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Joey Kennedy

Opinion | Roy Moore: Carrying sore loser to the extreme

Joey Kennedy



Attorney Paula Cobia was succinct in describing disgraced former Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defamation and conspiracy lawsuit filed this week against four women who accused him of molesting or harassing them and a man Moore claims has a vendetta against him.

“It’s a garbage complaint,” Cobia said in a telephone interview.

Cobia represents one of the women being sued, Tina Johnson. Others named in the lawsuit are Leigh Corfman, Debbie Gibson, Beverly Nelson, and Richard Hagedorn. There were also 1-19 “fictitious defendants.” That’s bizarre; if they’re “fictitious,” they don’t exist.

After reading the suit, it’s easy to understand how Cobia came to her conclusion. I’m no lawyer, but I can read. There’s just nothing there.

No smoking gun. No gun, period. Not even decent bullets lying around.


Alabama Political Reporter’s Josh Moon got it right, too, in his Tuesday column: “Roy Moore filed a conspiracy theorist’s manifesto dressed up like a lawsuit.”

Opinion | Roy Moore is back with a new lawsuit, same craziness

Another attorney, Michael J. Evans, agrees, calling the suit “frivolous” in a Facebook posting. “Roy and his wife, Kayla, claim they are the victims of a conspiracy,” writes Evans. “I believe they were actually reaping the consequences of their own actions. If there was a conspiracy, in my opinion, it was not on the part of the women. Moore might want to consider things done on his own behalf by the political operatives he brought in from out of state.”

For her part, Cobia, who is representing Johnson gratis, said the lawsuit “really doesn’t set out any facts that would prove any type of conspiracy.” Moore’s lawyer for the suit, Melissa Isaak, even admitted, Cobia said, that “she’s not well-versed on the facts.”

Oddly, Moore’s suit does not include The Washington Post, which won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the accusations of the women, who Post reporters sought out. The women didn’t come forward as a group. The Post went to them as individuals.

The women “didn’t know each other,” Cobia said, which makes the conspiracy pretty difficult to sustain.

“Honestly, I think he (Moore) wanted to try to look relevant,” Cobia said. “I think it’s a money grab, or an attempt at a money grab, and an attempt for him to stay relevant in the public eye. … I think the well was running dry from his other emails.”

Moore has been raising money from supporters for a defense fund in a lawsuit filed against him by Corfman. Moore probably thinks the lawsuit he filed this week gives him another platform on which to hit-up his supporters for donations.

“He wants his followers to give him money, but he’s also asking for compensatory and punitive damages to enrich himself,” Cobia said. “There’s nothing in that complaint that sets for any type of conspiracy.”

The sexual misconduct and molesting accusations against Moore were published by the Post not long before December’s special election for the U.S. Senate, which was won by Democrat Doug Jones.

The Post reporting was thorough and credible, and underscored now by the Pulitzer Prize the newspaper won in April.

“He’s (Moore) kind of carrying sore loser to the extreme here,” Cobia said. “The powerful conspirators who would have the money to fund this big conspiracy, they’re not named.

And Cobia believes Moore will find a way never to be deposed, because he would then be under oath.

The worst result of the lawsuit, Cobia believes, is that it once again opens these women up to harassment and threats. Cobia’s client Johnson lost her house in a mysterious fire. Others involved in the case have been threatened, she said.

This is a big ol’ mess, for sure. But one created not by the women Moore molested or stalked, but, rather, by Moore himself. Until this “Christian” comes to that understanding, we likely can expect more of the same from Moore.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]


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Opinion | A blue few days away, and a same-sex wedding

Joey Kennedy



After another disappointing Alabama election where voters decided against their better interests, I was characteristically frustrated.

One of my friends, this one living in northern Virginia, wrote to me: “Joey, you and Veronica should move to a blue state just for a little while. It’ll add 10 years to your life.”

I chuckled. I can’t say how many times a reader, equally frustrated, no doubt, at what I’d just written, said to me: “If you hate Alabama so much, move somewhere else.”

I don’t write what I write about Alabama out of hate. I write out of love. I love Alabama.

