Connect with us

Bill Britt

Majority Republicans doubt Moore’s accusers: some reasons why

Bill Britt

Published

on

By Bill Britt 
Alabama Political Reporter

A new poll by CBS News finds that 71 percent of Alabama Republicans believe the allegations against Roy Moore are false. Of those surveyed, 92 percent of Republicans who don’t believe the claims against Moore think, “Democrats are behind the charges,” and 88 percent say, “newspapers and the media are behind them.” When reports leave gaps in a story or cite inaccuracies as fact, it’s not surprising that a vast majority of Republicans doubt what they read in the news and hear on television.

The Washington Post story that first reported allegations against Moore contains some curious omissions and a significant anomaly among the accounts given by the women quoted in the piece. In the Post report, there is one allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor, Leigh Corfman, who they claim was 14 at the time she met Moore. Of the others who spoke on the record with the Post, two of the women said they dated Moore, with their mother’s permission. One of those two mentioned Moore brought her drinks when she was 18, and the legal age for drinking was 19. One said she met Moore when she was 14-years-old, but he did not ask her mother if he could date her until she was 16, the legal age of consent.

Are we rubes who cannot read nor count?

Advertisement

Just this past week, an Alabama news outlet published a column in which the writer states, “Americans are wondering whether accusations of sexual assault and child molestation by nine women against Republican candidate and former Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore will tip the election to Democratic candidate Doug Jones.”

This is just one of many examples where media groups have televised or published false and misleading statements about Moore’s accusers.

There are not nine women who accused Moore of sexual assault or child molestation. Of the nine women being reported as “Moore accusers,” only three have alleged him with sexual assault. One of those being a woman who says Moore “grabbed” her backside when she was 28-years-old and in the presence of her mother.

Two of the other women said they dated Moore. The others only claim that Moore pursued them when they were of the age of consent.

Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson have accused Moore of sexual wrongdoing.

Was Marjorie Leigh Corfman 14 when she met Moore?

According to the original report by the Washington Post, Marjorie Leigh Corfman was 14-years-old when she met Moore at the Etowah County Court House in 1979. The reporters say they confirmed the date Corfman met Moore using divorce records showing a child custody hearing on Feb. 21, 1979.

Nearly 16 paragraphs into the account, the Post writers say they “confirmed that [Corfman’s] her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979 through divorce records.”

If the reporters had looked a few pages further into the court documents, they would have discovered that Corfman’s mother was present at another child custody hearing on Aug. 6, 1980.

Why does it matter if the day when Corfman met Moore was Feb. 21, 1979, or Aug. 6, 1980? It makes a legal difference because Corfman, born in May 1964, would have been 16-years-old at the 1980 custody hearing, which is the legal age for consent.

In the Post story, Corfman’s mother, Nancy, confirms she was at a child custody hearing in February 1979 but never says that was the time Moore offered to sit with her daughter.

The court records the Post refers to also show that Corfman was living with her father in Ohatchee in March 1979, not in Gadsden where Corfman said Moore, “picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden.” – There was an eleven-day window from Feb. 21, 1979, until March 4, 1979, before Corfman moved to live with her father due to her behavioral problems.

However, if Corfman first encountered Moore outside an Etowah County courtroom on Aug. 6, 1980, then her account fits not only her living with her mother in Gadsden, but it also fits the other womens’ accounts.

Why did the Post not mention the 1980 hearing when Corfman was 16-years-old?

Another curious part of the November Post piece is the inclusion of Corfman’s attorney who represented her until recently. On the day the Post story broke, AL.com published a statement from Leigh Corfman’s attorney, Eddie Sexton, that “Corfman has wanted to publicly talk about the time in 1979 when Moore dated her, but never felt like it was the right time.” Sexton also said that “Corfman had been talking with reporters from the Washington Post for several weeks.”

Sexton is a partner in the Hoover law firm of Gentle Turner Sexton & Harbison. Ed Gentle, the founder of the company, has been treasurer of the Alabama Democratic Party since 2011.

How long before the Post story broke was Sexton serving as Corfman’s attorney? Who recommended Sexton, and who paid him?

These are the kinds of unanswered questions that lead Alabama Republicans to conclude that Democrats are working behind the scene to discredit Moore.

The Post says Corfman was 14 when she dated Moore and he allegedly removed her clothes and partially exposed himself, which is an anomaly. All of the other women who dated Moore during this period were over 16 and said nothing sexual ever happened between them and Moore.

Why did the Post ignore the second custody hearing in 1980? By their own admission, the reporters verified they saw the divorce papers. When did they see them, and who led them to the records?

These unanswered question leave many Republican voters with doubts about the accuracy or fairness in some media reports.

None of this is to disparage Corfman but rather to understand why Alabama Republicans don’t trust the media or Democrats.

Moore has denied all allegations against him.

Of course, those who doubt Moore’s accusers are quickly labeled as ignorant, stupid or worse, not only by those in national media but in state-run news outlets, as well. As a columnist, political historian and TV personality, Steve Flowers has often said, “Alabamians simply resent outside liberals getting involved in their politics.” However, in this case, it’s not just liberal outsiders but a chorus of homegrown opinion writers who have denounced Moore as a child molester, and pedophile without distinction between the words meaning.

