The Roy Moore Scandal: Someone’s Lying But No One Is Suing [UPDATED]

Last week on this blog and in television interviews, I noted that in scandals like the one surrounding Roy Moore I often wait to see who sues for defamation first.  What is clear in that someone is lying. It is either numerous women who were tracked down by the Washington Post or Roy Moore himself.  Moore has called the women liars and “evil” while they have described a man with alleged pedophilic tendencies.  As I mentioned on Friday, Moore’s responses are suspiciously labored and narrow for someone accused of deeply disturbing allegations.  While I did not agree that Moore should simply withdrawal solely because someone made an accusation, the record is getting worse by the day.  If he is innocent, I can understand a refusal to be chased from the race but there are new accounts that are making the situation untenable for Moore to remain in the race.  Notably, Moore has been calling these women liars but he has not sued for defamation or announcing his intention to do so.  That would put all parties under the bright light of discovery.

Update:  Moore has announced that he will sue for defamation. However, he did not mention suing over the allegations of dating young girls but only “being with” a 15-year-old girl.  He also mentioned only suing the Washington Post and not the various women who spoke on the record or his former colleague who spoke on the record.  As noted below, the lawsuit against the Post would likely face the greatest challenge for Moore to prevail.

As I mentioned on Special Report, I was surprised by Moore’s interview with Sean Hannity where he not only denied the allegation but said that he did not date young girls as alleged.  Here is the core of the exchange:

HANNITY: At that time in your life…Let me ask you this you do remember these girls would it be unusual for you as a 32 year old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17? That would be a 15 year difference or a girl 18. Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?

MOORE: Not generally, no. If did, you know, I’m not going to dispute anything but I don’t remember anything like that.

HANNITY: But you don’t specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her late teens even at that time?

MOORE: I don’t remember that and I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother. And I think in her statement she said that her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me.

As with his statement that hitting on young girls was “out of my customary behavior,” the statement that “I’m not going to dispute anything but I don’t remember anything like that” is remarkably couched and qualified on such a disgraceful allegation.  Most of us would not only have a clear memory but a strong denial to such an allegation.

Other aspects of the allegations can to the credibility of the allegations.  First, even Breitbart confirmed that these women came forward reluctantly and were found out by the Washington Post.  Second, others have come forward to contradict Moore but to say that he was notorious for dating young girls.  A former colleague of Moore from the District Attorney’s office said that it was “common knowledge” that the Alabama Republican dated high school girls when he worked in the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office in the 1980s.  Teresa Jones (who worked with Moore from 1982-1985) told CNN

“It was common knowledge that Roy Moore dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird. We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall … but you really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that.”

Once again, I still believe that Moore is entitled to a presumption of innocence like all citizens but that does not shield him from the public record . . . or his public duties as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.  If Moore did pursue young girls aged 14-16 as a man in his 30s, he is not only a disgusting human being but (given his denials and attacks on these women) a truly evil human being.

Moore could sue the Washington Post, though with multiple witnesses the newspaper would be able to show that it did not act with reckless disregard or knowing falsehood (the standard under the New York Times v. Sullivan for public figures). That would leave the women themselves.

So, again, that leaves us with the curiosity that no one, particularly Moore, have announced a lawsuit for defamation.  For a man alleging a broad conspiracy of lying women, reporters and colleagues, he has remained conspicuously passive in the face of a growing scandal.

242 thoughts on “The Roy Moore Scandal: Someone’s Lying But No One Is Suing [UPDATED]”

  1. An interesting op-ed by one who doesn’t like Judge Moore. It is my opinion that nothing legally can be done and the event is over 30 years old. It is now up to the people of Alabama to cast their votes and decide for themselves.I believe as I stated before that this was brought up at this time as a hatchet job and we will never know the absolute truth. (excerpts)

    Politics of Denunciation Will Soon Have To Stop Even If Moore Is Doomed

    It is hard not to look upon the Roy Moore imbroglio as another well-timed hit-job from a familiar and well-practiced source — the same people who thought they had destroyed the Trump campaign by releasing the Billy Bush tape from eleven years before, and, when that didn’t finish Mr. Trump off, tried the nuclear option late in the campaign by shopping to the press the Steele dossier, which the Clinton campaign had commissioned, with its salacious and seditious elements.

