MONTGOMERY, Ala. A federal jury awarded Republican Roy Moore $8.2 million in damages Friday after getting a Democratic-aligned super PAC defamed him in a TV ad recounting sexual misconduct accusations during his failed 2017 U.S. Senate bid in Alabama.
Jurors found the Senate Majority PAC made false and defamatory statements against Moore in a single ad that attemptedto highlight the accusations against Moore. The verdict, returned by way of a jury following a brief trial in Anniston, Alabama, was a victory for Moore, who has lost other defamation lawsuits, including one against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
Were very thankful to God for a chance to help restore my reputation that was severely damaged by the 2017 election, Moore said in a telephone interview.
Ben Stafford, a lawyer representing Senate Majority PAC, said within an emailed statement they believe the ruling will be overturned on appeal.
Moore, a former Republican judge known for his hardline stances opposing same-sex marriage and supporting the general public display of Ten Commandments, lost the 2017 Senate race after his campaign was rocked by misconduct allegations against him. Leigh Corfman told The Washington Post and said Moore sexually touched her in 1979 when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Moore denied the accusation. Other women said Moore dated them, or asked them from dates, if they were older teens.
The accusations against Moore contributed to his loss to Democrat Doug Jones, the initial Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in a quarter-century. The seat returned to Republican control with the 2020 election of Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach.
Senate Majority PAC funded an organization called Highway 31 that ran a $4 million advertising blitz against Moore.
The lawsuit devoted to one TV commercial that recounted accusations against Moore. Moores attorneys argued the ad, through the juxtaposition of statements, falsely claimed he solicited sex from girls at a retail center, including another 14-year-old who was simply working as a Santas helper, and that led to him being banned from the mall.
The advertisement began with: What do individuals who know Roy Moore say? It followed with the statements Moore was actually banned from the Gadsden mall for soliciting sex from girls and something he approached was 14 and working as Santas helper.
Wendy Miller has previously testified that she met Moore when she was 14 and working as a Santas helper at the neighborhood mall. She testified Moore informed her she was pretty, asked her where she visited senior high school and wanted to buy her a soda. He asked her asked her out 2 yrs later, but her mother informed her she cannot go.
Moores attorneys argued the juxtaposition of statements in the ad painted Moore in a false light and falsely managed to get appear to be he was soliciting sex from girls at the mall.
Within their ad they strung quotes together to create a single statement. Thats what the jury found offensive. They got up and lied and said they didnt intend that, Jeffrey Scott Wittenbrink, a lawyer for Moore, said.
The Senate Majority PAC had argued the ad was substantially true and that there have been widespread reports about Moores inappropriate behavior at the mall. A lawyer said they planned to appeal.
In accordance with a Thursday court filing from Senate Majority, a Gadsden officer who worked as security at the Gadsden Mall in the late 1970s – J.D. Thomas – testified he told Moore never to go back to the mall after receiving complaints from store managers that Moore was asking out teen employees or making them uncomfortable. Moore maintained he was never banned from the mall.
No quantity of deflection or distraction from Roy Moore changes the truth that multiple individuals testified under oath to corroborate credible accusations against him. Numerous others attended forward to create their allegations public, at serious personal cost. We usually do not think this verdict may be the right decision, but we believe the reality are clear which ruling will undoubtedly be overturned on appeal, Stafford, a lawyer representing Senate Majority PAC, said within an emailed statement.
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