On the Ground OAN Investigation of Roy Moore Case: ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent?’

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2016 file photo, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore speaks to the media during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. Moore appeared before a judicial discipline panel Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, to answer accusations that he tried to block gay couples from marrying in the …
AP/Brynn Anderson

A reporter with One America News Network traveled to Gadsden, Alabama, digging up accounts that there was no evidence to support some of the claims against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore.

OAN reporter Pearson Sharp interviewed security staff at the Gadsden Mall where some women have claimed that several decades ago Moore pursued them. Sharp reported that mall security personnel told him that they had never seen paperwork to back up claims against Moore at the mall. One senior security official told the reporter that nobody at the mall had worked there long enough to confirm the accounts.

Local residents told the reporter that the claims would surprise them if true, but that they were skeptical. The timing of allegations, coming up just a month from a major election, were a top concern to those he spoke with.

Longtime local resident Mike Adams said that he attended the same high school as Moore, just at a different time. He told OAN that nobody had ever mentioned Moore acting in the way that the judge has been accused of.

The report conveyed that while many people support Moore and some were willing to appear on camera, others were afraid of backlash if they went public with their support for the Republican nominee.

Sampson, Alabama pastor Caston Smith was one of multiple individuals cited in the report who cast doubt on allegations from Moore accusers. The report pointed to reports that one of the accusers is addicted to pain medication.

OAN then played footage of several individuals including several pastors and Dr. Alan Keyes, holding a press conference in support of Moore.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has also questioned the timing of the accusations that have come out against Moore.

The outlet recounted Moore’s background. He graduated from West Point military academy in 1969, eventually became commander of 188th military police company, was “known for his strict adherence to the rules,” was nicknamed “Captain America,” and was discharged in 1974. The report went on to outline his years as a lawyer and judge.

The report also highlighted the difference in response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. When Sen. Al Franken was outed and apologized for sexual misconduct, McConnell called for an investigation; however, in response to allegations against Moore, McConnell and other GOP figures called for Moore to step down.

The reporter calls it a slippery slope to consider a person guilty until proven innocent as in the case of Moore. He uses footage of those local residents interviewed and the Faith2Action press conference to illustrate the many backing and testifying to Moore’s reputation in contrast to those who have accused Moore without proof. The report highlights the presumption of innocence and says that constitutional amendments relating to this principle are being “worn away.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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