Roy Moore's lawyer casts doubt on accuser's story, yearbook inscription
5:17 PM, Nov 15, 2017
6:01 PM, Nov 15, 2017
Former Judge Roy Moore continues to deny allegations of sexual abuse against him, his attorney Phillip L. Jauregui said at a news conference Wednesday, during which he attempted to cast doubt on the story of one of Moore's accusers.
Jauregui specifically focused on pushing back on the accusation from Beverly Young Nelson, 56, who said on Monday that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old. Jauregui took issue with the statements of Nelson and her attorney Gloria Allred, saying Nelson falsely claimed that she never spoke to Moore again after the time of her alleged assault.
"As it turns out, in 1999, Ms. Nelson filed a divorce action against her then-husband, Mr. Harris," Jauregui said. "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."
The nature of the divorce case that the Moore campaign raised is unclear, and Jauregui did not elaborate on how much Moore himself was involved.
Nelson said on Monday that Moore wrote an inscription in her yearbook one day in December 1977 that said, "To a sweeter more beautiful girl, I could not say, 'Merry Christmas.'" She said he signed it "Roy Moore, D.A."
Moore denies writing the yearbook inscription, Jauregui said Wednesday, and added that Moore's lawyers have tasked a handwriting expert with evaluating the yearbook. He demanded that Allred and Nelson release the yearbook to a neutral party for examination.
"We'll find out: Is it genuine, or is it a fraud?" Jauregui said.
Allred released a statement after the Moore event on Wednesday, saying they would agree to have the yearbook examined by "an independent expert or experts" after a US Senate committee -- either the judiciary or the ethics committee -- agrees to conduct a hearing into the accusations about Moore.
Allred said Monday that her client would be willing to testify before the Senate under oath and requested a hearing in the next two weeks.
In response to Nelson and Allred on Monday, Moore denied Nelson's accusations or even knowing her.
"I can tell you without hesitation, this is absolutely false," Moore said. "I never did what she said I did. I don't even know the woman. I don't know anything about her."
The Moore campaign event at the Alabama Republican Party headquarters in Birmingham came as the state Republican Party's steering committee convened an emergency meeting in the same city and rumblings increased about alternative paths for the party, including mounting a write-in campaign for the Senate seat Moore is running for.
Republicans in Washington have called increasingly for Moore to step down, and some party leaders have said they would support expelling him from the Senate should he win the election. President Donald Trump has not weighed in directly, though members of his team have said Moore should step down if the allegations against him are true.
"It was incredibly, incredibly painful for him, for his wife, his mom, his daughter, grandchildren," Jauregui said of the allegations.
Fox News commentator Sean Hannity -- a prominent Moore backer -- on Tuesday night said Moore needed to address the allegations substantially within the next day.
As accounts continue to pile up about Moore's past, the controversial Republican nominee has continued to deny any untoward behavior, attacked the media and threatened to take legal action of some kind.