One of the women who accused Roy Moore of engaging in sexual misconduct decades ago is suing the defeated Alabama Senate candidate and his campaign for defamation.
The Washington Post reports that Leigh Corfman filed a suit Thursday, saying that Moore and his campaign attacked her as a liar when she spoke publicly about her encounter with Moore in 1979.
Corfman told the Washington Post on November 9 that Moore had groped and kissed her when she was 14, and he was a 32-year-old district attorney. (The legal age of consent in Alabama, then and now, is 16.)
Moore denied the accusations against him — which upended his Senate race, which he ultimately lost — calling them “false and misleading.” The candidate also denied knowing Corfman in an interview with conservative host Sean Hannity after the allegations first broke.
Moore repeatedly tried to discredit Corfman, and the other women, throughout the campaign. “Allegations of sexual misconduct with her [Corfman] are completely false,” Moore said during the campaign. “I believe they are politically motivated. I believe they are brought only to stop a very successful campaign, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Corfman is not seeking any compensation beyond legal fees to pay for the suit, though she is asking for an apology and a ban on Moore speaking publicly against her again, according to the Post.
“Just last week, after the election, they filed a lawsuit in which they once again called me a liar,” Corfman said, referring to Moore’s challenge the Alabama Senate election results. She said her defamation suit will allow her to “seek to do what I could not do as a 14-year-old -- hold Mr. Moore and those who enable him accountable.”
Corfman’s suit joins other high-profile defamation suits that seek to hold perpetrators accountable long after the statute of limitation has passed for criminal prosecution or a straightforward civil suit.
The cases typically argue that when the accused deny the allegations against them, they are harming the reputation of their accusers. Multiple women who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them pursued this legal strategy, and the case is still in litigation in a Massachusetts court. (Another defamation suit against in Philly got dismissed, and won’t be reheard. )
President Donald Trump is also the subject of a similar lawsuit involving Summer Zervos, who accused Trump of harassment. A federal judge in New York heard arguments about the case last month; Trump’s attorneys are trying to get the case dismissed.