Roy Moore’s campaign descended into full conspiracy theory mode on Wednesday afternoon, as the Senate nominee’s lawyer demanded that attorney Gloria Allred release the yearbook which her client, Beverly Young Nelson, says Moore signed before he sexually assaulted her.
Ms. Nelson came forward on Monday, accusing Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was a 15-year-old waitress and Moore was in his thirties. Nelson claimed that Moore would regularly stop by the restaurant where she worked, touch her hair and comment on her appearance. At one point, Nelson said she got into a car with Moore, where he forced her head into his crotch and tried to pull her shirt off. Moore then threatened her and left her on the concrete floor behind the diner where she worked.
As proof that Ms. Nelson knew Moore, she offered her high school yearbook which was signed, “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House.” Moore’s signature closely matches more recent examples. This would seem to corroborate Ms. Nelson’s version of events. However, in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon Roy Moore’s lawyer, Phillip Jauregui, demanded the yearbook be handed over for expert testing to ensure the handwriting wasn’t “fake”.
“We demand that you immediately release the yearbook to a neutral custodian so that our expert… can look at it,” he said. “Not a copy on the internet. The actual document so we can see the lettering, so we can see the ink on the page.” Notably, however, Jauregui didn’t say that Moore was planning to sue Nelson for defamation — which would require her to turn the yearbook over.
But while Jauregui obsessed over the yearbook, he failed to mount any sort of defense of the allegations, first published by the New Yorker, that Roy Moore was previously banned from Gadsden Mall in Etowah County during the 1980s for consistently trying to pick up young teenage girls there. According to former law enforcement officials, Moore was run out from a number of stores. Gadsden locals later corroborated the story to AL.com, saying that Moore’s predatory nature was commonly known.
“The general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,” one law enforcement source said. “I was told by a girl who worked at the mall that he’d been run off from there, from a number of stores. Maybe not legally banned, but run off.”
And the accusations don’t stop there. At the same time that the press conference was ending AL.com published another story revealing a new Roy Moore accuser. Tina Johnson said that in 1991, during a meeting with Moore, he asked a variety of uncomfortable questions about her daughters, and commented on how “beautiful” her eyes were. When Ms. Johnson was walking out the door of the meeting, Moore is alleged to have grabbed her buttocks.
When asked why she had taken so long to come forward, Ms. Johnson said that she didn’t think she would have been believed.
“Everybody knew it wouldn’t matter,” she said, “that he would get elected anyway because his supporters are never going to believe anything bad about him.”