To hear former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore talk, the allegations that he molested women and pursued girls young enough to be his daughter back in the 1980s and 1990s is nothing more than a massive conspiracy to derail his bid to take the Senate seat of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. With few exceptions, his only response to the claims from at least nine accusers and several eyewitnesses has been some variation of “(noun)(verb) FAKE NEWS!”
Well, Moore is preparing another response as well. He has already threatened to launch libel suits against number of media outlets who have reported on the scandal. On Tuesday, he announced plans to sue some of the accusers as well.
Moore had a chance to join his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, for a candidate forum in Huntsville. But Moore refused; he has let it be known that he will not debate Jones because–wait for it–Alabamians already know where he and Jones stand. Instead, he chose to sit down for an interview with Scott Beason, a former state senator who now hosts a talk show that airs on Charter Spectrum’s cable systems across Alabama.
Beason made it clear to his Twitter followers that this was going to be a softball interview.
— Scott Beason (@ScottBeason) November 22, 2017
Just in case Beason hadn’t made himself clear, he led off the show by harrumphing that The Washington Post made a “political decision” with the intention of making “a political point” when it decided to run its initial story two weeks ago. Uh huh. So it was a “political decision” to actually spend several weeks reporting this story?
Beason wanted to give Moore a forum where he didn’t have to worry about “a bunch of liberal reporters screaming like yappy dogs asking dumb questions.” Moore eagerly obliged, denying that he didn’t even know Leigh Corfman, Beverly Young Nelson, or any of the other accusers. For good measure, he denied dating underage women–contradicting his now-infamous statement to Sean Hannity that he dated teenage girls with their parents’ permission.
When Beason asked him if he intended to sue The Post, as well as other media outlets, Moore replied that he was doing just that–and had other targets in mind.
“We’re talking about The Washington Post. We’re talking about the women involved.”
Moore didn’t elaborate, saying that there were a number of things due to come out “that I can’t talk about.” But based on what we already know, it can safely be assumed that Moore is on a fool’s errand.
Apparently Moore forgets that as a public figure, the only way he can win a libel suit is if he proves actual malice. That is, he would have to prove that the newspapers and television stations covering this scandal either published or broadcast stories that they knew were bogus, or acted with reckless disregard for the truth. As an experienced lawyer, Moore is almost certainly aware that this is a very high bar to clear. Moore has made only made a few substantive attempts to respond to the allegations–apparently in an attempt to prove actual malice. But those efforts have fallen flat.
He tried to challenge Beverly Nelson’s credibility by claiming that she had no problem letting him handle her divorce in 1999. But a review of case files shows that a different judge handled the initial matters in that divorce, and the case was dismissed before she would have ever had to appear before Moore. This was turned up by a lowly Twitter user, and subsequently corroborated by multiple outlets. If a private citizen could debunk that, what else could be debunked in discovery?
Apparently Moore didn’t learn. On Tuesday, his campaign team tried to claim Leigh Corfman lied about where she lived when she claims that he picked her up for a sexual encounter in 1979–and that it had the documents to prove it. But when reporters for The Post wanted to see the supposed documents for themselves, campaign officials refused, saying that they worked for a “worthless piece of crap.” So The Post was actually trying to find out the truth–only to have campaign officials deny them a chance to do so. Not exactly reckless behavior on The Post’s part.
So Moore’s only two attempts to mount a defense have exploded in his face. And yet, he’s still making noises about taking the press and the accusers to court. There are only two possibilities–neither of which allow Moore to look good. It’s possible that he’s merely engaging in political grandstanding to whip his supporters into a frenzy by showing that he’s willing to take on those librul fake news peddlers at the Amazon Washington Post. Another possibility is that he’s hoping to bottle his accusers up in court and make them back off because their resources are dwarfed by Moore’s resources–a tactic from Donald Trump’s playbook.
Whatever the case, if what we already know is any indication, Moore’s legal threats will likely end in the same manner as his attempt to respond to the allegations. He’ll only prove what we already know–that he is a swamp creature of the worst type.
(featured image courtesy Moore’s Facebook)