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Court records may point to timeline of Moore’s alleged assault

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A Washington Post story published November 9 offers a detailed account of Leigh Corfman’s first encounter with then 32-year-old Assistant District Attorney Roy Moore at the Etowah County Court House. The year was 1979, according to The Post, when Corfman accompanied her mother to a child custody hearing. Washington Post reporters Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites say they confirmed the 1979 hearing using divorce records.  Meeting Moore at the Etowah County Court House was also confirmed by Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, now 71, the wife of Dr. Richard Wells. There were at least two custody hearings according to the divorce records one in 1979 another in 1980.

Moore, a Republican, is locked in a heated contest for the U.S. Senate with former U.S. Attorney Democrat Doug Jones.

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Etowah County court records show that in a 1974 divorce settlement between Nancy C. Corfman and Robert R. Corfman, the mother was awarded custody of the minor child, 10-year-old Marjorie Leigh Corfman.

Civil Action No. 28,298 M shows that on Feb. 21, 1979, a joint petition to modify the custody arrangement was presented before Judge James Waid. The Post reported that this was the time Moore met Corfman, however, the reporters did not include the actual files, saying only, “The Post confirmed that her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979 through divorce records.” Court filings in the divorce records show there were subsequent hearings in the 1980s dealing with custody and child support.

The 1979 hearing involved a Consent Decree to modify the custody arrangement out of concern that Corfman’s mother could no longer handle her daughter’s “disciplinary and behavioral problems.” It reads, “Each of the parties have become increasingly concerned and worried about certain disciplinary and behavioral problems being manifested by their minor child….the parties have agreed that the welfare of the said minor child would be best served by placing her into the custody of the Defendant, her father….whose personality is somewhat stronger than that of the Plaintiff and whose home would now offer the supervision, companionship, and counsel of two adults since the Defendant is now remarried while the Plaintiff remains single.”

Judge Waid granted Corfman’s father primary custody, stating, “commencing on March 4, 1979, the Defendant shall have care, custody, and control of the minor child of the parties.”

In the Washington Post article, Corfman says that Moore asked for her number at the courthouse and later called her. The Post report reads, “Days later, she says, he [Moore] picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her.” At the time, Moore owned a mobile home in the Gallant community in Etowah County.

According to Judge Waid’s order, Leigh Corfman would be living with her father on Virgil Drive in Ohatchee, Ala., in Calhoun County no later than March 4, 1979, eleven days after the Washington Post reports Corfman met Moore at the Etowah County Court House. Corfman’s mother retained visitation rights for every other weekend and certain holidays.

The Post also states that Moore picked up Corfman, “around the corner from her house in Gadsden,” which means Moore may have picked up Corfman twice within the eleven days after the consent decree.

Corfman said the second time Moore picked her up, “[H]e took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.” Her statements to the press suggest she was still living with her mother, but the report is not specific on Corfman’s living arrangement at the time of the second date.

Court records show Corfman’s parents living at 104 Boyd Place in Rainbow City at the time of their divorce petition in 1974. In the divorce decree, the Corfmans agreed to sell the Boyd Place property. Real estate filings show Corfman’s mother, Nancy, living at 151 Whittier Street in Gadsden around 1979. Corfman’s father lived in Ohatchee, approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Gadsden at the time of the custody petition. Moore’s trailer, located in Gallant, is nearly 31 miles from Ohatchee or a 42-minute drive according to Google maps.

APR reached out to Corfman’s attorney a week ago but did not receive a response to a request to clarify the timeline or living arrangements in 1979.

Another petition to modify the custody agreement was filed on June 27, 1980, stating, “[S]aid petition being submitted in order to correct certain disciplinary and behavioral problems concerning the minor child…since said consent degree was rendered…the minor child’s disciplinary problem has improved greatly….” The hearing to return custody to Corfman’s mother occurred on August 4, 1980, when Corfman would have been 16 years-old – Corfman was born May 1964. The order returning Corfman to her mother’s home in Gadsden from her father’s home in Ohatchee was signed in October 1980.

During an exclusive interview with NBC NewsCorfman accused Moore of “seducing” her. “I was expecting candlelight and roses, what I got was very different,” she said. “I felt guilty. I felt like I was the one to blame. It was decades before I was able to let that go.”

She also told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that she informed The Post reporters that she would only tell her story, “If they [Post reporters] found additional people.” Corfman said, “They [Post reporters] found those people.” Corfman told NBC that the opportunity to tell her story, “…fell in her lap.”

In the November report, there are no others who claim Moore assaulted them. Two women say they dated Moore with their mothers’ permission when they were 17 and 18. Another says Moore asked her mother if he could date her at 16. The mother remembered telling Moore, “I’d say, ‘You’re too old for her . . . let’s not rob the cradle.’”

Moore supporters have suggested that Corfman, who has had a series of financial problems, is being paid by unnamed sources. Corfman, on NBC, said, “Absolutely not. If anything, this has cost me. I’ve had to take leave from my job. I have no tickets to Tahiti, and my bank account has not flourished. If anything, it has gone down because currently, I’m not working.”

The Washington Post used divorce records to establish the timeline when Corfman first encountered Moore, but failed to include vital dates and actions, including when Corfman moved to her father’s home in Ohatchee in 1979 at age 14, and the later custody hearing in August 1980, when she was 16 years-old, which resulted in her moving  back to her mother’s house in Gadsden.

Two other women have come forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct. Moore has denied all allegations.

 

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House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

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Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”

Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.

 

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Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.

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Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.

The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

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Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.

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Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.

Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

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Court records may point to timeline of Moore’s alleged assault

by Bill Britt Read Time: 6 min
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