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. Moore should drop out of the race! The only thing worse than him admitting that he “dated” teenaged girls is him claiming that was ok because he had asked their mothers! That said, the Sullivan prevents us from assuming the truth of the allegations from his failure to sue. He would have to claim actual malice against WaPo and these women presumably don’t have deep pockets.

  2. I suppose in Alabama, any girl of 14 or 16 is considered an old maid, and any gallant southern gentleman would feel obliged to ease her predicament …..

  3. If the voters in Alabama give Moore one full term in the Senate he will learn to use phrases like not wittingly or at this point what difference does it make rather than I don’t remember anything like that. Apparently voters prefer a fool or feigned righteous indignation over contrived juvenile lying. Roy Moore is not ready for primetime.

  4. Weren’t all of the accusers of age at the relevant time, except for the one Moore flatly denies, who would have been 14?

    I can understand everyone saying he should step aside if the allegations of the 14 year old are true, but the others would have been of legal age, and as I recall there wasn’t really anything salacious involved with the others, just a “date” or two. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    I also think these allegations, coming so long after, are misleading in the sense that it makes him seem like a dirty old man. But he’s an old man now; he wasn’t at the time.

    I mean, I’d agree that a man in his 30s becoming involved with a 16 year old is extremely ill advised, but it’s not illegal. This doesn’t seem anything like the Weinstein/Spacey scandals.

    1. 16, 17, 18 …….was far different back in the day than the immature and coddled snowflakes of that same age today. At 18 many young women were marrying and having babies. Dating “men”, not “boys”, was encouraged, not taboo. I honestly don’t “get” this. They find someone reporting something from 40 years ago that he vehemently denies – they try to bolster it with ladies who say he did nothing inappropriate with them. Exactly what is the ‘crisis’ here?

      Fortunately, this country, and especially the citizens of Alabama (the only ones that matter), are way way WAY past believing anything from the media and establishment politicians. One women was interviewed and said .. “As soon as establishment R’s commented so quickly – we all knew it was a total corrupt smear and a completely fabricated lie.”

      I suspect he’ll win in a landslide……..

      1. Right, and the point is to let the voters in Alabama decide — not the DC establishment or the establishment media.

  5. The evangelical, holier than thou, sexual predator brings to mind a bit of English humor. The Vicar was promising heavenly rewards to the chambermaid for some special consideration on her part. She hesitantly replied to his overtures as they became more focused with, ‘Yes my Lord’, and ‘No my Lord’, until the Vicar advised her that it wasn’t necessary to address him as ‘My Lord’, that to simply say, ‘Your Grace’. The chambermaid, replied, “For what I am about to receive, may I be truly thankful.”

    1. We are discussing a serious topic of sexual harassment of women and you find inserting this kind of humor here and now appropriate?

  6. When you place Moore along side of the Clintons, Kennedys, Trumps, and other sexually egocentric ‘impressive’ men he is a bit player. The evangelical routine of high up church elders ‘saving’ young girls and boys goes back to the beginning of time. It seems that the more puritanical the society, the greater the travesties and hypocrisies. The US is a first and third world country when it comes to a lot of aspects of society and sexual conduct and misconduct is certainly one area where America contradicts itself. Great politicians and leaders require oversize egos that sometimes come attached to oversize libidos. The real issue with Moore is not that he dated younger women, although prowling a 14 yr old does step over the line, but that of his hypocrisy. Here is Moore, another in the line of holier than thous, preaching against everything that steps over the line, himself a predator. He doth protest too much. Moore is a blatant tool of his own ego and of the backward of Alabama. If Alabamans want leaders that stand for their interpretation of what is moral and just then they should elect a real bible thumping conservative, not this hypocrite. Trump is a sleaze bag, openly boasts about it, and places it in his greater performance of speaking without thinking, bellowing, boasting, lying, and generally ranting and raving along with his followers. Moore is a sleaze bag of the Clinton sort, trying to weasel out of it.

    Somewhere in the middle, between a more enlightened perspective of sex and morality and a way to surface a better quality of leadership, lies the answer. Unfortunately that now is unAmerican.

    1. Isaac said, “It seems that the more puritanical the society, the greater the travesties and hypocrisies.”

      I can explain that. If a society has a taboo against coveting young girls, then the temptation to covet young girls becomes especially irresistible to the very men who wield the power to enforce that taboo.

