UPDATE 3 — 11/16, 10:07 a.m. EST: Multiple media outlets published the stories of four more women Wednesday, aged 18–28 at the time, who were subjected to unwanted sexual advances by Roy Moore.
Nine of Moore’s female victims have now come forward with allegations of what amounts to sexual harassment and assault which occurred in the late 1970s through the early 1990s.
UPDATE 2 — 5:08 p.m. EST: At a press conference in Birmingham, Ala., Roy Moore’s campaign lawyer, Phillp Jauregui, said his client handled Beverly Young Nelson’s divorce case in 1999, contradicting previous statements made by Nelson and attorney Gloria Allred that the accuser never had contact with Moore following the alleged sexual assault incident.
Jauregui also questioned the authenticity of notes Moore wrote to Nelson, implying forgery occurred.
Moore is on record saying he never met Nelson and “doesn’t even know where the restaurant is” where he allegedly assaulted the then-16-year-old.
UPDATE — 3:16 p.m. EST: According to a private National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) poll obtained by Politico, Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore trails rival Democrat Doug Jones by 12 points, 51–39 percent.
The NRSC, a national campaign fundraising organization for Senate Republicans, has withdrawn its support for Moore according to FEC filings on Friday.
A poll conducted by the committee in early October had found the former judge leading Jones by 16 points.
Judge Roy Moore, Republican candidate for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat, has been accused by five women of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Despite calls from the GOP establishment, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice has refused to withdraw from the race.
The latest accusation came after the Washington Post published an article last week which featured the first four victims. After the initial accusations, one Beverly Young Nelson held a news conference in New York on Monday to recount in explicit detail an encounter with Moore which amounted to sexual assault when she was 16-years-old.
“Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts,” Nelson said. “I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch.”
Ms. Nelson said the alleged incident left her neck “black and purple.”
Initially, some conservatives and Moore supporters claimed the accusations were politically motivated. Nelson, however, is a Trump supporter who believes in the direction the president is steering the country and claims her ire is aimed only at the former judge.
While several pastors, fellow legislators and conservative media personalities have continued their public stand for the right wing candidate, Moore’s support is wavering. As more information on the incidents have become public, it’s apparent that Moore’s accusers have validity.
Former White House adviser and Breitbart editor, Steve Bannon, who strongly supported Moore’s candidacy since the primary, for example, has quietly pulled his endorsement. The Daily Beast has even quoted Bannon as saying that if the accusations proved true, “I will put him in the grave myself.”
Fox News’ Sean Hannity also drew the line on Tuesday following the threat of advertisers dropping their sponsorship of both his radio and TV shows, giving the judge “24 hours” to explain himself.
In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other prominent Republicans such as Sens. Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have followed suit, calling for Moore to withdraw from the race. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have denounced the judge’s candidacy.
“I believe he should step aside,” McConnell said Monday. “I believe the women.”
Ted Cruz, who had also endorsed Moore, stopped short of demanding his exit outright, explaining that he’s “not able to urge the people of Alabama to support his candidacy so long as these allegations remain unrefuted.”
So far, Moore has denied the allegations levied against him, but does admit to having dated young women in the past with their “mother’s consent”. Even so, Moore has gone on-the-attack against establishment Republicans, arguing that it is Mitch McConnell who should be removed from office.
Even with the controversy surrounding the beleaguered candidate, the polls remain tight, with Moore hanging to a severely declined three-point lead over Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
However, Alabama is a deep red state with many conservative voters who disagree with Jones on social issues like criminal justice reform and abortion rights, and would rather vote for an accused sexual predator than a liberal Democrat.
[ABC News] [CNNMoney] [Reuters] [RealClear Politics] [CNBC] [New York Times] [Photo courtesy Julie Bennett/AL.com]