News & Politics

Sexual Assault Accuser Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Roy Moore

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore waits to speak at a news conference Nov. 16, 2017, in Birmingham. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

On Thursday, Leigh Corfman, one of the women best known for accusing former Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault, filed a defamation lawsuit against him. She mentioned the polygraph test Moore claimed to have taken that allegedly disproved Corfman’s accusations.

Corfman emerged as one of the most noteworthy of Moore’s accusers, as her claims were the most salacious from the original Washington Post story published last November. She accused the candidate of unwanted sexual touching when she was 14 years old and he was in his thirties. This would have constituted statutory assault at the time, even had Corfman been willing.

According to the lawsuit, Corfman decided to sue after Moore continued attacking her character after the December 12 election. On December 27, Moore and his campaign filed a request with the Alabama secretary of State, attempting to delay certification of Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in the election. With that request came an affidavit stating that Moore took a polygraph concerning the sexual assault allegations by the plaintiff and two others.

“Mr. Moore’s statements about Ms. Corfman, including those in his affidavit made under penalty of perjury, are false and defamatory,” the lawsuit alleges. “Mr. Moore made these statements knowing that they are false.”

“Since the publication of the Washington Post article on November 9, 2017, Mr. Moore has repeatedly attacked Ms. Corfman despite knowing that he sexually abused Ms. Corfman when she was 14 years old,” the lawsuit explains.

The suit goes on to explain that Moore accused Corfman of “lying and having improper purposes” in comments “at campaign rallies, in interviews, on the internet, on the radio, on television, and in newspapers.” The suit quotes Moore’s claims that Corfman’s account “is ‘completely false,’ ‘malicious,’ ‘politically motivated,’ that it reflects ‘the immorality of our time,’ and that ‘there is not one ounce of truth in her accusations.'”

Furthermore, the suit lays out attacks leveled against the plaintiff that stemmed from Moore’s assault on her credibility. Among other slights, the suit listed, “‘Paid Lying Whore’; ‘#Leigh Corfman was a 14 year old whore. #FakenewsCNN at its best. #JudgeRoyMoore #MAGA’; and ‘Corfman is one big liar.'”

The lawsuit does not seek restitution in the form of a concrete dollar amount, but her lawsuit does demand the court’s recognition of her claims and a formal apology from Moore. Here are the plaintiff’s requests:

1. Ordering that Defendants have defamed Ms. Corfman by the statements described in this Complaint;

2. Ordering Defendants to retract all defamatory statements made against Ms. Corfman, to publicly apologize for these defamatory statements, and to refrain from making further defamatory statements;

3. Directing Defendants to pay the costs and expenses of this action; and

4. Providing further relief as permitted by law and as the Court deems appropriate.

The sexual assault allegations seem most likely responsible for Roy Moore’s defeat in December. Democrats banded together to take the Alabama Senate seat, with even former president Barack Obama campaigning on behalf of Doug Jones.

Moore lost the election on December 12 to Jones, who was sworn into the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Moore has yet to concede the race.

Moore’s loss may actually have been a boon to Republicans, as Democrats would likely have branded 2018 Republican candidates as being in league with a child molester. Some leveled ugly threats against a pastor who hosted Moore for a non-political speech — one in particular wished the pastor’s children would be molested.

Not all of the accusations seemed equally credible, but Corfman’s story always seemed one of the most reliable.

It seems unlikely either Moore or his accusers will receive ultimate vindication, but this lawsuit aims to achieve that last moral victory.