      Likewise, if a nation has a law against bribing public officials, then the very public officials who enforce said law experience an irresistible temptation to solicit bribes.

      And so it goes with pretty much everything rotten in the human being becoming an irresistible temptation to corrupt the most powerful human beings.

      The virtue of self-control is fundamentally incompatible with power. Power can only be controlled by people who don’t have any.

      1. “I can explain that. If a society has a taboo against coveting young girls, then the temptation to covet young girls becomes especially irresistible”

        How about older women “coveting” young men?

  7. Lie detector tests. Both sides of the aisle. Start with the accusors. Then stage a fake test setup on tv and question Moore. Have a needle guage on the tv screen show when he is lying.
    What is wrong with lie detector tests? We do not hear about them much.

    1. Lie detector tests are not infallible, and some people can beat them. However, if a number of women take the LD test and pass, it would be a very serious (to Moore) result. And especially if Moore refused to be tested.

  8. We should also stress that if you are willing to accuse, then you should be willing to prosecute in order to justify your accusations. This is especially needed today as more stories of sexual abuse and harassment that were covered up for decades are being brought forward. The standard is a presumption of innocence — and let’s not forget this.

    Also, it wasn’t that long ago that the Senate loved and revered their ‘lion’ named Ted Kennedy who was known for hoisting a few too many and playing the ‘waitress sandwich’ game and was even responsible for a young girls drowning, but he was oh-so-revered till the day he died. My my.

    1. Times have changed. Victims are coming forward in all types of situations including the Olympics.

      1. Understood. The point is that Ted Kennedy left a young girl to drown. That doesn’t require ‘times to change’ for it to be understood for what it was at the time. I find it astonishing that he was given a pass on so much of his behavior that was so obviously wrong.

          1. Right, and so if Ted Kennedy could experience a redemption arc in his life, then why not give the same benefit to Roy Moore? Look at Moore who apparently had a creepy desire to date teen-aged girls nearly four decades ago versus Ted Kennedy leaving a girl to drown and then regularly getting drunk and abusing waitresses and other young women as a sitting senator? And yet Kennedy was able to redeem himself. So why not Moore?

          1. So was dating younger women especially in Alabama. However, drunk driving was a criminal offense and letting the girl die may have been criminal as well.

            Did you make a similar excuse for Moore? No? Why not? Kennedy continued to run around with his fly down almost until he died but that doesn’t seem to be a character failure of Moore.

            Do you know the meanings of double standard and hit job?

        1. Ted didn’t “leave” Mary Jo to drown. They were both riding in his car that went off a bridge. He was drunk, and made it out of the car, but she didn’t. No one knows whether she could have been saved, but he should have called the cops before he did. No proof she would have survived in any event, but his leaving the scene made him look bad. She wasn’t a “young girl”, either. She was a worker in his campaign, and was in her 20’s. And, Ted never got a “pass” for this either. It cost him the Presidency.

          But, in any event, this is again the KellyAnne Pivot. The story isn’t about Ted or the Kennedys or any other Democrats. It’s about Roy Moore.

          1. Right, but the point is that it did not cost him a career in the Senate. And the point is that when conduct is wrong it is wrong even if you are a Democrat protected by the media. Enough with the double standard.

            (btw, I don’t support Moore or agree with his views, I’m just arguing for Moore’s right to stand his ground and fight this establishment political hit job – and for it to be the Alabama voters who get to decide his fate)

          2. The rescue diver who lived four blocks away said he could have gotten her out of that car in twenty-five minutes. She lived in an air pocket for over 3 hours. Kennedy swam to shore, walked home and didn’t report it until the next morning about ten hours later.

            1. Thank you for that clarification. Sounds to me like Ted Kennedy did in fact leave a young woman to drown. Or, as said another way by Natacha, “his leaving the scene made him look bad.”

              1. Negligent homicide does make a person look bad, but Natacha is probably impressed staring at his open zipper.

                1. Yes and, as Natacha further explains….he was really drunk and he luckily made it out, but she didn’t. Ah well. That’s the way drunk driving accidents go sometimes…especially when they interfere with your political aspirations. And hey, he should have called someone sooner because it made him look bad and all, but you guys I’m telling you, he did NOT get a pass at all…because it like totally cost him the presidency, people, I mean we all make mistakes sometimes, so give the guy a break already.

