgia GOP Senate prospect, had actually “prompted” a lady he fertilized to get an abortion in 2009 and sent her cash as repayment for the treatment, Sollenberger reported, declares that the lady supported with an invoice from the center, an image of a signed $700 check from Walker, and a “recover” card with what seems Walker’s signature. (Walker, who is staunchly versus abortion rights, and supports a proposed federal restriction, has actually unconditionally rejected the claims and threatened legal action.)
Sollenberger has actually emerged this midterms election cycle as a not likely scoop-machine, breaking huge news on Walker’s carefully viewed race versus Democrat Raphael Warnock, a contest that might tip the Senate. An artist and previous college English instructor, Sollenberger got an MFA in fiction—“the foolish joke would be that prepares me effectively for composing the news,” he keeps in mind—and explains his course to journalism with a comparable fortuitousness as he did the very first Walker scoop. “I simply sort of fell under reporting, truthfully,” he informed me, including he’s “constantly had a thing for politics” and “federal government service has actually been huge in my household.” He set out to end up being an investigative press reporter a couple years back and was doing it separately till Hair salon employed him in April 2020. He signed up with the Daily Monster as a political press reporter about a year later on.
A short rundown of Sollenberger’s stories about Walker: The very first huge one, in June, exposed that Walker had a secret kid who had actually “obviously been separated from his biological dad considering that his birth a years back,” info that the Daily Monster stated it verified through public posts, a court file calling Walker as the kid’s dad, and a source near the kid’s household. (Walker’s project declared Walker was not “concealing” the 10-year-old kid and is “pleased with his kids,” though the Daily Monster kept in mind that Walker had at that point just openly acknowledged the presence of one kid, 22-year-old Christian Walker.) The advancement appeared to contradict Walker’s public remarks about fathership and rebukes of absentee daddies in the Black neighborhood. A couple of days later on, Sollenberger reported Walker had 2 other concealed kids—a 13-year-old he’d fathered with a various lady, and an adult child whom he fathered in college. Walker verified that he had “3 boys and a child” in a declaration to the Daily Monster, in which he dismissed the concept he was concealing his kids. “I simply picked not to utilize them as props to win a political project,” he stated. In July, Sollenberger reported Walker had actually consistently lied to his own project about his kids, though he’d noted them on a kind he submitted in 2018 to be selected to then president Donald Trump’s Council on Sports, Physical Fitness, and Nutrition—a kind the project provided to the Daily Monster.
The Daily Monster reported Monday that when it went to Walker’s project for discuss the abortion accusations prior to publication, Robert Ingram, a legal representative representing both the project and Walker personally, stated, “This is an incorrect story. All you wish to do is kept up stories to target Black conservatives. You concentrate on Black conservatives.” Walker on Monday night stated he was going to “take legal action against the Daily Monster for this defamatory lie” and stated it would be “submitted tomorrow early morning.” (Since Thursday afternoon, Walker has yet to submit; Sollenberger decreased to comment beyond that “we guarantee our reporting 100%.”)
Politico reported Tuesday that Walker’s group was currently familiar with an abortion claims, which had actually months previously been “given the attention of those dealing with Walker’s behalf, in part as a way of dissuading him from running.” Leading GOP Georgia operatives supposedly cautioned Walker’s group that the story might overthrow the project if it went out. “Instead of relocate to proactively resolve the story, Walker’s group held their breath, hoping that the election would pass prior to it appeared,” according to Politico.
Sollenberger’s reporting is having an effect. “Herschel has actually fumbled as he will rating,” Jay Morgan, a popular regional Republican politician and previous Georgia GOP executive director, informed The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “And the clock is going out.” The press reporter hasn’t slow down either, dropping another unique Wednesday night associated to the supposed abortion. Sollenberger reported that the lady in concern was likewise the mom of among Walker’s kids. (Previously that day, while unconditionally rejecting the story throughout a Fox News look, Walker stated he had no concept who the unnamed lady might be.)
I asked Sollenberger what it’s resembled covering this unfolding political drama. “When you get a character like this, that is where my narrative background can be found in, right?” he informed me. “I see these stories and I see individuals in them, and I’m drawn to things that are strange and inconsistent. And Herschel Walker is among the weirdest, most inconsistent individuals I’ve ever encountered.” Our call ended quickly a couple of minutes later on, when Sollenberger stated he was getting a huge idea and needed to go.
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