    The dossier was so extreme in its allegations and so thoroughly unsupported and unverifiable that even the most rabid Democratic mouthpieces wouldn’t touch it. …

    I don’t like Judge Moore as a candidate; …

    Judge Moore’s opponents were inviting him to seek a high electoral office, and his most sophisticated opponents were ready for him. With the other earmarks of a well-planned assault, disposing of Moore and slicing the Republican Senate majority to a knife-edge, the Democrats and their press allies left it to just one month before the runoff election.

    Judge Moore has denied the allegations, but some of the answers he gave to Sean Hannity on Fox News about “dating teenage girls” when he was in his thirties were unimpressive. It is an issue because of the acute sensitivity to physical harassment of women and even greater public outrage about any form of abuse of minors. Both are well-founded and justly righteous public attitudes.

    … the fact that the alleged incident is violently denied by the former chief justice of the state, occurred 38 years ago, did not involve any direct physical grope or probe, was not reported to law authorities (and was not necessarily illegal if it happened at all and certainly is not actionable now) and was given instead to the trusty first battery of reliable Democratic artillery in the press. …

    …It is a reasonable supposition that most people in public life have something not much less embarrassing than this in their backgrounds that remain unknown, one form of misconduct or another. It is also true that even if this incident occurred, as long as it was not repeated, it does not disqualify Judge Moore from being a senator, if he has had 38 subsequent years of unexceptionable sexual and romantic conduct. …

    As I wrote above, I don’t like Roy Moore as a candidate, but I don’t like premeditated political character assassinations either, and in a parallel of the fact that impositions on underage girls by grown men should be punished, if there is proof that they occurred, electioneering by severe partisan defamation unleashed at critically timed pre-electoral moments should not be rewarded with success. They have not been with the Steele dossier, which Kimberley Strassel correctly described in the Wall Street Journal on November 10 as the greatest political dirty trick in American history. …

    At some point, this practice of denunciation being insuperable and due process just an irritant and a useless antiquity, like an appendix — as it has been in the Weinstein and Moore cases — will have to stop, if the United States wishes to retain any credibility as a society of laws. …

    All those who loudly claimed that Trump would embarrass America abroad have been proved mistaken. The hypocrisy of those who claimed he would mortally antagonize China, and now accuse him of kowtowing to the Middle Kingdom, is exposed, like those who said his tough talk with Rocket Man would make things worse, and he is perfectly correct that constructive relations with Russia, if attainable, are preferable to a resumed Cold War with a diminished Russia. This fake collusion charade must not get in the way of the pursuit of the U.S. national interest.

  2. Squeeky,

    Your links offer no proof of aliens voting, no convictions. The cited Canadian woman who voted 20 times is not named and apparently not charged, tried, and convicted. If Republicans are so incensed by illegal voting, why the hell was she not prosecuted? Your links cite ‘studies’ but offer no details’. Pretty lame, don’t you think? Purging rolls of thousands and saying 1/3 had voted is not proof – is not a legal prosecution – is not a conviction. Give me a break.

    You have provided a bucket of partisan opinion and accusation backed up by a big fat nothing.

    The right has been making these same charges for years. Time to quit crying and start prosecuting. Get some convictions and then I’ll be happy to seriously consider your complaints. With the Republican stated fear that thousands or maybe millions are casting illegal votes for god sake it should be easy to capture a dozen of these people, charge them, try them, and convict them. Repeat that effort across the country. Apparently Republicans have all the ‘studies’ showing that it is happening everywhere. Check out those studies and start charging! Don’t let those lazy, sneaky Democrats stop you. Show us some of that famous courage and respect of the law.

    I have no idea why you linked an article discussing why Clinton lost the election. She lost. I’m not arguing that point.

  3. The candidate’s wife, Kayla, claims to have proof that some/all of the women were paid for their stories. If so, this whole charade goes down the liberal rabbit hole and Moore’s next title is Senator. And in a just world, the payors and payees go to prison. We’ll see.

    1. Mespo,

      I await Mrs. Moore’s proof.

