Speed Reads

Roy Moore

In trying to discredit an accuser, Roy Moore and his lawyer apparently got some basic facts wrong

In a press conference and open letter to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday, Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore and his lawyer Phillip Jauregui tried to poke holes in the account of Beverly Young Nelson, a woman who accused Moore of violently sexually assaulting her in his car when she was 16 and he was in his 30s.

Jauregui suggested that Moore's inscription in Nelson's high school yearbook was forged and argued that Nelson was wrong when she said she "had never seen nor had any contact with Judge Moore. 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 in Etowah County, and the judge assigned was Judge Roy S. Moore, the circuit judge of Etowah County." Ergo, "there was contact," he said.

There actually doesn't seem to have been any contact, report David Kumbroch and Brian Lawson at WHNT News 19 in Huntsville. "A careful review of court records and a conversation with Nelson's lawyer in that divorce case confirm Nelson never had reason to appear before Moore." Moore's signature did appear on the motion to dismiss the divorce case, after Nelson and her husband decided to reconcile, "but even Moore's attorney says the signature was stamped by an aide," Kumbroch and Lawson note, and her lawyer at the time has no record or recollection that they appeared before Moore. All the other documents in the case were signed by Judge W.D. Russell. (Nelson and her husband ended up divorcing later, but before a different judge.)

Moore's pushback seems to have been enough for Hannity. Alabama voters will get to decide Dec. 12.