A lawyer for Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore on Wednesday suggested a yearbook signature presented by a woman accusing Moore of sexual assault could be fake.
In a defiant press conference Wednesday outside of the Alabama Republican Party headquarters, Moore attorney Phillip Jauregui sought to discredit the accusations from Beverly Young Nelson.
Jauregui repeatedly noted Nelson’s association with the famous lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented women who accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, and called on them to release the yearbook for handwriting analysis.
"We demand you immediately release the yearbook to a neutral custodian so our expert can look at the actual document, release the yearbook so we can determine is it genuine or is it a fraud," Jauregui told reporters in Birmingham.
On Monday, Nelson said at a news conference that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old. As proof that the two knew each other at the time, she and Allred presented a high school yearbook Nelson said was signed by Moore.
The message read: "To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A."
Jauregui implied that the entire yearbook note was not written by the same person. And he claimed that the “D.A.” next to Moore’s name were the initials of his assistant at the time, a sign that the assistant had actually stamped Moore’s signature.
Along with questioning the yearbook signature, Jauregui attempted to poke holes in Nelson's story by noting that Moore presided over her divorce hearings in 1999.
He also defended Moore’s character, saying he's never seen him act inappropriately around women in the 24 years he’s known him.
“I’ve been with him in probably over 100 different meetings and been probably around an excess of 10,000 different ladies in Judge Moore’s presence,” Jauregui said. “Not once, not one time have I ever seen him act even remotely inappropriate against any women, toward any women. That’s the man that I have known for the past 24 years.”
Nelson was the second woman to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct in the past seven days. Last week in The Washington Post, a woman accused Moore of touching her sexually when she was 14 years old and he was 32. Three other woman said Moore pursued a relationship with them around the same time when they were teenagers.
Minutes after the press conference wrapped up Wednesday, a new report emerged where a woman accused Moore of groping her in 1991.
Tina Johnson told AL.com Moore had grabbed her buttocks while she was at a law office to sign over custody rights for her son to her mother. Moore, who was married, was hired by Johnson’s mother to handle the case.
The stream of accusations have thrown Moore’s campaign into turmoil as Washington Republicans flee his side and poll numbers show his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, surging.
Some Republicans who withdrew their endorsement have criticized Moore’s denials. While Moore denied the allegations of sexual impropriety, he was less direct when discussing whether he dated teenagers above the age of consent as an adult.
When asked by Hannity if it would be “unusual” for him to have dated a 17-year-old girl, Moore replied: “Not generally, no. If I did, I’m not going to dispute anything but I don’t remember anything like that.”
But despite the rush away from him in Washington, there are no signs that the Alabama GOP will turn against him. It’s too late to remove Moore from the ballot, and only the state GOP can withdraw official support that would render him ineligible for election.
Moore rose to fame as a justice on the Alabama Supreme Court. In 2003, he was removed from the court when he disobeyed a federal judge’s order to take down a Ten Commandments monument commissioned for the court building. Jauregui represented Moore in that fight.
Moore was suspended from the court again after his 2012 election when he told probate judges to keep enforcing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage despite the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize it nationwide.
- This story was updated at 6:08 p.m.