Leigh Corfman, the woman who accused former Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, of sexual assault when she was just 14 years old, filed a defamation lawsuit against Moore and his campaign on Thursday.
Moore has repeatedly denied any misconduct, instead painting himself as the victim and calling the numerous allegations against him “completely false” and a “desperate political attack by the National Democratic Party and the Washington Post.” Some key members of the Moore campaign also smeared Corfman. In an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard, Moore campaign chairman Bill Armistead attacked her character, calling her a “problem child.”
In the lawsuit, Corfman states the “baseless and irresponsible attacks” by Moore that came as a result of her speaking out have caused her both emotional and economic harm. According to the suit, members of the public who supported Moore for Senate have made comments on social media calling Corfman a “14 year old whore” and “one big liar.” These comments and attacks from the Moore campaign eventually resulted in Corfman taking a leave of absence from her job, resulting in lost wages.
Some of Moore’s supporters have claimed George Soros paid Corfman to tell her story, but she has made it clear both on television and in the lawsuit that she was never compensated.
“My bank account has not flourished,” Corfman told the Today Show in November. “If anything it’s gone down because I’m not working.”
The lawsuit details that her only motivation in suing Roy Moore is to clear her name and stop the continuing defamatory attacks against her.
Corfman was the first, but not the only woman to come forward with with accusations of sexual misconduct involving Moore when they were minors. Shortly after the Washington Post shared her story, six more women accused Moore of acts ranging from forceful kisses to forcing their head onto his crotch.
Defamation lawsuits have become a savvy legal maneuver for women to hold their abusers accountable after the statute of limitations has run out for criminal charges involving sexual abuse, which usually ranges from 3 to 30 years nationwide.
Corfman’s lawsuit mirrors one filed by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice who accused President Donald Trump of kissing her, groping her, and pulling her into his bedroom. Zervos’ lawsuit doesn’t accuse him of sexual misconduct, but of defaming her by denying the actions and attacking her character.
“And what did Donald Trump, the liar and misogynist, do to cover up his lies? He lied again, and debased and denigrated Ms. Zervos with false statements about her,” Zervos’ attorney, Glorida Allred, said during a press conference in January. Allred explained Zervos had successfully passed a polygraph test in which she recounted the incident with Trump, and Zervos herself said that she will withdraw the suit if Trump admits that he did grope her.
Trump has denied allegations made by Zervos and the other 19 women who have accused him of similar behavior, calling the accusations politically motivated and false.
Similarly, some of the 60 women who have accused Bill Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them decades ago filed defamation suits after Cosby and his team suggested they were liars and extortionists.
Three defamation suits against Cosby have either been withdrawn or dismissed. Another, filed by seven women is pending in Massachusetts.