Judge dismisses defamation claim against Roy Moore campaign
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A judge in Alabama has dismissed a defamation claim against Roy Moore’s unsuccessful Senate campaign that was filed by a woman who accused Moore of molesting her decades ago when she was 14.
The case against Moore, which arose from his losing 2018 bid for the U.S. Senate, is continuing and is set for trial this fall.
Montgomery Circuit Judge John E. Rochester last week ruled that Leigh Corfman did not prove that campaign staff and volunteers knowingly made false statements or acted with reckless disregard for the truth, as they denied the misconduct claims in the midst of the 2018 race.
The judge also ruled that Corfman was a limited-purpose public figure, a status that makes a defamation claim harder to prove.
Corfman is among several women who said Moore pursued sexual and romantic relationships with them decades ago when they were teens and he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Moore, an outspoken Christian conservative and former state Supreme Court judge, denied the accusations but the claims became a central issue in the 2018 Senate campaign. Moore lost the race to Democrat Doug Jones.
Corfman’s lawsuit contended that Moore and his campaign defamed her and made false statements such as calling her a liar and immoral.
Moore issued a statement praising the decision to dismiss the defamation claim against his campaign and knocking the news media for not reporting it earlier.
“The court has finally recognized what we knew all along. My campaign for U.S. Senate has in no way defamed plaintiff Leigh Corfman. We look forward to proving in open court, before a jury, her political motivation for making false allegations in my Senate campaign,” Moore stated.
While Moore’s campaign has been dismissed from the lawsuit, Moore has not.
Neil Roman, an attorney with a law firm representing Corfman, confirmed that that case will continue against Moore.
“Mr. Moore has always been the main event,” Roman said.
Moore’s attorneys have argued that there was no defamation and that Moore had a First Amendment right to defend himself.