Puffing up like a blowfish, attorneys representing culture warrior and US Senate candidate Roy Moore, his wife, and their Foundation for Moral Law dispatched cease and desist letters to the Washington Post and AL.com last night, vowing to take further action unless they retract their stories within five days.
But they have no case, and they will never prevail in an actual court of law. These letters are all about putting a legal fig leaf over Roy Moore’s exposed career of alleged violent pedophilia. It’s a show of bravado that must end shortly after the vote on December 12th if Moore wants to avoid a sworn deposition that would embarrass him further.
In a missive that was clearly never proofread for grammar, John G. Thompson of the Garmon & Liddon firm accuses the website of “making false reports and/or careless reporting that has adversely affected my clients, to include but not limited to reporting that a “fifth woman” has accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct or assault which is untrue.”
Inaccurately reporting the income paid by The Foundation. Inaccurately reporting the travel expenses and accommodations of my clients, to include alleging that a private jet was used which is untrue.
Those charges refer to the Washington Post’s reporting, which AL.com merely republished. Of course, that reporting was entirely based on internal documents from Moore’s Foundation as well as mortgage records from the Montgomery County Probate Office, so it would be quite difficult for Mr. Thompson to prove they got the numbers wrong.
Nor has AL.com or the Post accused the Moore family of flying in a private jet; that particular assertion appeared in a TV ad by the Republican party on behalf of Moore’s primary opponent Luther Strange.
Such is the confusion that seems to reign in this letter.
This careless and/or malicious reporting includes reports that Judge Moore was “banned” from the Gadsden Mall, was on a watch list for the Gadsden Mall, had a general reputation of “predatory behavior”, that he badgered teens and had a general bad reputation. Such is untrue and due to be recanted.
Here again, AL.com’s reporting merely restates what Charles Bethea wrote at the New Yorker — and making matters worse for Moore, the local ABC affiliate has talked to some of Bethea’s sources, too. So the universe of people and organizations that Roy Moore would need to sue if he was serious is growing exponentially by the day. For example, he would have to include a former colleague in the local DA’s office who says that “Roy was known to eschew dating his own age and preferred teenagers.”
But the bigger problem for Moore is a total reliance on semantics:
Meaning your client has used terms in reports maliciously or carelessly which has falsely portraying our clients [sic]. Specifically your client’s reports have indicated there are five women accusing Chief Justice Roy Moore of sexual misconduct when in fact only two women have made accusations of sexual misconduct. And both of those women have made false statements which your client has yet to publish. The other ladies which were rounded up in the witch hunt merely allege they perceived him to have made advances, but do not accuse him of any sexual misconduct.
Set aside the fact that Moore is no longer chief justice because he was removed from the bench. Focus on the fact that three women told the Washington Post that they dated Roy Moore when they were still in high school and he was in his thirties, and that this is supposed to excuse him somehow.
Even without the improper touching alleged by Leigh Corfman, who was 14 at the time, or the violent sexual assault that Beverly Young Nelson says Moore committed against her when she was 16, the untouched women were far too damn young for him, and he will not get far in a jury trial by claiming: “But I only touched two of them!”
And so it goes with the “facts” asserted in this cease and desist letter.
Mr. Thompson also alleges that the autograph in Mrs. Nelson’s high school yearbook is not Moore’s, that “experts, to include our own, have confirmed [it] is not consistent with his handwriting (To wit: structure, strokes, slant, base alignment, etc.) and does not comport to his typical vernacular.”
In other words, Moore can present his experts, AL.com can present their own experts, and the jury can decide for themselves whether or not the signature is his.
Roy Moore’s signature from that 1977 yearbook matches Roy Moore’s signature on his US Term Limits pledge this year. pic.twitter.com/4gQz9ytZZX
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) November 13, 2017
That is hardly a solid foundation for a lawsuit, yet it is on the first page of the letter, suggesting that Mr. Thompson thinks it is his strongest argument. It probably won’t help that Moore’s handwriting “expert” appears to be Thomas Wictor, a right wing novelist who bills himself as the planet’s only expert on German flamethrowers of the First World War.
If we are really trying to find and expose deliberate falsehoods, we need look no further than Kayla Moore. Roy’s wife has been all over Facebook in the last two days claiming that the Old Hickory House restaurant did not exist in 1977 (it did) and that it had only opened recently (it did not). And Kayla will certainly make a very interesting witness in any trial, since she was a classmate of Mrs. Nelson, and Roy says in his autobiography that he was first attracted to Kayla while she was in high school. What fun that deposition would be!
That assumes Mr. Thompson and his clients could make it past a motion to dismiss, which seems very unlikely. But again, the point of this cease and desist letter is not to set the stage for a real lawsuit. Rather, the strategy here is to bluster and threaten and feed the denials of Roy Moore supporters until December 12. After that, it won’t matter, and they can all spend the rest of their lives pretending he did nothing wrong.
Read the letter below, via Steve Deace:
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