      Still waiting.

      Still waiting.

      Still waiting.

        1. Mespo,

          I’m happy to wait until Monday. I wonder if on Monday she will also correct her post that the Old Hickory Post didn’t exist in 1977. And maybe she will explain why she posted an edited letter from 53 pastors supporting Moore after the sexual allegations were published.

          1. Mae, While you are waiting for all those explanations I note that Squeeky provided you data on illegal voting so maybe in the meantime, you can be just a bit apologetic to Squeeky since she met her burden of proof by sending you data very promptly despite your insulting tone.

            1. Allan,

              Sorry. I had no idea you were an especially sensitive fellow. Gosh. I can’t help worrying how difficult it must be to read some of Sqeeky’s posts. They must make your hair curl since my use of ‘entertaining and valueless’ have proven so upsetting.

              I hope you have recovered.

              1. Thank you, Mae, for being so concerned with my sensitivities. Squeeky provided you good data with cases. Do you like to beg and steal? Sounds that way.

  4. Communists perpetrate indoctrination with impunity under the aegis of “freedom of the press.”

    Parasites adapt well.

    Obviously hosts win out.

    A world of parasites must ultimately feed on itself…surely not for long.

  5. “Blast of besieged blowhards: I will sue!

    By Erik Wemple, November 13 at 5:55 PM

    A suggestion for Moore and his lawyers: Please attach Breitbart News to the list of defendants. It was Breitbart News, after all, that boasted of beating The Post to the news of Moore’s alleged misconduct. (That was a slimy attempt at preemption.)

    Why did Moore threaten The Post? Well, for the same reasons that Donald Trump threatened the New York Times with a libel suit after the newspaper published an article about the then-candidate’s treatment of women. For the same reasons, too, that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein threatened to sue the New York Times after it nailed the story of his serial sexual harassment.

    Because they got busted, that is. In the case of Weinstein, he leveled his threat at the New York Times in early October, a time when there were a handful of accusers. By the end of the month, USA Today tallied nearly 80. So where’s that complaint, Harvey?

    If fall 2017 has taught the world anything, it’s that no source is quite as dependable as women who come forth to tell their stories about monster men. When former Fox News chief Roger Ailes first came under fire in 2016 for sexual harassment, he attempted to deny the allegations against him. An internal review corroborated the stories of the women. Ailes was forced to resign and died in May 2017. CNN gathered anecdotes from several women about the conduct of pundit and author Mark Halperin during his time at ABC News. Those accounts were anonymously sourced, though clearly Halperin knew the names — he admitted to misconduct. Two anonymous sources in a Post article set in motion the departure of Michael Oreskes from his position at the head of the NPR newsroom….

    There’s a symmetry between these fellows’ legal threats and the behavior that has reduced them to such desperation. “I’ve been speaking to a lot of women over the last couple of weeks about sexual harassment,” says lawyer Lisa Bloom, who is representing Panter, and who initially represented Weinstein. “This is everybody’s No. 1 fear — facing a defamation suit.”

    So Moore & Co. know what they’re doing. They’re attempting to intimidate the reporters and the accusers who threaten to further diminish their reputations. If they further alienate their followers from the U.S. media in the process, well, that’s just the price of good crisis communications. “This article is a prime example of fake news,” Moore said on Sunday, mimicking a Trump protestation. “We do not intend to let the Democrats or the established Republicans or anybody else behind this story stop this campaign.”

    The perfect title: “Blast of besieged blowhards: I will sue!”

  6. I need some more data. It appears Nelson’s claim occurred when she just turned 16 and apparently though injured she didn’t go to the police. That is odd, but I have read that Moore signed her yearbook. I assume most likely that would be her graduating yearbook, but that was not mentioned. Did she graduate close to her 16th birthday or closer to 18 and if closer to 18 why did she have him sign her yearbook?

    Now that the attornies are involved the statement, if ever put in writing as a full report, will be specially tailored to meet political aims. That is what this is all about whether or not Moore is guilty of any impropriety. After all, this well exceeds the statute of limitations.

    That is what happened with the Duke Lacrosse team accusations that ruined many lives.