  9. “If Moore did pursue young girls aged 14-16 as a man in his 30s, he is not only a disgusting human being.”

    Meh, most men would if they could get away with it. In fact, throughout most of human history, men dated girls this age. The age of consent in most US jurisdictions was 10-12 years in the mid 1800s.

    1. jsutme, The incidence of women dying during childbirth used to be considerably greater than it is today. The world has moved on quite a stretch down the road from the antiquarian sexual mores of goat-herders such as Roy Moore.

      1. Diane, Apparently, from the news reports available he has been faithful to his wife for over 30 years. Not many marriages have that type of fidelity. I guess you believe in an open marriage and that is fine. Different people have different ways of living their lives.

        One might not like Moore’s politics, but we have a history of a decent man with a questionable history that will never be fully known and ended legally based upon the statute of limitations. The law seems to mean very little to you for you are nothing more than an ignorant hack.

  10. In a recent video, John Oliver provides Roy Moore’s defense by the right wing, as an illustration of one of “the 3 most disturbing ways Trump (Fox) impacts America”. Oliver attributes one of the 3 ways to a tactic long used by Russian leaders. He summarizes it with the heading, “what about…ism”. Multiple unrelated situations are presented as if they share moral equivalency which acts to skew perception. And, in a second variation, distant wrong doing by others is introduced to redirect the discussion to an irrelevant topic.

      1. TBob
        About Menendez- I enjoyed your “what about…ism” illustration. (Oliver cited more hyperbolic examples in his video.)
        With no left wing defense of Menendez in the non-existent media equivalent of Murdoch-funded Fox and Hannity/Limbaugh…talk radio… no similarity. One accused of preying on a vulnerable, under age victim while trumpeting morality and, the other charged with bribery…. no similarity.

        The right wing has cornered the market on defending indefensible behavior.

        1. The right wing has cornered the market on defending indefensible behavior.

          That is an egregiously myopic statement given our current political climate. When it comes to defending indefensible behavior the market begins with the political class and ends with the cornered grubers that believe it’s the other wing that is to blame.

          1. Olly, Linda says this crazy stuff all the time and when one points out the facts she just says something else equally or more crazy. She is vacuous.

          2. Comedy could use a new program, “Match the ‘What about…ism’ “-
            My suggestion for the first segment- “which dissimilar situation will the right wing match up with Trump’s judicial appointment of Brett Talley in order to divert attention from alleged witness tampering?”

          1. Legitimate journalism has standards- anonymous allegations are published after a process of corroboration.
            The NYT attributed the account concerning Roy Moore to an identified person, who went on record.

            1. Unfortunately for the reputation of all journalism, the NYTimes use of anonymous persons and other things has been proven to be fake news too many times. To have any credibility people have to release their full comments with their names so they can be held responsible for what they claim.

              The NYTimes also has to report on news that they find uncomfortable as should all the media. What we have learned over the past decade or so is that most of the media intentionally slant the news in one direction favoring the Democrats. That leaves Democratic supporters ignorant of what is going on.

              1. Research showed Fox viewers were less well informed than those who listened to no news.
                I speculate that NYT readers are more well informed than those who don’t read.

                1. Linda, you are very uninformed. I read the NYTimes, WSJ and watch some of Fox. The NYTimes is losing readership for good reason. It stinks. That was the paper I was brought up on. If I didn’t use Fox or the Internet I would be very uninformed.

            2. Let’s more accurately say that legitimate journalism “used to have” standards.

              We have Judge Roy Moore being assaulted in the media with 40-year old unprovable salacious allegations and yet we are told to question and doubt Judge Moore’s own denials.

              But then we have Senator Bob Menendez who calls the allegations against him involving child prostitution “a smear job” by DOJ prosecutors and his political enemies — and we are supposed to believe him while the media leaves the story alone? Also, Menendez is a Democrat and these allegations come from Obama’s DOJ.

              And we see Senator Menendez, whose pal Melgen was convicted on 67 counts of massive Medicare fraud totaling $90 million, being given every benefit of the doubt. The media has little interest in even covering his corruption trial. Nothing to see here folks.

