Roy Moore makes first appearance since scandal; gets applause as he denies allegations

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United States Senate hopeful Roy Moore today is making his first public appearance Saturday after allegations broke Thursday the former Alabama Supreme Court Cheif Justice inappropriately touched a then 14-year-old girl several decades ago.

Moore spoke at the Mid-Alabama Republican Club around 9 a.m. Saturday as about a dozen protesters gathered outside. He declined to answer reporters’ questions as he entered or exited the building.

“I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone,” Moore said during his speech, calling the allegations “a desperate attempt to stop his campaign.”

He said it was “very strange” the claims are coming four weeks before the general election for the Senate seat left behind by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A story, first reported in The Washington Post, told the story of four women who said Moore made advances to them when they were teenagers and he was a 32-year-old prosecutor in Etowah County. The youngest woman, Leigh Corfman, was 14 at the time, and said Moore took her to his home and took off her clothes.

Moore called the article fake news, and said the allegations are “hurtful.” He said, “I’ve been investigated more than any other person in this country.”

Moore on alleged victims: “That they would wait 40 years is absolutely unbelievable.” Some in room clapped in agreement. #ALSen

At Saturday’s event, Moore discussed his appreciation for veterans and the controversy regarding the national anthem. He said those who kneel or don’t stand durning anthem are “doing something we shouldn’t do,” even though he respects the law allowing the right to protest.

The appearance comes as several Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called on Moore to step aside in the Alabama Senate race if the four womens’ claims are true. Sen. John McCain has also addressed the allegations, saying they are “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.”

“He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of,” McCain tweeted.

Moore mentioned McCain in Saturday’s speech, speaking about McCain’s military service and the time the Arizona Senator spent as a prisoner of war. Moore did not reference McCain’s recent comments saying Moore should step down.

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romeny also spoke out against Moore on social media. “Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside,” he said on Twitter.

.@IvanaSuzette tried to get Roy Moore to answer questions this morning, but he left through a side door: https://t.co/3mI8F4vsfd

The withdrawn endorsements come hours after the National Republican Senatorial Committee canceled a fundraising agreement with Moore. That deal was struck late last month and, according to Politico, would have allowed Moore to raise $80,500 at a time from individual contributors.

“These allegations are deeply disturbing,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “I will withhold judgment until we get the facts. The people of Alabama deserve to know the truth, and then they’ll make their decisions.”

Asked if she thought the word of the women accusing Moore was trustworthy, she responded: “Why wouldn’t it be?”

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