    1. You’re making too much rational sense. Don’t you know you’re supposed to be blinded by emotion?

      1. Thanks for the compliment, but I fear by praising me you will be called a racist or a Puckhead. 🙂

    2. He supposedly signed her ‘yearbook’ in December 1977. Why she was carrying around the yearbook she’d been issued six months earlier is a matter of conjecture. Why he signed it “Roy Moore DA” when he was not the district attorney is also a matter of conjecture. Why he block printed the name of the restaurant and the precise date below the signature is a matter of conjecture. Why he misspelled the name of the restaurant is also a matter of conjecture.

      1. Interesting. Is it his signature?

        DSS, do you think Moore did anything illegal? If yes, what? My suspicion is if the claims made were placed in the proper perspective it is probable that nothing illegal happened. I am not dealing with morality.

        I haven’t read enough to draw any conclusions, but what I read made me very suspicious that the claims if even slightly true are enhancements of what actually happened. Enhancements after almost 40 years are generally what one gets.

      2. A&AWG asked, “Why he signed it “Roy Moore DA” when he was not the district attorney is also a matter of conjecture.”

        From Moore’s web site: “During his legal career, Judge Moore became the first full-time Deputy District Attorney in Etowah County, Alabama, and served in this position from 1977 until 1982. In 1984, Judge Moore undertook private practice of law in Gadsden, Alabama.” – roymoore dot org (According to Wikipedia, he was an ADA in 1977.)

        A&AWG asked, “Why he misspelled the name of the restaurant is also a matter of conjecture.”

        “Moore has gone with the forgery defense as a response to Nelson’s allegation. But there really was an Olde Hickory House on East Meighan Boulevard in 1977, proper spelling and all.”

        1. A&AWG asked, “Why he signed it “Roy Moore DA” when he was not the district attorney is also a matter of conjecture.”

          You’re right that it’s still “a matter of conjecture.”

          (If he, in fact, wrote the note, did he drop the extra “D”, thinking that no one would notice? Did he fancy himself the DA, and even refer to himself as the DA, at times? Maybe we’ll get an explanation, at some point.)

  7. Update : Moore “announces” he is going to sue ? You don’t announce you are going to sue. You file court papers to sue. Until he files with a court that is a pretty stupid “update”.

    1. Harry wrote: “You file court papers to sue. Until he files with a court that is a pretty stupid “update”.”


      1. It’s a pretty stupid assumption. There are reasons for announcing a suit whether or not he sues. Secondly, it takes time to write and then file especially when things are changing so rapidly.

          1. “Yep” was a dumb form of agreement. I don’t know Harry so maybe Harry is a bit naive about suits and all the crap that is being thrown around. You, however, are consistently naive or worse (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt).

            I will wait for the statements I talked about earlier. In the meantime, there is an election. The criteria to be elected in Alabama have been met by Moore and he was chosen by the people in the primary. I’ll let the people of Alabama decide who they wish to vote for. Then we can see where things go.

            I don’t like the left wing double standard. I also don’t like your change in the way our justice system functions.

            Anonymous believes in guilty until proven innocent (as long as it is a Republican)
            I believe in innocent until proven guilty.

            You have a real problem living in our Constitutional Republic. You should try and live in a place like Cuba. It has nice weather.

              1. Speaking of blowhards we have anonymous who believes in America a person is guilty until proven innocent.

                That is known as ignorance, but I don’t think she cares.

            1. Instead of me being naive about lawsuits perhaps you are being dishonest with yourself about them. YouTube is littered with low level celebrities who have used their YouTube fame to abuse women and when their accusers go public they go on their channel and claim they will sue. But you never see a lawsuit. You know why? Because in a lawsuit there will be depositions. The accusers lawyers will get to question you on the record. Let’s see if he filed paperwork, until then this is just a p. r. stunt just like when anybody else pulls that.

              1. But Harry you have to read what you said: “Update : Moore “announces” he is going to sue ? You don’t announce you are going to sue. You file court papers to sue. Until he files with a court that is a pretty stupid “update”.”