My other career is as an educator. I try to educate. I welcome people to fact check my work. If I make a factual mistake, I’ll correct it. If you disagree with my informed opinions, then let’s disagree. But you need to be informed as well. Show me your evidence, and I’ll show you mine. Indeed, I most often include my evidence in my columns.


Don’t tell me that Hillary Clinton is running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor’s basement or that Sandy Hook is a hoax or that the Parkland survivors are “crisis” actors. None of that is true.

And don’t cite Breitbart or InfoWars or Judicial Watch as your sources. Keep Drudge and Rush Limbaugh and Dana Loesch out of it. If you cite Fox News, do it honestly, understanding that Fox has some credible news coverage, but then it has its idiots – the Hannitys and Ingrahams and Lahrens — who don’t give a whit about facts, only about slant, and who will twist their stories to “support” their latest right-wing conspiracy or left-wing outrage.

As a favor, I won’t cite MSNBC or the other “left” sources. I don’t watch MSNBC. CNN does generally good journalism, as does the three major networks. Mostly, I’m going to reference the Washington Post or The New York Times. But even more mostly, I’m going to do my own research and reporting. And thinking.

It’s not that difficult, as long as you don’t approach an issue with a preconceived idea. Keep your minds open, and do a little homework.

Thanks to the Internet, we have more information available to us today than ever before. Yet, we really seem a whole lot dumber. That’s because we only look for crap that validates our preconceived ideas, not the truth.

Find the truth, or at least get as close to the truth as you can get. Among my most difficult challenges as a writing teacher is to show students how important it is to approach issues with an open mind. If you can’t be persuaded by indisputable evidence, you’re not going to learn.

I’m going to California this week. I’m not moving there, so don’t get your hopes up. I’m going for a few days to participate in my “daughter’s” wedding. Nicole Bowland graduated from UAB, and adopted Veronica and me as her “parents” shortly after coming her from her home in California. She came on a volleyball scholarship, and her parents couldn’t attend volleyball events, so she adopted us. We’ve become very close over the past 15 years.

Nicole’s fiancé, Sara Kate Denton, has the full support of her family for the wedding. Nicole’s parents are not as supportive and won’t attend the wedding, so I’m filling in the “daddy” role at Nicole and Sara Kate’s ceremony.

I hope this brief trip to one of the bluest states may add at least a few days or hours to my life, but that’s not a real consideration. Dancing with my daughter at her wedding and toasting her marriage to Sara Kate are.

My friends in the blue states know they, too, have citizens who believe the conspiracy theories, who oppose same-sex marriage, who hate people different from them. They just don’t have them in as great of numbers (proportionately) as we do in Alabama.

We’re a herd state. We follow those deceitful politicians (and they’re a dime-a-dozen in Alabama, both Democrats and Republicans) who won’t tell us how to make education better or how to lower our prison population or what we need to do about gun violence, but would rather tell us why immigrants are evil, gay people are going to hell, black people are less than white, and women’s bodies should be controlled by men.

Right now, 63 percent of them support President Donald Trump, which makes us one of the Trumpiest states in the country.

Think for yourself. Question authority. If a politician or journalist tells you something, make him or her show you the evidence. Maybe it’s simply a good argument, based in fact, and it will get you thinking. Thinking critically. Thinking skeptically.

Don’t be in the herd.

I’ll be back soon.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]


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Opinion | Toe the lie, err, line, or get out of it

Joey Kennedy



Earlier this year, I was on a panel for a debate of gubernatorial candidates at Alabama Boys State’s annual meeting at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

One night, the GOP candidates debated; the next night, the Democratic Candidates debated.

Only two Republicans showed up; all of the active Democrats were there.

Whatever you think about the value of political debates, that certainly shows that Democrats value open discussion of the issues far more than Republicans.

Even now, with only two candidates for governor remaining, the Republican, not-elected Gov. Kay Ivey, refuses to debate Democrat and elected Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.


But give credit to then-GOP gubernatorial candidates Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and state Sen. Bill Hightower for showing up at Boys State and answering questions, even if their answers were strictly following the Republican Party line.

Toeing the line.

