Roy Moore, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama’s upcoming special election denied an article in the Washington Post accusing him of sexual misconduct, calling the accusations “fake news.” “Why now?” he said. (Nov. 11)
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore on Saturday questioned the timing and motives of a story where four women said he pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
“To think grown women would wait 40 years before a general election to bring charges is unbelievable,” the former Alabama chief justice said at a public library in Vestavia, in his first appearance since the Washington Post published its story on Thursday.
Paula Cobia, an attorney for one of the accusers, said in an email Moore “knows full well” why the women are speaking now.
“As young teenage girls in the late 1970s in a small, rural southern town, they had no way of knowing their rights, especially against him considering that he was a district attorney at the time,” she wrote.
The article has led national Republicans to step away from prior endorsements of Moore and, according to one report, discussion of trying to move the election. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Saturday they had no plans to do so.
In the Post account, the four women — who spoke on the record and had their stories corroborated by other sources — said Moore took them on dates while working as an assistant district attorney from 1977 to 1982.
GOP officials from Alabama have been giving strange responses to questions about the allegations that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Alabama senator, had sexual encounters with underage girls years ago. Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale contacted many GOP officials from the state. many have denied the claims. Alabama Marion County GOP chair David Hall reportedly stated, “It was 40 years ago.” He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.” Bibb County Republican chairman Jerry Pow’s response was, “I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for [Democratic nominee Doug Jones]. I’m not saying I support what he did.”
One woman, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 when Moore, then 32, took her to his home in 1979, undressed her and, according to the report, “touched her over her bra and underpants … and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.” The age of consent in Alabama, both then and now, is 16. Another woman, Gloria Deason, said she was 18 when Moore took her on a date and bought her wine.
Moore and his campaign have called the story false and said Saturday morning he had “not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone” or bought alcohol for underage women. Both Moore and some Republicans have questioned the timing of the story. The former chief justice repeated that Saturday, alluding to his refusal to obey higher court decisions and rulings that twice got him removed as chief justice.
“Isn’t it strange after 40 years of constant investigation, that people have waited four weeks before a general election to bring their complaint?” he said. “That’s not a coincidence.”
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Moore told conservative talk show host Sean Hannity on Friday that he did not know Corfman. He did say he knew two other women named in the story, and said dating teenagers was “not my customary behavior” at the time.
“I’m not going to dispute anything, but I don’t remember anything like that,” he said. “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
The women or their families have stood by the Post account. Cobia, who represents Deason, suggested that Moore’s career as a judge may have encouraged them to remain silent until now.
“As he gained more power within the Alabama judiciary, they likely feared that he would publicly persecute them, precisely as he has done this week,” she wrote.
Cobia added that the women spoke out because the Post “showed up at their doors and asked them to tell what he did to them.” She also demanded Moore “immediately retract his defamatory statements.”
Moore faces Democratic nominee Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 general election. The Jones campaign Saturday referred to a statement they released on Thursday, when Jones said Moore “must answer these serious charges.”
Moore blasted the Washington Post in his comments, noting the newspaper’s endorsement of Jones in the general election and previous articles that raised questions about how his nonprofit was paying him. Moore accused the newspaper of a “desperate attempt” to stop his campaign.
Moore also said there were “investigations” taking place and that there would be “revelations about motivations” regarding the article. Asked by ABC 33/40 in Birmingham if he had any comment on Corfman’s allegations Saturday, Moore said “not now.”
While Moore has received support from some state Republican officials and county chairs, the Alabama Republican Party had not released any official statement on the allegations through late Saturday morning.
National Republicans began distancing themselves from Moore on Friday. The National Republican Senate Committee withdrew a fundraising agreement with Moore, and two Republican senators who previously endorsed Moore — Mike Lee of Utah and Steve Daines of Montana — withdrew their support.
The New York Times reported Friday that national Republicans were considering asking the governor to delay the Dec. 12 election to allow the party to get Moore out of the race. The report said Ivey was not dismissing the possibility but wanted “reassurances of support” from the White House that they would back her in such a move.
Ivey’s office said Saturday the election was still set for Dec. 12.
“The governor is not considering and has no plans to move the special election for U.S. Senate,” Josh Prendergrass, a spokesman for Ivey, said in a statement.
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