U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore vowed Saturday to present evidence in the “next few days” that he said will question the motives surrounding the sexual misconduct allegations against him, adding that the claims in a Washington Post report were the epitome of “fake news.”
In his first public appearance since a woman came forward Thursday claiming Moore picked her up outside the Etowah County courthouse when she was 14 years old and initiated a sexual encounter, Moore emphatically denied the allegations and questioned the timing of the woman and three other accusers coming forward. Three other women also said they were minors when they went on dates with Moore in the 1970s, but that their physical relationships with Moore didn’t go beyond kissing.
“There are investigations going on. In the next few days, there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this [Post] article. They will be made public,” Moore said at the Mid Alabama Republican Club meeting Saturday in Vestavia Hills. “We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade and vote in the [election]coming up.”
Moore did not take questions from the media as he entered the Vestavia Hills library.
Moore said he has been thoroughly vetted through five statewide campaigns and inquiries by two bodies with jurisdiction over the courts.
“I’ve been investigated more than any other person in this country,” he said. “To think that grown women would wait 40 years to come before right before an election to bring charges is absolutely unbelievable.”
Paula Cobia, an attorney representing one of Moore’s accusers, Gloria Thacker Deason, said the women were unaware of their rights as teenagers and were likely fearful that Moore would “persecute” them as a powerful judge.
“Why did the women speak out now? Because someone (The Post reporters) finally showed up at their doors and asked them to tell what he did to them,” Cobia said in a statement. “On behalf of my client, Ms. Deason, I publicly demand that Roy Moore immediately retract his defamatory statements.”
Moore accused the Post, whose editorial page endorsed his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, of publishing the story to derail his campaign.
“These attacks involve a minor, and they’re completely false and untrue. About something that happened nearly 40 years ago. But more than being completely false and untrue, theyr’e very hurtful to me personally,” Moore said, adding, “I have the highest regard for the protection of young children.”
The Senate candidate also denied plying minors with alcohol; one of the women said Moore gave her wine while they went on a date.
“I have not provided alcoholic beverages – beer or anything else . I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone,” he said. “These allegations came only 4 1/2 weeks before the general election of Dec. 12. Why now?. … Isn’t it strange that after 40 years of constant investigation people have waited four weeks prior to the election to bring their complaints?”
The library where Moore spoke was packed with national media, club members and Moore supporters. Those who spoke with AL.com said they are standing by Moore and do not believe the allegations.
“I think the timing is interesting,” said Jefferson County Republican Party Chairwoman Sallie Bryant. “Like he said, there have been people in Alabama that have investigated him for years, people nationally, and the timing of it is very strange to me, so I believe Roy Moore.” Bryant said that others in the party should rally around Moore.
Bob Sanders, a former lobbyist and Moore campaign volunteer, said he doubted the claims.
“‘Democrat lies’ are common vocabulary” in state politics, Sanders said. When asked why he believes Moore, Sanders said because of the judge’s integrity.
“There aren’t many people like Roy Moore,” he said.
Still, “if he’s guilty, he’s guilty. I don’t play that game,” Sanders added.
Paul Reynolds, Alabama’s National State Committeeman to the Republcian National Committee, said he was loyal to Moore, but that there would be a “problem” if “there is a literal smoking gun, something that is irrefutable, undeniable” that backs up the allegations.
“Until its proven emphatically that he was involved, there’s no need to even consider it,” he said when asked if he believes Moore. “I’m more concerned about putting a Democrat in office than I am trying to get in the weeds when I see that the Alabama member on the Senate and the U.S. Senate could be the deciding vote on the next Supreme Court justice. Because we got Republicans in the Senate that don’t think Republican. I’m sorry, why they wear the elephant, I don’t know. Because the Republican I am and the type of Republican they are is entirely different.”
Reynolds said the timing of the claims “does not pass the duck test.
“We know because of the Russian dossier things can be fabricated,” he said, referring to allegations against President Donald Trump. “Is this fabricated? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m skeptical enough of it that I’m not going to turn my back on the Republican Party just because of allegations.”