On Monday, a former chief justice of Alabama announced he was taking legal action against what he considered to be an illegal attempt to thwart his 2017 Senate campaign. According to a Facebook announcement shared on his page, Roy Moore is suing his sexual misconduct accusers, claiming that their stories were part of a political conspiracy against him.
"With only 32 days left before the special election 3 women, (not 9 as the press would have you believe) made false and malicious allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Moore dating back 40 years," his lawyer, Melissa Isaak, said in a statement. "Those accusations were made within a few days of each other and made only to ruin and destroy the good name, character, and reputation of Judge Moore."
Isaak said that Moore's accusers were "guilty of slanderous and libelous conduct," and that he was suing "to restore his good name, character, and reputation with the people of Alabama." The lawsuit also names Moore's wife, Kayla, as a plaintiff.
The suit names Leigh Corfman, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Beverly Young Nelson, and Tina Johnson, as well as Richard Hagedorn, who, according to Vice, is a friend of Corfman's. Additionally, the Moores are suing "fictitious defendants 1-19." The suit says their "names will be substituted upon learning their true identities." Moore's lawyer's statement about the case seems to suggest that his camp may not believe that the unnamed accusers exist at all.
Moore is suing those named for negligence, wantonness, defamation, negligent infliction for emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, outrage, and civil conspiracy, AL.com reports.
Corfman's lawyer, Neil Roman, responded to the suit in a statement to the Alabama news outlet. (Corfman's accusations received some of the most wide-spread attention in the press during the race's final weeks.)
"These latest claims by the Moore camp have no more merit than those he has made before," Roman said in his statement. He continued:
Leigh Corfman stands by the accuracy of every one of her statements about Mr. Moore's sexual abuse of her when she was a 14-year-old high school freshman and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Ms. Corfman is no longer a teenager and is not going to let Mr. Moore victimize her again.
Moore, however, maintains that he is innocent. "I never knew them," Moore said at a press conference on Monday, according to The New York Daily News. "There is no truth to [the accusations]."
Last November, a series of disturbing allegations against Moore were released only a month before he was slated to face off against Democratic candidate Doug Jones. The two were competing for a vacant senatorial seat in Alabama, left empty after Jeff Sessions assumed office as attorney general. Many polls had Moore leading in the race before the allegations began to crop up. Afterward, his ratings slipped, and he ultimately lost his bid for Congress.
However, the polls were not a downward spiral. In the month between the accusations being released and the election itself, Jones and Moore were often neck-and-neck, and much of the race's last few weeks had Alabamans and Americans sitting on the edge of their seats. Though the accusations likely had an effect on Moore's numbers, it was not clear in the election's lead up whether they would affect the ultimate outcome. In the end, Jones won by 21,924 votes — less than a 2 percent lead.
Though Moore has remained almost entirely out of the spotlight since his loss to Jones in December, it appears that he is about to jump back into it. The remaining defendants have not yet responded to the lawsuit's announcement.