                It’s not a stupid “update”. That is your problem. After his announcement whether he sues or not is a different problem. He might not sue because of depositions which you mentioned, but he also might not sue because it might not be worthwhile. So far it is a ‘he said she said’ incident that is almost 40 years old and long past the statute of limitations.

                He can sue the WP as he has threatened to do, but maybe he has to wait until the WP isn’t just quoting someone or he has proof of maliciousness.

                More important is whether or not he committed a crime. Alternatively, has someone prompted these woman to say things that may have been tangentially true, but legal or totally made up. Right before an election after almost 40 years stretches the credibility and makes one recognize that there is someone around pulling a few strings to blow up whatever may or may not have happened.

        1. Things are “changing rapidly” for reporters covering a story, not for a plaintiff who is innocent or an accuser who is telling the truth.

          1. Harry, legal strategies change with a moving target. One generally wishes to start with the right legal strategy. Sometimes it isn’t good to rush things. If you think you would make a good litigator why not tell us the positives of rushing to file the case.

            If you can provide strong positive reasons to quickly file then your initial comment has substantial meaning. If not, then it was an off the cuff statement that can be made by any Tom, Dick or Harry.

            1. I did not say people should rush to file cases. I said saying you are going to file suit but never doing it is a pr stunt. A dodge numerous Hollywood celebrities have pulled. That is not an off the cuff remark that is a fact.

              1. Absolutely, Harry, it can be a dodge, but you called it a stupid update. A dodge is done with purpose and frequently such an “update” is the smart thing to do. Filing in court is something else and should not be rushed.

                Now look at what you wrote:

                ““Update : Moore “announces” he is going to sue ? You don’t announce you are going to sue. You file court papers to sue. Until he files with a court that is a pretty stupid “update”.””

                Don’t be like anonymous. She is a dummy without substance. You don’t seem to be of that ilk. Your dislike of Moore may have impacted your sentence structure so you ended up with a statement that was inherently incorrect. I don’t necessarily like him or dislike him. I defend the idea that one is innocent until proven guilty and that the statute of limitation has a meaning and a reason behind it. I would treat both those on the left and on the right in the same fashion. I do not believe in a double standard.

                1. Actually my first post was a dig at Jonathan Turley for putting “UDATE” up there the same way that CNN or MSNBC puts BREAKING NEWS across the bottom of the screen.

                  1. Harry, that is a legitimate response whether one agrees with your action or not. I actually think a few of Jonathan Turley’s remarks on this subject weren’t his best so I definitely appreciate your explanation and probably like it. I’m not going to reread his posting so I can’t be sure.

                    If you note, my response wasn’t to you rather it was to anonymous who in my opinion has a very low intellect and makes responses that are very flat and do not deal with the intricacies of the world we live in. I know no such thing about you so I didn’t comment on you not being sure where you were directing your comment.

                    Anonymous’s response was her typical response that didn’t attempt to read a bit more in-depth so what applied to anonymous I initially didn’t wish to apply to you.

                    Take note of my follow-up comment to anonymous: ” I don’t know Harry so maybe Harry…” In other words, I drew no conclusions about what you meant. From then on my debate with anonymous went like this “You [anonymous], however, are consistently naive or worse (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt).” The rest of my debate with you was spent trying to figure out the real meaning of your comment that you have now explained. I probably agree with this explanation, but disagree with anonymous based on prior dealings with her.

  8. “Locals Were Troubled by Roy Moore’s Interactions with Teen Girls at the Gadsden Mall”

    By Charles Bethea, 6:22 P.M.


    This past weekend, I spoke or messaged with more than a dozen people—including a major political figure in the state—who told me that they had heard, over the years, that Moore had been banned from the mall because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls. Some say that they heard this at the time, others in the years since. These people include five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall in the early eighties, and a number of former mall employees. (A request for comment from the Moore campaign was not answered.) Several of them asked that I leave their names out of this piece. The stories that they say they’ve heard for years have been swirling online in the days since the Post published its report. “Sources tell me Moore was actually banned from the Gadsden Mall and the YMCA for his inappropriate behavior of soliciting sex from young girls,” the independent Alabama journalist Glynn Wilson wrote on his Web site on Sunday. (Wilson declined to divulge his sources.) Teresa Jones, a deputy district attorney for Etowah County in the early eighties, told CNN last week that “it was common knowledge that Roy dated high-school girls.” Jones told me that she couldn’t confirm the alleged mall banning, but said, “It’s a rumor I’ve heard for years.”

