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No, Roy Moore’s accuser didn’t forge his yearbook signature

Beverly Nelson added the place and date. Roy Moore signed a 16-year-old girl’s yearbook in his 30s.

Attorney Gloria Allred (R) looks on as Beverly Young Nelson tears up during a press conference on November 13. Nelson alleges that Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a minor.
Attorney Gloria Allred (R) looks on as new accuser Beverly Young Nelson reacts during a press conference on November 13, 2017, in New York, alledging that Roy Moore sexually assaulted Nelson when she was a minor in Alabama without her consent.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images
Emily Stewart covers business and economics for Vox and writes the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

Roy Moore supporters have latched on to one of his accusers’ acknowledgement she added “notes” under his yearbook inscription to her 40 years ago — a place and date. They count it as evidence that Moore’s accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, was lying about her allegations. While it does mean she added a couple of clarifying details to the note, it doesn’t mean she made the whole thing up.

In an interview with Good Morning America on Friday, Nelson, one of the multiple women who have accused the Alabama Republican of sexual misconduct, acknowledged that she had made an addition to Moore’s inscription in her high school yearbook in 1977 — when she was 16 and he was in his 30s.

Moore’s message, written in cursive: “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore.”

Her addition: “12-22-77 Olde Hickory House”

It is not clear whether Moore or Nelson wrote “D.A.” after Moore’s signature.

A note? Certainly. Proof of fraud? Definitely not.

Nelson, a Trump supporter, alleges that Moore sexually assaulted her after offering her a ride home from the restaurant she worked at as a waitress and has used the yearbook inscription as evidence that they knew one another. From her original November 13 statement, here’s what Nelson alleges Moore did:

Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts. I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.

At some point he gave up. He then looked at me and said, “You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.”

Some corners of conservative media, which has gone all in on Moore in Alabama’s upcoming Senate race, have latched onto Nelson’s admission as proof that she has invented her entire story from thin air. “Forgery 101” reads one Breitbart headline. "WE CALLED IT! Gloria Allred Accuser **ADMITS** She Tampered With Roy Moore’s Yearbook ‘Signature’ (VIDEO)," the Gateway Pundit declared.

But Nelson didn’t say she forged it. Here’s the full exchange with ABC News reporter Tom Lamas:

Lamas: “He signed your yearbook?”

Nelson: “He did sign it.”

Lamas: “And you made some notes underneath?”

Nelson: “Yes.”

Fact checking website PolitiFact rated claims that Nelson admitted to forgery “Pants on Fire” — as in a completely false. “Nelson does not claim she tampered with Moore’s actual signature. She said she added a time and location below the signature. Nelson still attributes the note and signature to Moore,” the site wrote.

Gloria Allred, Nelson’s lawyer, told the New York Times that Nelson had added the printed parts of the note “to remind herself who Roy Moore was, and where and when Mr. Moore signed her yearbook,” adding that Nelson “never said he wrote that.”

Republicans really want to be okay with Roy Moore.

In November, the Washington Post published the accounts of four women with stories about Moore, including Leigh Corfman’s, who said that she was just 14 when she engaged in two sexually inappropriate meetings with Moore, who was then 32, in 1979. Other accusers have since come forward.

Moore has denied all of the allegations against him and sought to cast himself as a victim being targeted because of his Christian faith. Beyond being accused of sexual misconduct, Moore has also said Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress, called being gay “detestable, ” and falsely asserted to a Vox reporter that some Midwest communities lived under sharia law. In September he said last time America was great was during slavery.

Republicans largely threw their support behind Moore when he won Alabama’s Republican primary in September, but they backed away when the sexual misconduct allegations came to light last month. Now, many within the GOP are hopping back on board.

The Republican National Committee reinstated its support of him this week. President Donald Trump has openly endorsed him, including at a rally in Pensacola, Florida on Friday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now back to saying the people of Alabama should decide Moore’s fate, after initially calling for him to step aside.

A handful of Republicans, including Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have continued to speak out against Moore, but they’re largely the exception.

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