When reports are left with gaping holes and news sites publish lies as fact, there is little reason for state Republicans to believe what they hear from the media.

This report is not meant to dismiss Leigh Corfman’s or Beverly Young Nelson’s stories, but there are blanks that surely their lawyers can fill in for those unbelievers.

 

Continue Reading

Bill Britt

The fix was in

Bill Britt

Published

on

Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson’s ruling to allow out-of-state political action committees to donate to in-state campaigns without disclosing its donors through PAC-to-PAC transfers may be the legal fulcrum Democrats need to target key Republican officeholders in the state.

On Wednesday, attorney general candidate Troy King filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court seeking a restraining order to prevent his opponent, appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall, and his campaign from using donations it received from the Republican Attorney Generals Association (RAGA) which doesn’t disclose some of its mega-donors by using PAC-to-PAC transfers.

Judge Anderson ruled against King and dismissed the lawsuit in Marshall’s favor.

Marshall, unlike an ordinary plaintiff, wasn’t present at the hearing before Judge Anderson, which should have alerted the public that the fix was already in.

The State’s Ethics Commission will likely weigh-in on King’s question soon— finding that RAGA’s actions were unlawful—but Thursday’s judgment holds for now, with no consequences for Marshall, win or lose.

Advertisement

In 2010, the state’s newly minted Republican supermajority outlawed PAC-to-PAC transfers as part of its effort to show voters that there was a new day in Montgomery politics.

Since 2010, both Republicans and Democrats have found ways to circumvent FPCA restrictions, but until Thursday, there wasn’t a court ruling that opened a flooded-gate to renew PAC-to-PAC campaigns using outside interest groups.

Republican conservatives who believe that undisclosed donors shouldn’t control the state’s election process through hidden contributions should worry.

Is it now legal for pro-abortion groups to finance judicial races with stealth campaign donations to defeat pro-life candidates like Supreme Court Justices like Tom Parker?

What about Gov. Kay Ivey? Is it now legal for The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) to upend her campaign with hidden contributions to her rival, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox?

Ethic Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton has all but definitively stated that RAGA’s contributions are illegal, but it’s too little too late for this election.

Perhaps none of this matters because it seems that many of the Republicans who passed these bans in 2010, don’t seem to honestly believe in them or any of the ethics reforms that they once championed.

So once again, it’s winning, not the law, that matters, or as a prominent Montgomery attorney said, “When you have a Democrat judge, a Democrat lawyer and a Democrat attorney general what else did you expect?”

More, I guess.

 

Continue Reading

Bill Britt

Opinion | BCA takes out the trash, finally

Bill Britt

Published

on

In a last-ditch effort to save the Business Council of Alabama from the dung heap of political obscurity, President and CEO Billy Canary was pushed out of the business association late last Friday after he waged an ugly and protracted battle to remain in power.

Canary’s fight to keep his job has left the once powerful business interests a hollow and factored alliance with an uncertain future. He didn’t care if he destroyed BCA; it was all about his ambitions.

For years, Canary, along with now-convicted felon former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and former Gov. Bob Riley, reigned over an unparalleled orgy of greed and corruption.

Canary, Hubbard and Riley’s perverse domination of the state’s political landscape was supreme, and even now, the tentacles of their profiteering are evident from the Capitol to the State House and beyond.

Even during this election cycle, Canary has used BCA’s political arm, Progress PAC, to back disreputable candidates who seek to overturn the state ethics laws that convicted Hubbard, advocate for so-called education reform that profits Riley’s business interests and to stall efforts to create a statewide lottery in favor of gambling concessions for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Advertisement

During Hubbard’s last years in office, PCI Vice Chair Robbie McGhee joined forces with Hubbard, in hopes of exercising more sway over Republican legislators. Over the previous year, he coupled the tribe to Canary with the same end in mind. McGhee, who faces a reelection challenge in August, casts himself as a Hubbard-Canary protege. Even now, he tells candidates who come calling for campaign contributions, “We are BCA,” meaning the tribe, under Canary, is controlling many decisions being made at the business association.

McGee, like Hubbard and Canary, is viewed by many as a pariah in the state capital where he still hopes to further the Tribe’s gambling operations by lavishing money and entertainment on Republican lawmakers. Twice now, McGhee has chosen poorly and tarnished the Tribe’s reputation in the bargain. With McGhee’s backing, Canary gave at least $250,000.00 to appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall so that he will continue Riley’s bingo wars.

Hubbard stands convicted on 12 felony counts of using his office for personal gain and other criminal violations of the state’s Ethics Act, yet he remains free because of the corrupting influence of Canary and others of his ilk.

During Hubbard’s trial, Canary said, “I love Mike Hubbard like a brother.” He even waxed poetic, saying his friendship with Hubbard, “Blossomed like any blessing in life.”

So infectious are the remnants of their power that even after two years Hubbard remains free because Court of Criminal Appeals Justices Samuel Henry Welch, J. Elizabeth Kellum, Liles C. Burke and J. Michael Joiner will not rule on his conviction.

