Moore on sexual misconduct allegations: ‘Why now?’

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Saturday once again denied allegations that he pursued sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s, questioning the timing of a Washington Post report detailing the account.

In his first public appearance since the allegations surfaced on Thursday, Moore suggested that the allegations were politically motivated — part of a smear campaign to damage him in the run-up to the December special election in Alabama.

"I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone. These allegations came only four-and-a-half weeks before the general election on Dec. 12," Moore said. "Why now?"

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"People have waited to four weeks prior to the general election to bring their complaints," he later added. "That's not a coincidence. It's an intentional act to stop a campaign."

Speaking defiantly and unapologetically to a small crowd at a Veterans Day breakfast just outside Birmingham, Ala., Moore said that he has been "investigated more than any other person in this country" over the course of his 40-year legal and political career.

"I've had investigations by the attorney general. I've had investigations by the Judicial Inquiry Commission on more than one occasion. I've had investigations by the court of the judiciary. I've been in five state-wide campaigns, in which they do opposition research," he said.

An explosive Washington Post report published on Thursday detailed allegations that Moore sought sexual or romantic relationships with four teenage girls when he was in his 30s. 

Moore, now 70, vehemently denied one of those allegations — that he had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979 — in an interview on Sean Hannity's radio program on Friday. He did not reject outright other allegations that he dated girls in their late teens, but said that he did not remember doing so.

Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and a hard-line Christian conservative, beat out Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeGOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back MORE (R-Ala.) in a runoff election earlier this year, and is set to face off against Democrat Doug Jones in the state's special election.