Neither Roy Moore nor his accuser prevail in dueling defamation suits in Alabama

An Alabama jury found Wednesday that neither former Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore nor a woman who accused him before the 2017 election of initiating a sexual encounter when she was 14 had defamed each other, ending an emotionally charged trial.

Leigh Corfman detailed her allegations in a 2017 Washington Post report, describing how in 1979, Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, had touched her over her bra and underpants and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

Corfman filed a lawsuit against Moore in early 2018, saying he defamed her when he denied her accusations. Moore, who served as the chief justice on Alabama’s Supreme Court before his failed Senate run, later countersued, claiming Corfman made “slanderous” claims to The Post and was trying to hurt him politically.

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The jury decided that neither side had proved its case in a trial where both Moore and Corfman took the stand. Moore was seeking monetary damages, while Corfman asked only for a declaration that she was defamed.

In the aftermath of Corfman’s allegations — and others from those who said an older Moore pursued them as young women — Moore lost his Senate race to Democrat Doug Jones. In 2020, Jones lost to Republican Tommy Tuberville, who holds the seat.

According to local media reports, Moore testified during the trial that he considered Corfman’s allegations “purely political.”

“I never knew Ms. Corfman,” Moore said. “I never knew her, never took her to my home, she was never in my car. I didn’t telephone her. … I don’t know her.”

Corfman testified that she had no reason to lie about Moore.

“I’m not an immoral person,” she said. “I came out and told my truth, and he’s continually called me malicious, and untruthful, false and a liar.”

Corfman’s mother also testified during the trial, reportedly getting tearful at times.