Alabama’s Republican candidate for Senate Roy Moore has attempted to paint himself as the victim in the midst of mounting allegations of sexual misconduct and assault with teenagers while in his thirties.
At a press conference on Wednesday Moore’s attorney, Phillip L. Jauregui, tried to publicly discredit one of Moore’s victims. He called the ordeal “horrible” for Moore since the allegations are false.
Beverly Nelson was one of the first four women to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct. At a press conference she displayed a yearbook with a message from Moore and his signature.
The message said, “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House.”
Olde Hickory House is the name of the restaurant Nelson worked at when she was younger.
Jauregui said Nelson and her attorney forged the message.
“Look at the 1977 after ‘Merry Christmas,’ look at those two sevens, and then look below at the ’77,'” he said. “And I want to ask you, do you think it was written by the same person”
“Judge Moore says there is no way in the world that’s his handwriting,” Jauregui said.
Further, Jauregui stated, Nelson’s accusation falls apart because Moore would not sign his signature as “D.A.” According to Jauregui, because Moore was the assistant district attorney and not the district attorney, there is no possible way he ever would have written “D.A.” under his message. Rather, the initials belonged to Moore’s then assistant, Deborah Adams, who “would stamp his signature on documents and put capital D.A.”
“That’s exactly how the signature appears on the divorce decree that Judge Moore signed, dismissing the divorce action with Ms. Nelson,” Jauregui said, implying that Nelson and her attorney forged the message themselves.
“It’s not a big secret in this town about Roy Moore,” one resident said.
Jauregui during this time did not deny that any kind of encounter took place between Moore and Nelson. Rather, he called her a liar.
Jauregui called on Nelson and her attorney, Gloria Allred, to produce the yearbook and allow a handwriting expert to examine it.
Allred later released a statement, saying she and her client would produce the yearbook after the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and/or United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics agree to a hearing about the accusations against Moore thus far.
Jauregui also said Nelson lied when she said she never had contact with Moore after the incident because Moore presided over her divorce case in 1999.
“There was contact. Judge Moore signed an order,” he said.
Moments after the press conference ended, the sixth woman to accuse Moore came out. Since Jauregui’s performance, a total of four more women have come out against Moore, bringing the current total to nine.
Meanwhile, Moore took the same approach as his attorney when he penned an open letter to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, originally an outspoken ally of Moore. Hannity appeared to change gears when he gave Moore an ultimatum insisting the disgraced Senate candidate explain himself in “24 hours.”
“I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother,” Roy Moore on Sean Hannity’s radio show.
“You must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies,” he said on his show. “You must remove any doubt. If he can’t do this, then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.”
However, the time has passed and Hannity has yet to publicly reject Moore. In fact, he read the letter on his show Wednesday and suggested that it answered all of his questions.
“I am suffering the same treatment other Republicans have had to endure,” Moore wrote. “A month prior to the general election for U.S. Senate in Alabama, I have been attacked by the Washington Post and other liberal media in a desperate attempt to smear my character and defeat my campaign.”
Moore described the accusations as “false allegations” and attempted to specifically discredit Nelson.
Moore also noted that he was the presiding judge over Nelson’s divorce case in 1999, “a matter that apparently caused her no distress at a time that was 18 years closer to the alleged assault.”
Moore provides no evidence to prove that Nelson was or was not distressed at the time.
“I wasn’t ready for that — I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one,” Corfman says.
Further, he said that because the women waited so long to come forward, their allegations do not hold weight.
Moore “adamantly” denied the claims against him made by Nelson and Leigh Corfman, who was 14 when Moore pursued her.
“[I] did not date underage girls, and have taken steps to begin a civil action for defamation,” Moore wrote.
“We demanded, rightly, answers from Judge Moore. He provided them to the specific questions we asked,” Hannity said.
It is unclear what questions Moore answered, or what his letter accomplished other than shaming his victims and playing the role of one himself.
Moore’s own story had holes in it, as Hannity had noted. When interviewed by Hannity last week Moore called the initial allegations against him “completely false” but later suggested he may have tried to date teenagers while in his 30s — but he didn’t recall.
“You must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies,” Sean Hannity said on his show.
“If I did, you know, I’m not going to dispute anything, but I don’t remember anything like that,” he said.
“I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
Sixteen was then — and is now — the age of consent in Alabama.
While Hannity cannot bring himself to fully condemn Moore, even Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) adamantly said Moore “should step aside” from his U.S. Senate bid and said he believes the women who came forward.