The unfolding disaster surrounding Roy Moore truly gets worse the day. In the last 24 hours, two more women with highly compelling accounts described the same conduct of Moore pursuing very young girls while a prosecutors in his 30s. This includes a girl who Moore allegedly pulled out of her trig class in high school to ask out. She said that she later avoided him after one date where she felt he forced himself on her against her will. Moore has made the situation worse with conflicting and unconvincing statements about his alleged penchant for very young girls. However, if Moore’s self-defense has been wanting, the defense by two of his lawyers has been even worse.
Phillip L. Jauregui represented Moore in his unsuccessful effort to defy federal courts (and the Constitution) in refusing to remove the Ten Commandments monument in front of his courthouse and later his defiance of order concerning same-sex marriage. Now he is defending Moore again with equally deleterious results.
Jauregui went on the attack against one of the latest accusers by suggesting that she lied about having no contact with Moore after the alleged abuse in the 1970s. Jauregui declared
“As it turns out, in 1999, Ms. Nelson filed a divorce action against her then-husband, Mr. Harris. Guess who that case was before? It was filed in Etowah County and the judge assigned was Roy S. Moore – circuit judge of Etowah County. There was contact.”
Ok, but how does that really help Moore regarding the underlying allegations? First, it is not clear that Nelson denied any contact, but even if she did this contradiction would not seriously undermine the allegations — particularly when the allegations are consistent with other women.
Jauregui also suggested that Moore did not sign Nelson’s high school yearbook as discussed earlier. He notes that Moore put “D.A.” after his signature but that he was really only an assistant DA. Jauregui suggests that the signature appears to have been copied from court papers. He supplied pictures of the yearbook and the court document to prove the point but the signatures actually do not look the same. Jauregui also demanded that the yearbook be handed over for expert handwriting analysis. The suggestion is that a handwriting expert cannot work off a photo copy which is news to me. While you can test the ink, a photo copy can be used for handwriting analysis. Having the original is always better, but it is not an absolute bar for some analysis.
To use a seven-minute press conference (with no questions allowed from the press) for such marginal issues is self-defeating. It would have been far better not to hold any press conference and reminds one of the disastrous show put on by Lisa Bloom with Kathy Griffin before their very public breakup.
Your client’s organization has made and/or supported defaming statements. This is due to the careless and/or intentionally refused to advance the truth regarding our clients. We also believe that your client, by and through its agents, have damaged our clients by being careless in how they handle headlines and report the contextual of the allegations.
Thus, do you know this clearly, yet significant difference which your client’s publication(s) have failed to distinguish. And the legal requirement that your client retract the stories, to include the details which clearly are false.
Here is the whole letter.
Moore should obviously withdraw from the race. I have practiced for decades and have not seen a more extensive record of witnesses describing such a clear pattern of misconduct. At best it is creepy and at worst criminal. Moore’s effort to portray this as a “spiritual battle” by groups that fear him is ridiculous on its face. It is also not working. He is plummeting in most polls and even Ivanka Trump weighed in to say “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children.”
It is a well known rule of thumb that the first 48 hours of a scandal is the key window to get out a defense and counter spin. That defense however has to be actually effective and not self-incriminating. The defense of Moore has thus far deepened rather than reduced suspicions. At the same time, adding a threat of a lawsuit against the Washington Post is becoming increasing implausible. If Moore has a real defense to offer, it is long overdue and could well become immaterial to the outcome of this election.