The defense for two-time failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore began Friday in the defamation trial between Moore and Leigh Corfman, who accused the longtime Alabama judge of molesting her when she was 14. Corfman told her story to the Washington Post in November 2017, when Moore was running in a Senate special election.
To refresh your memory, Corfman told the Post that Moore assaulted her in 1979 when he worked as a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Corfman said she first met him outside of the Etowah County courthouse while waiting with her mom for a custody hearing to begin. Both women said Moore offered to watch the adolescent Corfman while her mother, Nancy Wells, attended the hearing.
The Post reports:
Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.
Moore has denied the allegations since the original story. But Corfman’s accusations—along with the credible accounts of eight more women when they were young teens—defined the final month of a close race to fill Jeff Sessions’s former seat. Democrat Doug Jones was waffling in the polls, but after the Post story, outside donors poured into the campaign’s coffers. Jones beat Moore by less than 2 points.
Corfman sued Moore for defamation in January 2018, and Moore later countersued. His suit is on pause while Corfman’s plays out. On Wednesday she told the court that Moore damaged her reputation. “This has taken everything I’ve done in my life and put question on it, and that’s damaging. He has impugned my veracity,” according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “Made it so words that I speak are not trusted, and that’s damaging, damaging enough.”
Last week, Moore testified, saying he didn’t date “underage women” or as normal people call them, girls. He also denied even knowing Corfman. “I generally did not date girls in high school,” Moore said on the stand, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
On Friday, his wife, Kayla Moore, testified that he was a “perfect gentleman” while they dated in the early 80s. In her testimony, Kayla said the accusations were an attempt to stop his political career. “To me, it was just a tactic to try to hurt him,” she said, according to the newspaper.
However, on cross-examination by Corfman’s attorney, Kayla admitted she didn’t know her husband at the time of the alleged assault in 1979. Attorney Jeffrey Doss asked, “You have no personal knowledge of what Roy Moore was doing or what happened between Roy Moore and Ms. Corfman in February 1979?” And she replied, “That’s true.”
Even for the conservative nature of Alabama politics, Moore was already a reactionary figure. He is vehemently anti-abortion, homophobic and transphobic. In fact, Moore blamed “the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered” for the sexual assault allegations at the core of this lawsuit against him. Another belief he’s said aloud is that 9/11 was punishment for turning away from God.
Testimony continues today, but the jury is expected to start deliberating later in the week.