Roy Moore sues right-wing publication for reporting sexual misconduct allegations
One of the most stunning political events of 2017 occurred when Republican Roy Moore — who was inundated with sexual misconduct allegations involving teenage girls — lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race. Although Alabama is a deeply Republican state that President Donald Trump is almost certain to carry in November, Moore was a badly flawed candidate; regardless, Moore is hoping to run against Jones again this year. And his response to negative publicity from the Washington Examiner is filing a $40 million lawsuit against the right-wing publication.
The Washington Examiner, although clearly conservative, has published a series of articles discussing the sexual misconduct allegations against Moore. In the lawsuit, a 2019 article by journalist Tiana Lowe for the Examiner is described as “libelous” and lacking a “factual basis.”
Legal reporter Jerry Lambe, in a January 28 article for Law & Crime, describes Moore’s lawsuit against the Examiner as full of holes.
“Moore’s complaint appeared to falsely convey the publicly available facts and drastically misconstrue the legal threshold required to prove defamation against a public person in claiming that the story exhibited a ‘reckless disregard for the truth,’” Lambe explains, adding that Lowe’s reporting “was based on more than a dozen allegations and witness statements covered by every major news outlet in the nation.”
On May 28, 2019, the Examiner published a blistering op-ed by Lowe headlined “If Alabamans Vote for Roy Moore, They Deserve Doug Jones.”
Lowe, in her op-ed, stressed, “If Alabamans willfully choose Moore this time, kneecaping their odds of winning the election, they will deserve every insult lobbed their way — and they will deserve every left-wing progressive Democratic vote cast in the Senate on their behalf by Doug Jones.”
Lowe’s description of Jones as a “left-wing progressive” is way off base; the Alabama senator is quite centrist, and philosophically, he has much more in common with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia than he does with staunch progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But Lowe speaks for many on the right when she says that nominating Moore to run against Jones a second time would be political suicide for the Republican Party, which may or may not lose control of the U.S. Senate in November.
Republican Bradley Byrne, who served in the Alabama State Senate in the 2000s, announced in February 2019 that he would be seeking the GOP nomination to run against Jones. Republican strategists have asserted that he would have an easier time defeating Jones than Moore.
"I welcome [Judge Moore] to the race,” @BradleyByrne says, adding that Moore can't win the GOP nomination. “I thin… https://t.co/3fmx4Vaunr— Scott Wong (@Scott Wong)1559066498.0
If Jones can hold onto his U.S. Senate seat while other Democrats unseat four or more incumbent GOP senators — for example, Arizona’s Martha McSally, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Maine’s Susan Collins and Colorado’s Cory Gardner — they would achieve a Senate majority.
In his lawsuit, Moore is seeking $30 million in punitive damages and $10 million for “defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The 72-year-old Republican, in an official statement on Tuesday, stressed, “Like the people of Alabama, I am sick and tired of ‘fake news’ by media organizations which pretend to print the truth but in reality, are politically and philosophically motivated to distort the true facts for their own ends. Unlike some who choose to suffer in silence, I have decided to fight back.”