Ben G. McKenzie, Assistant Attorney General of Tennessee and dean of the local Bar, played a lead role for the prosecution.
Although professing "love at first sight" for Darrow, McKenzie did not spare the defense attorneys criticism. At a rally during the trial, McKenzie exclaimed, "As for the Northern lawyers, who had come down to teach the 'ignorant yokels' what to believe, they had better go back to their homes, the seat of thugs, thieves, and Haymarket rioters, and educate their criminals rather than to try and proselyte here in the South, where people believe in the Christian religion, and know that Genesis tells the full and complete story of creation."
McKenzie was a master of overstatement. He argued that it was "better to kill all children under two years of age than to have teachers who will wreck the lives of children with atheist theories which will put them on the toboggan slide which leads to hell." Despite his sometimes heated rhetoric, reporters described McKenzie as the official jester of the trial.
Two weeks after the trial, McKenzie was writing letters praising Darrow's work. When McKenzie was arrested near Dayton for illegally transporting liquor, Darrow asked if he needed counsel. The offer was refused.