              From a 2015 article:

              “The entire mainstream media bought repeated denials from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) of allegations that he solicited underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, but now the Department of Justice says the allegations are in fact “corroborated.”

              In a 65-page court filing released publicly on Monday evening, the DOJ laid out how their investigation into Menendez—and Democratic Party mega-donor Dr. Salomon Melgen—“began with serious and specific allegations involving child prostitution.”

              “The Justice Department lays out how even though they have not charged Menendez or Melgen with the prostitution charges in their indictment of each of them, they did find “corroborating evidence” to back up the allegations.”

              “Confronted with corroborating evidence of such serious crimes, it would have been an inexcusable abdication of responsibility not to investigate these allegations,” the DOJ wrote.”

              http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/24/department-of-justice-corroborating-evidence-backs-underage-prostitution-allegations-against-senator-bob-menendez/

              1. Source- Bannon’s Breitbart?

                In msm, did you read about the Florida rental home of Bannon’s 3rd wife?

                1. Yes, the source is Breitbart. Probably because it’s hard to find detailed and accurate reporting of the case elsewhere – like in the New York Times for example. The oh-so-credible New York Times reported on the story and published a 1,300 word article about the corruption trial – the first corruption trial of a sitting senator in over 36 years – and then buried it all the way on page A15. All the while failing to even mention that Menendez is a Democrat – not once – even though his name was referred to 29 times throughout the article. Only after an uproar was the correction made to include Menendez’s party affiliation. Well golly gee, they said at the NYT, it was simply an oversight.

                2. And no, I didn’t read about the Florida rental home of Bannon’s third wife. But I bet it was on page 1 of the New York Times?

        1. Yes, well everyone knows he was found slumped over at his desk working on a book about his art collection. Or something. 😉

        2. Since you are interested in the game, let’s play how did Seth Rich die?

          Didn’t Donna Brazil dedicate her book to him? Why?

          From Donna Brazil’s book “Hacks”

          “I felt some responsibility for Seth Rich’s death. I didn’t bring him into the DNC, but I helped keep him there working on voting rights. With all I knew now about the Russians’ hacking, I could not help but wonder if they had played some part in his unsolved murder. Besides that, racial tensions were high that summer and I worried that he was murdered for being white on the wrong side of town. [My friend] Elaine expressed her doubts about that, and I heard her. The FBI said that they did not see any Russian fingerprints there.”

          Yet, no investigation of the DNC computers
          Known involvement with the Russians
          Russians? DNC and Russians? DNC?

            1. Linda, I love the one-word answer that says so little. Come out of that dense forest and look around at the world.

  11. As a public figure, it would be extremely unlikely for Moore to prevail in a defamation lawsuit. As for the women, it is still to early to rule out a lawsuit on their part.

    1. Vince, you are correct. Plus, if Moore filed a defamation action against the women it would provide little if any indication that he is not guilty. Well, maybe this would help his supporters ease their conscience.

  12. While I did not date dozens and dozens of women of any age, I have a clear recollection of every woman I dated even once and I am near Mr. Moore’s age. Even if this proves untrue, maybe we should be concerned about his mental capacities.

    1. Moore like Trump won’t sue his accusers or the Washington Post. They don’t want to undergo the discovery process.

        1. Mike Appleton, are there any biblical verses against, say, adultery, for instance, or against ogling or groping young girls? No. Wait. “Coveting.” I think that’s the word The Bible uses. Maybe Prairie Rose can weigh in on that question.

  13. Too bad for Moore if he is innocent of these charges, but given the number and apparent credibility of these charges, Moore is no longer a viable candidate.

    Time to quit and defend himself – to hang on will result in a lost race (and the disappointment of the Alabama electorate). If he is being unjustly accused, perhaps Moore can salvage his reputation; his political career is gone.

    As a sheriff said regarding a legal injustice: “It ain’t right, but it is so.”.

  14. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – it is usually a duck. Someone in his 30’s dating teenagers is usually either very insecure or worse.

      1. Jay: you can be “horny” with a woman of any age. When you are in your 30’s and go after a girl young enough to be your daughter, you are a sexual predator.

