Based on the present state of affairs, and assuming there are no further revelations, it looks like Roy Moore will outlast the outrage over the accusations, which he denies, that he molested a 14-year-old girl and assaulted a 16-year-old girl almost 40 years ago. Those serious accusations of criminality have been conflated in the media with non-criminal accusations that Moore dated teenage girls of legal age.

I say “assuming there are no further revelations” because I would not be shocked if more comes out. Moore’s wife complained that the Washington Post is calling everyone the two of them have known for the past several decades, and certainly other major media are conducting similar searches. So what follows assumes there are no new accusers, and no additional evidence to support the current accusations.

If there was a turning point in Roy Moore’s political fortunes, it was the press conference Gloria Allred held with accuser Beverly Nelson, who emotionally described what she said was a sexual assault behind a diner at which she worked.

That press conference gave Moore two things he needed politically: a chance to make Allred an issue in the campaign, and a piece of physical evidence to attack, the handwriting in the yearbook.

That handwriting, which Allred and Nelson said was Moore’s, is disputed by the Moore campaign, and at least superficially it raises questions. As I noted even before the Moore campaign raised the issue, a proper forensic examination of the document requires examination of the original. The Moore campaign has requested an immediate independent examination. That’s the argument Moore’s attorney’s made a day later.

But Allred has refused so far to subject the yearbook to an independent examination, unless done at a Senate hearing, which isn’t going to happen. Allred also refused to declare the signature authentic. Perhaps Allred secretly is having the yearbook examined and will hold a press conference with a qualified document examiner to declare authenticity, but that doesn’t look likely at the moment.

All Moore needs to do politically is to call the accusations into question, to raise doubts, to turn it into a 40-year-old he said/she said dispute. The yearbook that was declared by the media to be proof of Moore’s guilt now has become that cloud obscuring possible guilt.

Given the questions about the yearbook handwriting, it’s not surprising that Moore’s team has focused it’s attacks on the Nelson story. News5 reports, Roy Moore Campaign Attempts To Debunk Accuser’s Claims:

After nearly two weeks of sexual assault allegations from several women, Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Roy Moore attempted to debunk claims from one of his accusers Beverly Young-Nelson.

Moore’s campaign sent the following in a press release:

GADSDEN, Ala. – On Monday evening, the Moore Campaign unveiled statements from key witnesses that completely bust the story of Beverly Nelson and Gloria Allred and further reveal an unconscionable bias on the part of state and national press to hide the truth from Alabama voters who will undoubtedly see through the “fake news” and elect Judge Moore for the man that they have always known him to be.

  • According to a former waitress, Olde Hickory House required employees to be 16 years old. Nelson claims she was 15 when she started.
  • According to two former employees, the dumpsters were on the side of the building. Nelson claimed that they were in the back.
  • Olde Hickory House sat right off of the four-lane highway and had a wrap-around porch with lights all around it. Nelson claimed that the surroundings were “dark and isolated.” 
    Rhonda Ledbetter, who worked at Olde Hickory House for almost 3 years, states that the earliest it closed was at 11 p.m. but she believes it was open until midnight. She is certain it did not close at 10:00 because Goodyear was next door, and employees came to eat when their shift ended at 10 p.m. Nelson claims her story occurred after the restaurant closed at 10 p.m.
  • It is unlikely that there was an entrance from the back of the parking lot, which Nelson claimed existed. Multiple sources have claimed that everyone parked on the sides of the building because there wasn’t much room behind the restaurant, according to Rhonda not enough room to turn around. Renee Schivera stated that a neighborhood backed up to the parking lot and it was adjacent to the backyards of people’s houses, so she did not see how there would have been a back entrance as it would have gone through someone’s yard.
  • Nelson claimed that Judge Roy Moore came in almost every night and sat at the counter, but former employees state that customers at the counter were served by the bartender or short order cook – not served by the waitresses and had no reason to interact with the wait staff. Additionally, two former waitresses and two former patrons state they never saw Judge Moore come into the restaurant.
  • These witnesses have shared their testimony with multiple news outlets. The outlets have failed to report.

Whether these defenses are persuasive were this case to go to trial is not the standard. Moore politically only needs to raise doubts.

Moore’s absolute denials combined with the cloud his team has created gave enough cover that Trump gave a non-endorsement almost-endorsement today:

A second turning point was the accusations, with photo proof, against Democrat Senator Al Franken.

http://www.kabc.com/2017/11/16/leeann-tweeden-on-senator-al-franken/

The Franken scandal took the wind out of the attacks on Moore. Now with John Conyers in the spotlight for settling sexual harassment claims, it’s “a pox on all their houses” atmosphere. That only helps Moore.

The polling initially swung to the Democrat Doug Jones in the days after the accusations were aired, but now the polls have swung back. AL.com reports on the latest polls released today:

Three weeks before election day, two Alabama Senate polls released Tuesday illustrated different pictures of the race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore.

One poll commissioned by Raycom News Network in Alabama had the race in a statistical tie with Moore holding a 2-point lead while a poll released by Moore-friendly Breitbart News showed him with a 6-point lead.

Moore held an 11-point lead in a Raycom poll released the day before The Washington Post published allegations by women who said that, when they were teens, Moore made unwanted sexual and romantic overtures.

Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The Raycom poll had Moore with 47 percent of the vote, Jones with 45 percent, 5 percent undecided and 3 percent planning to cast write-in votes. Raycom said 3,000 likely voters were surveyed by Mobile-based Strategy Research and that the poll has a margin of error of 2 percent. The Raycom story did not say when the poll was conducted.

When asked “what do you think about the allegations made against Roy Moore,” 45% believe all or some of the allegations; 34% do not believe the allegations; and 21% believe some or all of the allegations, but say it has not changed their vote, according to Raycom.

Assuming nothing more comes out, it’s likely Roy Moore will win the Alabama Senate special election. And you will have Gloria Allred and Al Franken to thank, or blame.