Here's Johnny

Reformed and reborn, the man now pushes the word of God, not drugs. So why does it still feel like the Johnny Binder Show?

Q: Did Johnny Binder help set up this deal?

A: No.

Q: When was the last time you talked to Johnny Binder?

Binder (left) at a party circa 1985: Do a little dance, sell a little dope, get down tonight.
John Childs
Binder (left) at a party circa 1985: Do a little dance, sell a little dope, get down tonight.

A: Yesterday.

Q: Really. When?

A: He called me last night.

Q: Did he know you testified yesterday?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you talk about the trial a little bit?

A: Not really. Not into depth or anything.

Q: So Johnny Binder's monitoring the progress of this trial, isn't he?

A: No, he isn't.

Q: He just happens to go calling you the night you testify?

A: He calls me almost every day. He called me last night because he had heard.

Q: I didn't ask you that. So you will be talking to Johnny tonight, I guess?

A: I don't know.

Q: Please give him my regards when you do, okay.

Binder certainly has little regard for Schaffer, however. When asked about the courtroom debate, Binder vehemently denied working as an informant on the McCarter case, or any other case for that matter.

"Hell no!" says Binder. "Double hell no. I ain't no snitch. Hell no. I would never snitch. I did ten years."

Binder also says he is considering filing a slander suit against Randy Schaffer and his "low-down Jewish ass."

Schaffer responded by saying only, "That's not a very Christian attitude for a self-proclaimed man of God."

On a recent Wednesday evening, members of the Christian Rescue Mission Baptist Church in the Third Ward gather for their mid-week services. In a meeting hall adjacent to the church itself, Johnny Binder -- looking like a million bucks plus change in a dark, pin-striped suit -- stands before a dozen or so black teenage males. Battling to be heard above the church choir rehearsing in the next room, Binder starts strong and works himself to a fever pitch that frightens some of the boys, and amuses others.

"Talk to me black man!" shouts Binder. "I want to teach you how to be the master instead of being mastered! We're hollering 'Jesus,' but we're acting like niggers. You're not cool, you're a fool. How do I know? Because I was one."

Binder proceeds to deliver his sermon on AIDS awareness to the youngsters. Later, in the church, he is greeted like a returning war hero, someone who has seen the worst and has come home to tell about it -- and how to avoid it. He also manages to get a plug in for his foundation, and how he wants every member of every congregation in the city to contribute a dollar to help him save the children.

It's all good for Binder right now. And he'll keep rolling until his money or his charm runs out. Today, like any celebrity, he likes the attention. Like a Hollywood star with a high-powered PR agent, he also likes to control the public images. The underlying message is clear: Pay attention to me and my causes, but just don't look too closely.

E-mail Steve McVicker at

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Johnny Binder is an uncover informant, and he is a conning crook.

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