Canary, in a face-saving announcement, says he is taking a position as a, “senior fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” which is a nothing job.

Canary, like Hubbard and Riley, pimped the state like a cheap whore, and now he’s busted for the user he is. He left BCA in shambles, and don’t think for a minute that the coalition that left BCA isn’t coming back just because the executive committee finally took out the trash.

Continue Reading

Bill Britt

Opinion | No, Mr. Marshall, it’s you

Bill Britt

Published

on

A few hours after Bridgette Gentry Marshall ended her life on Sunday, June 24, her husband, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, approved a press release that exposed her, “long struggle with mental illness.” Just days later on Wednesday the 27, Marshall summoned the state’s news media to the Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Albertville where, in front of the press and broadcast on Facebook Live, he revealed, in intimate detail, her private battles.

Why he felt it necessary to have his office divulge his wife’s, “long struggle with mental illness,” is unclear. He, however, did say the press conference was because of a new article. The news items to which Marshall referred was a non-descriptive report on his wife’s death gathered from a publicly issued police incident report. The press conference went far beyond anything the press had reported or would have had reason to report if Marshall had not recounted his wife’s many personal struggles.

What was the purpose of the press conference?

Marshall apparently blames the media for some of his wife’s problems. “She also was worried for me. Because she had seen the negative articles that were false and malicious, that were written by some that were on blogs and claimed to be journalists.

“And she saw what they were doing, in making up facts, and she was scared that someone was going to write the fact that she was committed and that she had a problem.

Advertisement

“And that those facts were going to be revealed to the world. And she didn’t want that. And so her answer was to leave the state.”

Marshall said his wife left Alabama because she didn’t want the media to report, “that she was committed and that she had a problem.”

But it was not the media who published his wife’s problems, it was not the media who reported the Marshalls’ troubled marriage, it was not the media who recounted the many ways that Bridgette Marshall suffered. No, Mr. Marshall, it was you, her husband, who did those things.

Former colleagues who have left the attorney general’s office describe Marshall as angry, insensitive and paranoid.

Perhaps this is why he carelessly exposed his wife’s most personal difficulties.

Others say he is driven by an unhealthy ambition in which remaining attorney general is his life’s focus.

Whether callously insensitive or cruelly calculating, his wife’s tragedy is not something that needed airing before she was laid to rest or even now. But it was you, sir, who opened the door.

He can be excused for lashing out at the media. His anger in a time of grief is understandable, but he should not be allowed to lay that blame at the feet of the press when he was the man who exposed her sorrows.

Marshall knew full well that taking the job as attorney general might endanger his marriage, but he did it anyway.

During a testimony given at Lifepoint Church and published on Yellowhammer News, Marshall talks about how accepting then-Gov. Robert Bentley’s appointment as attorney general would negatively affect his marriage.

“The plan is for me to be around until August when Faith [his daughter] goes to college, and then Bridgette will come down there [Montgomery], and it’s going to be a hard period on my marriage and family… and that’s the area where Satan is going to attack me most.”

While Marshall’s speech was published on April 16, 2018, by Yellowhammer News, it is evident from his remarks that the event was recorded shortly after accepting the job of attorney general.

After taking Bentley’s offer, Marshall told Alabama Political Reporter and others that his wife agreed to him going to Montgomery on the condition that he returns home to Albertville by suppertime every Friday. He also said his wife hated politics and Montgomery.

During his testimony at Lifepoint, Marshall also spoke about the media scrutiny that came along with being attorney general. “We talk about the First Amendment by the way. It’s a wonderful Amendment unless you are on the receiving end of a lot of criticism which is kind of what has been going on a little bit this week, but I think it’s gotten better.”

APR has reported on Marshall many times because he is the state’s Attorney General. APR never published a word about Bridgette Marshall until after her death, and those were just sterile facts. APR has heard many unpleasant things about the Marshalls’ marriage but has never researched, much less reported, a single word about their personal lives.

APR deals in facts and informed opinions to educate and alert the public about politics and the public officials who shape policy.

Mrs. Marshall was not a public figure as such, but Mr. Marshall is a public officeholder by choice.

While addressing the Lifepoint congregation, Marshall said, God gave him his “dream job.” Along with any high position in public office comes a spotlight of accountability. That is how representative republics work.

At a time when we should be talking about the state’s appalling mental health system, or how to help others who suffer debilitating mental troubles, we are being lectured by a man whose actions have demonstrated a gross lack of empathy.

When APR‘s staff learned of Bridgette Marshall’s death, we purposefully withheld the details of her passing out of respect for her and her family.

With earnest sensitivity, APR has approached reporting on Mrs. Marshall with the utmost concern for her dignity. It is you, Mr. Attorney General, who shamed your wife and exposed her most intimate secrets, and it is you who bears the blame for opening her deepest wounds for the world to see.

It is you, sir. Not the press.

 

Continue Reading

Authors

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending

Majority Republicans doubt Moore’s accusers: some reasons why

by Bill Britt Read Time: 5 min
0