Moore threatens lawsuit over story that threatens campaign
WASHINGTON (AP) — Alabama Republican Roy Moore says a lawsuit will be filed over the newspaper report carrying allegations he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl four decades ago and that neither Democrats nor Republicans want to see him win a special Senate election.
While pressure to quit the race four weeks before Election Day intensified from within the Republican Party, Moore assured supporters Sunday night at a Huntsville, Alabama, gym that the Washington Post story was “fake news” and “a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign.”
Moore said allegations he was involved with a minor child are “untrue” and said the newspaper “will be sued,” drawing a round of applause. The former judge also questioned why such allegations would be leveled for the first time so close to the special election in spite of his decades in public life.
“Why would they come now? Because there are groups that don’t want me in the United States Senate,” he said, naming the Democratic Party and the Republican establishment and accusing them of working together.
The Post story quoted four women by name, including the woman who alleged the sexual contact at 14, and had two dozen other sources.
Moore also tried to raise money from the controversy, writing in a fundraising pitch sent about midafternoon that the “vicious and sleazy attacks against me are growing more vicious by the minute.” He told supporters, “I’m counting on you to stand with me at this critical moment by chipping in a donation to help me bust through the vicious lies and attacks and get the truth out to as many voters as possible before Dec. 12.”
Another fellow Republican, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, urged Moore to drop out of the race. He said Moore’s explanations had been inadequate and Republicans should consider Sen. Luther Strange as a write-in candidate to run against Moore. Strange lost the Republican primary to Moore in September.
Even if Moore were to step aside, his name would likely remain on the ballot. And any effort to add Strange as a write-in candidate would threaten to divide the GOP vote in a way that would give the Democratic candidate a greater chance of winning.
Toomey did not rule out the possibility that Senate Republicans might work to unseat Moore if he wins the special election against Democrat Doug Jones.