Leo Terrell
EducationCalifornia State University, Dominguez Hills (BA)
Pepperdine University (MA)
University of California, Los Angeles (JD)
  • Civil rights attorney
  • Radio host
  • political contributor
Years active1996–present
Political partyRepublican (2020–present)
Other political
Democratic (1996–2020)

Leo Terrell is an American civil rights attorney and talk radio host based in Los Angeles, California. He has frequently appeared on Fox News programs, such as Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor. Previously a Democrat, in a July 2020 interview, he declared his support for President Donald Trump—the first time he declared support for a Republican Party presidential candidate.[1] Referring to his new self as "Leo 2.0", Terrell says that he is a happier person as a Republican.[2]


Terrell graduated from Gardena High School in Harbor Gateway, Los Angeles, in 1972[3] and California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts[4] Terrell taught high school history, geography and economics at Gage Middle School in Huntington Park, California. He holds a master's degree in education from Pepperdine University and earned a Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law.[5]

Radio career

With former Los Angeles Superior Court judge Burton Katz, Terrell co-hosted the weekday talk show Terrell & Katz that debuted on June 3, 1996, on KMPC radio in Los Angeles. Terrell & Katz was a point-counterpoint program with Terrell as the liberal voice and Katz the conservative.[6][7] Starting October 5, 1996, Terrell and Katz moved to weekends on KABC.[8] Terrell continued to host a weekend legal show on KABC until August 15, 2010, and continues to be a recurring guest host for KABC's The Peter Tilden Show.[9] As of July 2021, Leo has returned to KABC with a new daily afternoon drive show called Leo 2.0 Live @ 5.[10]

As of June 3, 2023, Leo Terrell is no longer employed @ KABC AM 790 talk radio station per business website and Leo Terrell’s personal Twitter account (last day employed: 6/02/23).

Legal career

On December 4, 1990, Terrell became a member of the State Bar of California.[11]

He was the Chairman of the Black-Korean Alliance, an Advisory Board Member for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and a member of the Statewide Commission Against Hate Crimes.[5] Terrell wrote the book Your Rights at the Workplace--The Things Your Boss Won't Tell You in 1998.[12]

Terrell became a member of the NAACP in 1990 and did pro bono legal work for the organization. After Terrell expressed support for Carolyn Kuhl, a Los Angeles County judge nominated by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit whose nomination was filibustered in the U.S. Senate, he left the NAACP and accused the organization of "bullying" him out. NAACP Washington, D.C. office director Hilary O. Shelton responded: "He’s not an NAACP lawyer, not even a former NAACP lawyer. He’s done volunteer work for us, which we appreciate. But when he takes a position that is diametrically opposite from our position, he’s not speaking for us."[13]

Terrell has provided legal and political commentary on TV and radio programs such as Nightline, Larry King Live, Hannity & Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor, Today, Good Morning America, and various radio programs.[5] A family friend of O. J. Simpson, Terrell provided expert legal commentary about Simpson's civil trial.[14][15]

In 2003, Terrell ran for the seat of District 10 on the Los Angeles City Council and came in fifth place among seven candidates.[16]

Notable cases

In 1995, Terrell represented Kumasi Simmons, a former football player from Centennial High School in Compton expelled for hitting a referee. Simmons accused the referee of using racial epithets.[17][18] Terrell accused the Beverly Hills Police Department of intimidating witnesses who could back up Simmons's claim.[19]

In 1999, Terrell called on the Los Angeles police commission to hear witnesses who claimed that a homeless woman, Margaret Laverne Mitchell, was running when police officers shot her.[20]

In 2012, Terrell called for an investigation of misconduct by trainees of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.[21]


  1. ^ "Leo Terrell: The Democratic Party left me". Fox News. 17 July 2020. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "KABC host Leo Terrell takes on new role with Fox News Media – Daily News". Los Angeles Daily News. 16 February 2021.
  3. ^ "BOYS' LEAGUE PRESENTS 6TH ANNUAL CAR SHOW - BOY POWER ... 400 STRONG". 72GHS.com. Archived from the original on April 11, 2015. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  4. ^ "Distinguished Alumni". CSU Dominguez Hills. Archived from the original on August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Leo James Terrell - Bio". TalkRadio 790 KABC-AM. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  6. ^ "TV/radio". The Los Angeles Times. June 3, 1996. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  7. ^ Jones, Robert A. (September 25, 1996). "The CIA, Drugs and the Divide" (PDF). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  8. ^ "Television/radio". Los Angeles Times. October 1, 1996. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "Leo Terrell podcast". KABC-AM. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  10. ^ "On-Air". KABC-AM. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  11. ^ "State Bar of California Attorney Profile: Leo James Terrell". State Bar of California. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  12. ^ "Working rights". Black Enterprise. December 1, 1998. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  13. ^ Hurt, Charles (August 7, 2003). "Civil rights lawyer quits NAACP in rift over judge pick". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on December 19, 2005.
  14. ^ "Can O.J. Simpson win again?", Jet, vol. 89, no. 15, Johnson Publishing Company, p. 55, February 26, 1996
  15. ^ Price, Richard; Holland, Gale (February 11, 1997). "Among O.J.'s options: Evasion". USA Today. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  16. ^ "City of Los Angeles, Party Nominating & Consolidated Election, Official election results, March 4, 2003" (PDF). City of Los Angeles. March 17, 2003. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  17. ^ Hodges, Jim (November 1, 1995). "Simmons 'Terminated' From School District". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  18. ^ Shepard, Eric (December 7, 1995). "'Whitewash' Charge in CIF Probe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  19. ^ "Lawyer Claims Police Tried To Bully High-School Player". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. November 4, 1995. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  20. ^ Browne, Phillip W. (December 8, 1999). "Doubt cast on report of shooting suspect". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  21. ^ Moore, Corey (January 10, 2012). "Civil rights attorney calls on LA County authorities to investigate officer misconduct". KPCC. Retrieved August 8, 2012.