    Greg Legat, who is now fifty-nine and living in East Gadsden, was, from 1981 to 1985, an employee at the Record Bar, a store that was in the Gadsden Mall. By the early eighties, Legat told me, the mall was “the place to be. There were no empty stores. And lots of kids came around. Lots of teen-agers. You went there to see and be seen.” Legat met his wife, Jo Anne, there. She worked at a restaurant called Orange Bowl. Legat remembers that parents dropped their kids off at the mall, typically unchaperoned. Teens filled the place.

    Legat says that he saw Moore there a few times, even though his understanding then was that he had already been banned. “It started around 1979, I think,” Legat said. “I know the ban was still in place when I got there.” Legat recalled a Gadsden police officer named J. D. Thomas, now retired, who worked security at the mall. “J. D. was a fixture there, when I was working at the store,” Legat said. “He really looked after the kids there. He was a good guy. J. D. told me, ‘If you see Roy, let me know. He’s banned from the mall.’ ” Legat recalled Thomas telling him, “If you see Moore here, tell me. I’ll take care of him.’ ” Legat said that his boss, Eddie Hill, also told him to look for Moore. A phone call to Hill’s number was not returned.

    Reached by phone on Saturday, Thomas, who lives in the nearby town of Southside, declined to discuss the existence of a ban on Moore at the Gadsden Mall. “I don’t have anything to say about that,” he said. A former manager of the mall, who began working there in the late eighties, confirmed the existence of a ban list, but did not recall Moore being on the list during the manager’s tenure there. Barnes Boyle, who is eighty-six, also managed the mall, from 1981 to 1998. His wife, Brenda, told me that Moore was a longtime acquaintance of his—they went to the Y.M.C.A. together often—and that he planned to vote for him. The recent allegations against Moore, the Boyles thought, are likely liberal propaganda and, as Brenda put it, “a sign of the times.”

    Jason Nelms, an I.T. worker who grew up in nearby Southside and now lives in Tennessee, regularly visited the Gadsden Mall as a teen-ager, in the early eighties. “It was a joke from one of the managers/assistant managers that they couldn’t keep an eye on their theater and an eye on the kids outside,” he explained to me via Facebook Messenger. “Us kids would congregate outside on the sidewalk near the theater after the mall closed on Friday and Saturday nights. Anyway, when asked why they had to keep an eye outside, they said that some older guy had been trying to pick up younger girls. They didn’t go beyond that but one of the concession workers whispered to us later that it was Roy Moore he was talking about.” — Charles Bethea

    1. More from the Charles Bethea article:

      “Gadsden’s current law-enforcement community could not confirm the existence of a mall ban on Moore. But two officers I spoke to this weekend, both of whom asked to remain unnamed, told me that they have long heard stories about Moore and the mall. “The general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,” one of the officers said. The legal age of consent in Alabama is sixteen, so it would not be illegal there for a man in his early thirties to date a girl who was, say, a senior in high school. But these officers, along with the other people I spoke to, said that Moore’s presence at the mall was regarded as a problem. “I was told by a girl who worked at the mall that he’d been run off from there, from a number of stores. Maybe not legally banned, but run off,” one officer told me. He also said, “I heard from one girl who had to tell the manager of a store at the mall to get Moore to leave her alone.””

      “The second officer went further. “A friend of mine told me he was banned from there,” he said. He added, “I actually voted for Moore. I liked him at one time. But I’m basically disgusted now, to be honest with you. Some of the things he’s said recently, I’ve changed my tune completely about this guy.” He went on, explaining why Moore no longer appeals to him. “When I heard what he said on ‘Hannity’ the other night,” he said, referring to an appearance Moore made on Sean Hannity’s radio show last Friday, “I almost stood straight up. The thing about how he’s never dated anybody without their mother’s permission, that appalled me. That made me want to throw up. Why would you need someone’s permission to date somebody? I’m probably gonna write in Luther Strange.”” — Charles Bethea

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