Even if the jury is theoretically still out on whether Roy Moore is a serial philanderer and sexual harasser, it is already clear beyond all doubt that the former Alabama chief justice is not fit to serve in the Senate. For the most part, Moore’s response to claims from multiple women that he either molested or improperly pursued them has been to scream that they are fake news intended to derail his bid to take the seat of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It is simply beyond belief that a veteran lawyer and judge would peddle such a response when he almost certainly knows it wouldn’t fly in a courtroom.
On Thursday, more evidence emerged that Moore is not fit to clean the Senate Chamber, let alone serve in it. He’s trying to brand one of his accusers as a liar, but closer analysis reveals that he is the one who is lying.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Moore’s legal team took dead aim at Beverly Young Nelson, who claims that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was in her teens. Moore lawyer Phillip Jauregui claimed that Nelson was lying about not having contact with Moore, who was then circuit judge of Etowah County, during her 1999 divorce case. Jauregui claimed that when Nelson, then known as Beverly Harris, filed for divorce, the case was assigned to Moore–and “there was contact.”
Moore himself pounded heavily on this in his open letter to Sean Hannity, which he posted on Twitter just hours after the press conference. Moore claimed that when he was assigned to Nelson’s divorce, it “apparently caused her no distress”–a marked contrast to her emotional press conference on Tuesday.
But the actual case record tells a different story. Twitter user “@rkfatheree” took a peek at the filings from the Alabama courts Website, and discovered that the early documents in the case weren’t signed by Moore.
BREAKING NEWS: Re: Beverly Young Nelson's divorce for which Roy Moore was assigned as circuit judge. I will post supporting documents in a minute, but have to clean them up to remove private information.
— Half-Blind Trust (@rkfatheree) November 16, 2017
The 1999 divorce filed by Beverly Young Nelson, then Beverly Harris was indeed assigned to Roy Moore. However, all early documents are signed by district judge W.D. Russell. Moore only signed the dismissal, delivered by Beverly's attorney.
— Half-Blind Trust (@rkfatheree) November 16, 2017
“@rkfatheree” extended an open invitation to the media to check his work. ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford took up that offer and checked the case file for himself.
In May 1999, Nelson–then known as Beverly Harris–filed for divorce. On May 25, the initial hearing was scheduled for June 16. But that order wasn’t signed by Moore. It was signed by district judge Russell.
On the morning of the hearing, Beverly Harris filed a motion to delay, or “continue,” the hearing after she and her husband agreed to go to counseling in an effort to save their marriage. The motion was granted and signed by Russell–not Moore.
On June 21, Harris filed to dismiss the proceeding altogether. According to the case file, this appears to be the only contact Moore had with the case. Even then, Moore didn’t personally sign the order dismissing the case–a fact that even his own lawyer conceded. Moore had his legal assistant, Delbert Adams, apply a stamp with Moore’s signature on the document.
Since there was no hearing, there was no reason for Harris to even come to the courthouse, let alone have contact with Moore. They ultimately divorced in 2004.
Later on Thursday, Nelson’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that due to the reconciliation, the case was dismissed before her client would have ever had to worry about appearing before Moore. Watch here.
While challenging Moore to appear before the Senate Ethics Committee before Nelson turned over her high school yearbook with Moore’s signature, Allred said she’d recently spoken with Nelson’s lawyer in the 1999 divorce, Rodney Ward. Allred said that Ward told her that when couples reconcile in Alabama, there is no need for a hearing.
Ward corroborated this in an interview with WHNT-TV in Huntsville. He said that his files on the case show no record of any formal hearing. He added that Russell got involved because at the time, the Etowah County circuit court was swamped, and it was customary for district judges to handle the initial matters in divorce cases such as temporary custody and visitation. When the couple reconciled, Moore had his assistant stamp his signature on the dismissal motion since it was his case.
The paper trail in this case proves beyond any doubt that this case was dismissed before Nelson ever had to worry about having any contact with Moore. It’s hard to believe that Moore and Jauregui, two seasoned Alabama lawyers, weren’t aware of this.
In the absence of something we haven’t heard or seen, this paper trail proves that someone is indeed telling a baldfaced lie. And it isn’t Nelson–it’s the Moore campaign. Apparently Moore and his team expected everyone to simply take Moore and his lawyers at their word, and not actually check the record. In short, Moore is trying to play us for suckers.
So we know that Moore is lying about his role in Nelson’s divorce in an attempt to smear and shame her. While it may not prove he is a pervert, it does prove that his time as a public servant has run its course. The only thing we need to hear from Moore on this matter is a full apology to Nelson–while he is withdrawing from the race.
Moore’s career isn’t the only one that should be on life support. On Wednesday night, Hannity stated that he found Moore’s response to his demand to explain the “inconsistencies” in his defense satisfactory. He now believes that it is solely up to the people of Alabama to decide whether Moore gets to continue his campaign.
I lived in Alabama-love the people. THEY will sort through the issues before them and decide. Not DC, McConnell, or Commentators,THE PEOPLE! https://t.co/CuO9nwogpA
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) November 16, 2017
But the only credible reason for Hannity to reverse himself was Moore’s claim that Nelson wasn’t being truthful about not having contact with him during her divorce. Now that we know the record proves otherwise, Hannity has a decision to make. After all, we now know that when Moore claimed he actually had contact with Nelson, he was telling a baldfaced lie.
Unless Hannity is willing to call him out on it, what credibility he still has has just gone up in smoke–and he deserves to go down along with Moore.
(featured image courtesy Moore’s Facebook)