  15. Turley cites the following from Moore’s interview with Hannity:

    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.

    Why would Moore mention his accuser’s statement that her mother encouraged her to go out with Moore right after stating that he doesn’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother? What is Moore up to with that?

    1. “MOORE: I don’t remember that and I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”

      Good point, L4D.

      Further, if Moore were dating adult women, why would he seek the permission of their mother’s?

      And why is an ADA hanging around family court trying to meet mothers and daughters? Isn’t that a violation.

      Can you imagine being involved with proceedings in the court and having to explain to an ADA why you don’t want him calling your daughter?

      1. BFMike, your questions are far better than mine. I’m still trying to figure out whether the mother gives permission to Moore or to her daughter. Does Moore ask the mother for permission to date the daughter? Or does Moore ask the daughter to bring a note from her mother?

        In any case, Moore’s statements to Hannity presuppose the circumstances and conditions under which the accuser’s allegation against Moore might be true. It’s awfully close to a conditional confession. The condition being that Moore can’t remember. Why not? Because Moore was in those circumstances and conditions so frequently that he lost track of all of the daughters and all of their mothers???

        If Moore’s defense is that he had “permission from the mother,” can he make that defense without remembering his own actions? Is it legally permissible for Moore to defend his own actions solely on the basis of his accuser’s statement about her mother’s encouragement? Because his accuser’s memory is so much better than Moore’s memory???

        P.S. There’s a scene in a movie entitled “The Fifth Element” where Bruce Willis tries to kiss Mila Jovovich who tells him, at gunpoint, “Never without permission.”

        1. More afterthought questions: Could Moore remember, if asked, ever having dated a girl WITH her mother’s permission? And, if so, could Moore remember, if asked, whether he would have been willing to take the girl’s word for having been encouraged by her mother to go out with Moore? Would any of the answers to those questions absolve or otherwise exonerate Moore in terms of legal culpability or Judeo-Christian ethical culpability?

        2. Diane is suggesting that some 40 years ago it was improper to ask a girl’s parents if he could date the girl especially when she was younger. Though perhaps not the most common ritual it was common enough and sometimes that became an opportunity for the man to meet the parents and get their permission. I understand, Diane, that some woman upon meeting a man just went to bed with him and let the parents know after it was already obvious.

          I think, though a bit quaint, the idea of meeting the parents wasn’t such a bad idea. In fact, I made sure to know who my young daughter was going to go out with and not infrequently spoke to the young man. Some parents don’t give a damn what their kids do and that has left us with a problem of drugs, young pregnant women, and unemployed kids. You probably find that acceptable. You demean this type of behavior (terrible parenting) by being sarcastic in asking if the mother is asked personally or provides a note. This is a sign of stupidity.

          Whether or not Moore is guilty is something we probably will never know. Many reports place the girl’s age at 16 and for those times an affair was not so unusual at that age nor was it criminal. The statute of limitation exists because memories dim and evidence disappears. People also change. How long has Moore lived a life unmarred by a proven extramarital affair? I believe over 30 years.

          What we are seeing is a political attack right before an election no matter what the circumstances or the history. Those on the left and off the deep end would like to see an end to cultural norms thinking a grand “dictator” can create new ones. He can only do that for the short time he is in power. Social norms develop over centuries or millennia and they are codified into law. The double standards we are hearing from the left would have ended the careers of many Democratic Presidents and many Democratic politicians, but for Democrats, those on the left prefer to twist the law so that for decades a Harvey Weinstein could be in the public eye without anyone noticing.

  16. Prof, I am disappointed at your lack of linguistic precision. Moore is not accused of pedophilic tendencies. He is accused of ephebophilia, the attraction to older teens.

  17. Aside from these atrocious allegations, Moore is an exemplar of the dominionist, Christian Taliban.

    He can believe in whatever religious garbage he wants — as a private citizen — but he can’t use the government as a tool to promote that garbage.

    1. Dave137, maybe Moore’s statement to Hannity is a religious defense of his actions, even though he probably claims that he can’t remember for legal reasons. Maybe there’s some sort of Old Testament exemption for coveting someone’s young daughter if her mother or father permit it.

      1. Diane, your conclusions precede the evidence. That makes you very unreliable and a political hack. Politics has to rid itself of your kind.

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