The story of Roy Moore is falling apart.


  171207_POL_royMoore [19659002] Roy Moore pauses while speaking during a press conference on November 16 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A month ago, when Roy Moore was accused of pursuing teenagers while he was 30, "Do you remember dating such young girls?" Sean Hannity asked. Moore said: "In general, no, if I did, you know, I'm not going to dispute anything, but I do not remember anything like that." Hannity asked Moore about Debbie Gibson, who said she had dated Moore when she was 17 and he was 34. "I do not remember going on dates," Moore said. "I knew her as a friend, if we went on dates, then we did."

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology and other things for [19659006] Slate . He is the author of [1945901] 8] Bearing Right .

Moore's uncertainty worried voters and Republican politicians. Some said their denials were not "strong" enough. Then Moore adjusted his story. On November 27, he declared: "I do not know any of these women." Two days later, he insisted: "I do not know any of these women, I did not date any of these women." Moore began to accuse women of fabrication, malice, immorality and political gambling.

This counterattack may have saved Moore's candidacy. He has given his fans what they crave: a crusade against evil. He also impressed President Trump, obtaining the support and badistance of Trump from the Republican National Committee. "Roy Moore denies it," Trump told reporters on November 21. "He denies it completely

But the hardest line has a cost: it's demonstrably false, Moore knows these women and they have proof to prove it." If Moore is fully investigated by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, he will be exposed not only as a former predator, but as a current defamer.

On November 21, in an interview with Scott Beason on the Alabama Cable Network, Moore said that his accusers were not only wrong about what He said that the incidents they described "never happened" and that they were "invented." On November 27, Moore called his accusations "malicious." On November 29, he falsely implied that they had agreed to appear in television commercials against him., showing that they were not real victims:

As a former prosecutor, judge and president of the court, I have handled numerous cases of rape, cases of abuse and conduct cases. Sexually inappropriate. And I have never had a victim in any of those cases that came after 40 years, only two and a half weeks of a general election, to appear in public political advertisements. It just does not happen.

On Monday, in an interview on American Family Radio, Moore added that Beverly Nelson, who had accused him of forcing her when she was 16 years old, knew that her account was false. Moore said his story was "made to defame my character." He said about the accusations against him: "It simply shows how immorality permeates all aspects of our society."

Moore's surrogates, following his example, have piled on. In national television interviews, Moore's spokeswoman, Janet Porter, has called Nelson a "fraud" and "the forger of the yearbook." Porter says that another accuser, Leigh Corfman, gave "an Academy show" when she described on NBC how Moore had abused her at the age of 14. Another Moore supporter, Alabama representative Mo Brooks, calls Nelson "a liar" and claims that he "suppressed the evidence" involved in his story.

These attacks seem overwhelming, but expose Moore to research for a continuous pattern of lies. On November 21, Moore said that Nelson knew that "a divorce had been filed with me" when he was a circuit judge in 1999 and that, therefore, he was lying when he claimed to have had no contact with him since 1978. ("All in a divorce case he knows who the judge is, "Moore told Beason.) Moore stated that the case" came to me, and after several months … she asked that it be discarded. " This Moore account is demonstrably false. The court records show that the case was before another judge, that Nelson asked the judge to delay a hearing, and that five weeks later, when Nelson asked the court to dismiss the case, Moore's badistant marked Moore's name in the order of dismissal, as a formality, just because he was the circuit judge.

On November 15, after Nelson showed his 1977 school yearbook with an inscription apparently from Moore, he suggested that someone had "manipulated" the inscription, noting that the date and place the attached information was written in a style different. But soon, Moore's replacements began to allege that the entire inscription was a fake. On November 28, Brooks said that Nelson had "falsified" the part of the inscription "Love, Roy Moore", precisely the part that Moore had not initially questioned, since it obviously coincided with Moore's lyrics in other documents. Brooks also claimed that seven of Moore's prosecutors had presented "testimonies or statements … that were in conflict with" Corfman's story. There are no such conflicting statements.

Porter, Moore's spokeswoman, has lied with abandon. She states that on CNN, Nelson's lawyer, Gloria Allred, "would not deny" that Nelson's "yearbook is a forgery." That is a misrepresentation: What Allred demanded was a Senate investigation, under penalty of perjury, in which independent experts compare the yearbook with known samples of Moore's handwriting. Porter also claims that Corfman's mother "disputes her arguments and her case." "Her own mother does not believe elements of her story," says Porter. False again: Corfman's mother confirms her daughter's story and says that she saw Moore meet her daughter, against her statements.

The biggest risk in Moore's strong negative and countermeasures is that the new evidence, as it emerges, will tear you to shreds. That is already happening. On Monday, the Washington Post reported that an accuser, Gibson, had just found her scrapbook in the attic. The scrapbook had a Moore card on which she had written "Happy Debbie graduation" and "I wanted to give you this card myself".

Moore's initial story to Hannity: "If we went on dates, then we did it" -was compatible with the card. But Moore's new story, that he did not know any of his accusers, was not. Then the letter had to be attacked. Moore's campaign strategist, Dean Young, went to CNN to dismiss the card as a meaningless and well-deserved note from a politician. Porter said that Moore was just a "friend of the family" and that Gibson's story – that the card was more intimate – did not pbad "direct evidence".

Unfortunately for Moore, such disputes can be adjudicated. The card was signed with the name "Roy". I was stuck to a page in Gibson's notebook. On another page of the same scrapbook was this note: "Wednesday night, 3-4-81, Roy S. Moore and I went out for the first time, went out to eat at Catfish Cabin in Albertville, I had a great time." If the card is real, then presumably the date between Moore and Gibson was also real.

Young believes that Moore can claim ignorance. "Judge Moore made it perfectly clear: if he dated a teenager, he did not know," Young said Monday on CNN. "I can not tell you how many times I had an appointment and then I asked a girl how old she was." But the graduation card, like the inscription in Nelson's yearbook, shows that Moore knew that both girls were in high school.

What is more damning is the handwriting on the card. It is indistinguishable from the letter in the yearbook. Nelson and Gibson did not know each other, but both have old documents with Moore's signature, and the writing matches other samples. To believe that the yearbook entry is faked, you must postulate that a forgering master somehow had access to Nelson's yearbook in Anniston, Alabama, and Gibson's attic scrapbook in Delray Beach, Florida. And you can not blame the Post that revealed the story of Gibson, but not Nelson's. Only one person had access to both women: Roy Moore.

If the ethics committee holds hearings, Moore will not. just faced these documents. His badertion that the accusations are "completely unfounded, uncorroborated, unfounded" will also be challenged by the supporting witnesses. Corfman's mother could tell the committee what she said to Post : that he was present when Moore met his daughter. Wendy Miller's mother, another girl who Moore pointed out, could confirm the same thing. Nelson's sister is ready to tell the committee what she said on NBC: that in 1979, Nelson told him about his meeting with Moore. The attorney for Gloria Deason, who accused Moore of having a relationship with her when she was 18, says Deason can provide additional details and "is willing to testify under oath before any judicial or governmental body."

Republican senators need to vote. If he wins, they will argue that the voters exonerated him and that his crimes, even if they are true, are ancient history. His Christian followers will add, as some have already done, that God has forgiven him. "Many of the things he supposedly did were decades ago," says Orrin Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate.

But Moore's lies about his accusers are not old. They are happening now. That makes him an unrepentant sinner. It also makes him a good candidate for the ethics committee, which does not like to delve into the past of senators. Open an investigation. Quote the yearbook and the scrapbook. Summon accusers and their witnesses. And Judge Roy Moore.

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