At a press conference on Thursday, Roy Moore campaign spokesperson Ben DuPre called on television stations across Alabama to comply with a “cease and desist” letter and stop airing a “false” ad purchased by Highway 31.
Highway 31 ia a shell independent expenditure group that has been used by Washington, D.C. based political consulting firms founded by former Obama campaign staffers to push out $3.4 million of anti-Moore, pro-Jones political messaging in the Alabama U.S. Senate special election between GOP nominee Moore and liberal Democrat Doug Jones, to be held next Tuesday.
“We all know that politics is a blood sport, as Judge Moore knows all too well. But even violent sports like SEC football and mixed martial arts have rules. And cheaters who break the rules and lie to get ahead or to prevent a fair fight should be called out and denounced,” DuPre said.
“Statewide, one of the most blatant and unrepentant cheaters is a brand new, shadowy SuperPAC by former Obama campaign operatives who have come into Alabama in the past few weeks with hidden money, up to $2 million [now $3.4 million], and a front organization called Highway 31,” he continued, adding:
About the only thing that Highway 31 is open about is its complete disregard for the truth.
It is attempting to help Doug Jones become the first Democratic senator from Alabama since Richard Shelby became a Republican.
Highway 31 has been running an expensive, aggressive statewide effort to spread lies about Judge Moore that not even the Washington Post would print.
This week the Judge Moore campaign sent cease and desist letters to media around the state requesting they stop running Highway 31’s ‘Shopping Mall’ ad which rehashes debunked myths about Judge Moore and the Gadsden Mall, from which he was never banned, and it even floats new lies I will not repeat here.
On Wednesday, the Roy Moore campaign announced it sent the “cease and desist” letter to all Alabama television stations currently airing a “patently false” ad from Highway 31, a shell group used by Washington, D.C. consulting firms run by former Obama campaign staffers.
“On Wednesday morning, the Moore campaign blasted the Shopping Mall ad paid for by the Highway 31 political action committee as ‘patently false.’ The campaign issued cease and desist letters demanding that television stations remove the ad from the air immediately,” the statement began, adding:
The letter called out the ad for quoting third-hand gossip and repeating outright falsehoods.
“1. Specifically, the ad entitled “Shopping Mall,” which began airing on or around November 28, 2017, begins with the misleading question, “What do people who know Roy Moore say?” Although the ad shows five quotations, only one of the people quoted — Teresa Jones, a coworker from 40 years ago — stated that they knew Roy Moore. And even what Jones claimed was nothing but a figment of the rumor mill. The truth is that the people quoted in the ad were alleging hearsay and third-hand gossip and do not “know Roy Moore” at all. . .
“The facts make clear that the allegations in these attack ads are patently false and known by Highway 31 political action committee to be false. As the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held in Faye Gary v. Richard Crouch, 923 So. 2d 1130 (Ala. Civ. App. 2005)(affirming summary judgment for Gadsden police chief sued for defamation by former Gadsden police officer Faye Gary for poor performance), defamation is shown when “a false statement was made ‘”with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” ‘” (Quoting Harte-Hanks Communications, Inc. v. Connaughton, 491 U.S. 657, 659 (1989) (quoting in turn New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 279-80 (1964)). Not only does the Highway 31 ad rehash gossip and rumor that has been entirely debunked, but it maliciously floats new, outrageous, and patently unsubstantiated allegations against Judge Moore.
“We are hereby making demand that your television station cease airing these false attack ads immediately and refrain from airing them on any future date. Under Alabama law, you can be held liable for the substantial damages caused by these false and defamatory ads. Failure to comply with this request may result in immediate legal action.”
Breitbart News asked Adam Muhlendorf, executive director of Highway 31, to respond to three questions about the ad:
1. What credible evidence do you have to support your assertion that “Moore was actually banned from the Gadsden Mall … for soliciting sex from young girls?”
2. If you have no such credible evidence, do you concede that your Highway 31 ad is “patently false?”
3. If so, will you advise television stations in the state to stop running the ad?
“Like Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senator Richard Shelby, we believe these women. Roy Moore is a dishonest politician who has provided no proof that the accusations against him are anything but the truth,” Muhlendorf responded.
Breitbart News persisted, noting that his response did not answer our key question demanding credible evidence to support the ad’s assertion “Moore was actually banned from the Gadsden Mall … for soliciting sex from young girls.”
Highway 31 and Muhlendorf have presented no evidence whatsoever to support that assertion, and Breitbart News asked him to show the evidence to the contrary.
Muhlendorf did not respond to our followup questions.
Breitbart News also asked ABC, Fox, CBS, and NBC TV affiliates across the state – in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, and Huntsville – to confirm if they have received the cease and desist letter from the Moore campaign and if they intend to stop running the Highway 31 ad.
Several sources have confirmed that the stations have received the “cease and desist” letters, but so far, no station has officially responded.