Roy Moore gives combative testimony in defamation case

0
38
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, left, and his attorney Julian McPhillips leave the courtroom in the Montgomery County Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, following jury selection, as the trial with Leigh Corfman, who accused former Moore of sexual assault, and Moore's defamation lawsuits against each other begins. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

A combative Roy Moore took the witness stand Thursday in a defamation case against him, insisting he did not know a woman who says he sexually molested her when she was 14.

Moore was called to testify by attorneys for Leigh Corfman in a trial dealing with dueling defamation lawsuits they filed against each other in the wake of a sexual misconduct allegation that rocked the 2017 U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

Corfman says the former Alabama judge and failed Senate candidate defamed her when he denied her accusations as false and malicious. Moore countersued.

“I never met that woman,” Moore said loudly, pointing at Corfman as she sat with her attorneys.

The outburst followed an emotional moment earlier in the trial when Corfman testified that Moore knows what he did to her. Corfman said she met Moore in 1979 when she was 14 and he was in his 30s. She described how he touched her over her underwear after bringing her to his home.

At one point Corfman stared from the witness stand at Moore, who stared back at her.

“It did happen, and he knows that it happened,” Corfman testified Tuesday. She said his denials damaged her reputation.

The allegations overshadowed the conservative Republican during the 2017 campaign when Corfman shared her story with a reporter from The Washington Post. Moore ultimately fell in a stunning red state defeat to Doug Jones, the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate in 25 years. Republican Tommy Tuberville defeated Jones in the next election.

The presiding judge had to gently chide Moore multiple times Thursday to answer questions as they were asked.

Asked if he was afraid 2017 voters would view the conduct as inappropriate, Moore said: “The only thing inappropriate in this case is the testimony that I knew her and did anything to her.”

Corfman’s attorneys earlier in the day presented the testimony of four women who said Moore asked them out or dated them when they were teens. None accused him of misconduct

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.