More possible holes in the most serious sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, began to emerge this week.
Beverly Young Nelson, the woman alleging perhaps the most serious of claims against Moore, that he tried to force her to perform a sex act in his locked car when she was 16, is represented by controversial “civil rights” attorney Gloria Allred. Allred, who also represented women alleging still unproven sexual misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump, is refusing to hand over the pivotal yearbook Nelson claims Moore signed. Nelson’s own stepson and a high school boyfriend have already cast doubt on her accusation.
Potential problems emerged in Nelson’s account Monday when Moore’s campaign released a list of seven of what they describe as inconsistencies that “completely bust” the accusation. The release quotes Rhonda Ledbetter, who claims to have worked at Olde Hickory House, where the assault allegedly occurred, for nearly three years surrounding the dates in question.
Ledbetter told the Moore campaign there is another side of the story not being told:
When I heard Beverly Nelson’s story, there were several details that were different from what I remember. I was nervous at coming forward because of all the attention this story has gotten, but as a moral and ethical person I had to speak up about what I know to be true. I was a waitress at Olde Hickory for almost three years from 1977-1979, and I never saw Roy Moore come in to the restaurant. Not one time. And I would have noticed because most of our customers weren’t wearing suits, especially not at night.
I came forward because from what I’ve seen, the media is only interested in reporting one side of this story. In fact, Dixon Hayes from WRBC in Birmingham asked for former employees to contact him but never responded when I told him I never saw Roy Moore come into Olde Hickory House during the three years I worked for.
Ledbetter went on to recount what she sees as questionable elements of Nelson’s story, including that she was able to start work at the restaurant at age 15 when Ledbetter recalls a 16-year-old minimum, that Nelson claimed the restaurant closed at 10 p.m., when Ledbetter never recalled it doing so, and the position of the dumpsters as she remembered them making the geometry of the assault impossible as Nelson described it:
"The Moore Campaign unveiled statements from key witnesses that completely bust the story of Beverly Nelson and Gloria Allred and further reveal an unconscionable bias on the part of state and national press to hide the truth from Alabama voters." #ALSen pic.twitter.com/AxIpaAMc2E
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) November 21, 2017
Another Olde Hickory House waitress, Renee Schivera, similarly questions Nelson’s account, saying:
I was a waitress at the Olde Hickory House during the summer of 1977, before my senior year of high school. When I heard Beverly Nelson’s story the first thing that stuck out to me was that I don’t remember Roy Moore ever coming into the restaurant. I also don’t remember her working there
Finally, Moore’s release quotes Johnny Belyeu Sr., described as “a former police officer with over two decades of experience with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Department and the Gadsden Police Department,” who told the Moore campaign in a statement, “I was a regular customer at Olde Hickory House, and I never once saw Judge Moore come in there. If he had I would have immediately recognized him.” He added, “I also never met Beverly Nelson during any of the many times I frequented the restaurant, and I can’t say that she even worked there.”
Separately, Leigh Corfman, the accuser, whose 38-year-old allegation that Moore molested her when she was 14 set off the entire scandal when it appeared in the Washington Post, appeared on NBC’s Today show Monday. Her interview revealed new claims and details that shed light on that reporting.
Corfman told Today’s Savannah Guthrie that she had, in fact, revealed the alleged assault to her now-grown children years ago. This detail did not appear in the Washington Post report that brought her story public. She also claimed she told the Post’s reporters that “if they found additional people, that [she] would tell [her] story.”
“And they found those people,” she told Guthrie.
Breitbart News asked the Washington Post whether Corfman’s requirement motivated the editorial decision to include the stories of three women who claimed Moore took them on legal dates on which no more than kissing occurred when they were teenagers, but of the age of consent, in the initial story on Corfman. The Washington Post editor overseeing the piece did not reply to this inquiry, nor did the publication confirm that they had sought Corfman out as she herself indicated on the Today show, saying, “I didn’t go looking for this. This fell in my lap. It literally fell in my life, and I had to make a decision.”
Some Alabama newspapers, unconvinced by these denials and posited inconsistencies, urged readers to “reject” Moore and “stand for decency” by voting for Democrat Doug Jones. The same papers asked Alabama voters to reject Donald Trump and vote for Hillary Clinton for president last year, an offer around one in three such voters took them up on.
Tuesday Morning, Janet Porter, president of Ohio’s Faith2Action, appeared on MSNBC to offer another side to the story. “As the tangled web of lies unravels, Judge Roy Moore is being proven innocent,” she told hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle, citing the above witnesses who have come forward.