Judge Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, publicly responded to Sean Hannity’s ultimatum to prove himself innocent of allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago on Wednesday.
Hannity, on his Tuesday television show, addressed Moore, whom he had as a guest on the radio the day before, personally, saying, “For me, the judge has 24 hours. … You must remove any doubt. If you can’t do this, then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.”
In an open letter addressed to Hannity and released on Twitter hours shy of that deadline, Moore responds, “I am suffering the same treatment other Republicans have had to endure,” and that “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.”
The Judge relied on several of the defenses he previously used, writing:
Over the last 40 years I have held several public offices, including Deputy District Attorney, Circuit Judge, and Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. In addition to running five statewide and three county campaigns for public office, I have been involved in two major controversies that attracted national attention, one about the Ten Commandments and the other the sanctity of marriage.
And he introduced new ones, for the first time calling into question the most serious allegation against him and the authenticity of his purported inscription in the then 16-year-old girl’s high school year book. The passage, which she, the now 56-year-old Beverly Young Nelson, claims he wrote before offering her a ride home and then attempting to force her to perform a sex act on him in his car, reads,”To a sweeter, more beautiful girl I could not say ‘merry Christmas.’”
Moore attempts to pick apart Nelson’s story in the letter, claiming she came before him in 1999 seeking a divorce, a case she lost, and made no mention of it in her nationally televised press conference with superstar attorney Gloria Allred:
We are in the process of investigating these false allegations to determine their origin and motivation. For instance, we have documented that the most recent accuser, Beverly Nelson, was a party in a divorce action before me in Etowah County Circuit Court in 1999. No motion was made for me to recuse. In her accusations, Nelson did not mention that I was the judge assigned to her divorce case in 1999, a matter that apparently caused her no distress at a time that was 18 years closer to the alleged assault. Yet 18 years later, while talking before the cameras about the supposed assault, she seemingly could not contain her emotions.
Echoing comments made by many online observers of the yearbook inscription, and his own attorney, Moore continues:
My signature on the order of dismissal in the divorce case was annotated with the letters “D.A.,” representing the initials of my court assistant. Curiously the supposed yearbook inscription is also followed by the same initials—”D.A.” But at that time I was Deputy District Attorney, not district attorney. Those initials as well as the date under the signature block and the printed name of the restaurant are written in a style inconsistent with the rest of the yearbook inscription. The “7’s” in “Christmas 1977” are in a noticeably different script than the “7’s” in the date “12-22-77.” I believe tampering has occurred.
Moore’s legal team announced Wednesday that they will demand Allred release to them that yearbook for forensic analysis.
Moore ends the letter with yet another blanket denial of wrongdoing and a reference to his proposed civil litigation against the media, writing, “I adamantly deny the allegations of Leigh Corfman and Beverly Nelson, did not date underage girls, and have taken steps to begin a civil action for defamation. Because of that, at the direction of counsel, I cannot comment further.”
In addition to the two women mentioned above, three others have claimed Moore took them on dates that involved no physical contact beyond hugs and kisses, when they were teenagers but older than the age of consent. Yet another claimed Wednesday that Moore grabbed her buttocks when she was a grown woman in the 1990s.