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Roy Moore's lawyer challenges Alabama woman's claim of sexual assault

Los Angeles Times

The Senate campaign of Roy Moore of Alabama sought Wednesday to discredit a woman’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her when she was 16, suggesting that what looks like his signature on her high school yearbook could be a forgery.

Moore’s attorney, Phillip L. Jauregui Jr., also disputed a statement by Beverly Young Nelson that she’d had no contact with Moore since the alleged assault took place in 1977 in Gadsden, Ala. In fact, he said, Moore was the judge who presided over Nelson’s 1999 divorce case.

Jauregui demanded that Nelson, 55, and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, give the yearbook to a neutral custodian so that a handwriting expert can examine it.

“Is it genuine or is it a fraud?” he said of the signature.

Allred did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

At a news conference in New York on Monday, Nelson, seated alongside Allred, said Moore, a 30-year-old prosecutor at the time, signed the yearbook: “Love, Roy Moore D.A.”

The encounter occurred at the Olde Hickory House restaurant in Gadsden, where she was a 16-year-old waitress and he was a frequent customer, she said.

A week or two after he signed the yearbook, she alleged, Moore offered her a ride home and she accepted. But instead of driving her there, he parked the car behind the restaurant, groped her breast, tried to shove her face into his crotch and bruised her neck before she stopped him, she said.

“I thought that he was going to rape me,” Nelson said.

Jauregui said that Moore would never have put “D.A.” at the end of his signature in 1977 because he was only an assistant district attorney.

But when he was on the bench overseeing Nelson’s divorce case years later, the initials D.A. would appear at times after his name, Jauregui said. Moore had an assistant, Dilbert Adams, who sometimes used a stamp to put the judge’s signature on documents, then wrote his own initials at the end of Moore’s name.

Nelson’s allegation is one of the more serious sexual assault accusations that have emerged in Moore’s Senate campaign. Another woman says that Moore molested her when she was 14 and he was 32.

Leaders of the national Republican Party have called on Moore to end his campaign and threatened to expel him from the Senate should he win the Dec. 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones. Moore has vowed to stay in the race.

Twitter: @finneganLAT

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