One of those lines is that in-person voter fraud – that is, people showing up at the polls pretending to be someone they aren’t and voting – is as common as Kay Ivey refusing to debate.

That simply is not true (in-person voter fraud, that is, not Ivey refusing to debate).

Republicans continue to claim such voter fraud occurs, though there is no evidence for it. But they must toe that line because they so vehemently support strict voter identification laws that don’t actually protect against non-existent fraud, but do, in fact, suppress voting.

During that Boys State debate, Hightower said he believes there is massive voter fraud at the polls. But he’s not the only Republican. Alabama GOP Chair Terry Latham believes there’s massive in-person voter fraud. Indeed, find me a Republican who doesn’t believe it; or at least, find me a Republican who will say he or she doesn’t believe it. Publicly.

Can’t do it. They got to toe that line.

President Donald Trump said he believes more than 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election that put him in the White House.

Indeed, as APR colleague Josh Moon pointed out in his column this week, the scam “voter fraud commission” Trump established after he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton was disbanded shortly after it was, uh, banded.

Not even a scam commission could scam up enough fake votes to make it work. Or scam up any fake votes at all. Because they don’t exist.

But Republicans aren’t going to drop that lie, err, line. Many Republicans don’t believe it, but they’ll repeat it because they think their supporters believe it.

Besides, they have to toe the line.

On that Tuesday night in late May, I don’t believe Hightower thought in-person voter fraud really existed, but for whatever reason, he had to say it did. Latham is a smart lady, and I don’t believe she thinks there’s in-person voter fraud, either. But Hightower and Latham and other Republicans will keep saying it. Because that’s what it takes to be a Republican: toe the lie, err, line, or get out of the line – even if the line is an outright lie.

Don’t want to vote for child molester Roy Moore for U.S. Senate? Too bad, he’s the Republican. If you’re a Republican, you’d better vote for the molester. Toe the line.

Don’t really think we need a wall separating the U.S./Mexican border? Too bad, that’s Trump’s idea, and Trump says he’s a Republican. You’d better support the wall.

Know in your heart that a trade war is bad for Alabama auto manufacturers and other businesses? Too bad. That’s Trump’s trade war, and Trump says he’s a Republican. You’d better support tariffs or, if you’re a Republican in Congress, at least take no action to interfere with them.

Know in your heart that President Trump is, indeed, owned by the Russians? What’s the big deal? Trump says he’s a Republican: “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.”

Know in your heart that Republican Kay Ivey should debate Democrat Walt Maddox? If you’re a Republican, don’t you dare say that out loud.

Don’t say it. Toe that line. Toe it! Or you’d better get out of the line.

Want to be a Republican? Critical thinkers need not apply.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]


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Opinion | Refuse to be ignored

Joey Kennedy



Watching the way Republicans in Alabama are campaigning for their offices – statewide, congressional seats, Legislature – is discouraging to people who care.

They are running invisible campaigns against their Democratic opponents. Their strategy appears to be out-of-sight, out-of-trouble-with-their-views. They don’t want to stick their heads up too far and end up the victim of the next Doug Jones. Jones, remember, defeated disgraced former Chief Justice Roy Moore in that special election for U.S. Senate last December.

So like un-elected Gov. Kay Ivey, they’ll just keep their heads down and refuse a stage, especially for debates, with their Democratic opponents.

That’s the Coward’s Campaign. Basically: “We won’t defend our ideas, because we really have none. We’re for Trump. That’s all that matters.”

And maybe, in Alabama, that’s all that does matter. Supporting the racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, paranoid Donald Trump will do what’s most important: Get us elected.


No, that’s not what matters. What matters is crafting programs and strategies to improve the stake of all Alabama citizens, to help bring Alabama up from its last or near-last ranking in almost every quality-of-life category, a position the state has been mired in forever.

New thinking, new ideas, that’s what needed.

Duck and run, that’s what entrenched Alabama politicians – overwhelmingly Republican these days – believe is the best plan to keep their taxpayer-supported jobs these days.

And then a breath of fresh air sweeps through the state, if only for a moment.

On Tuesday in Birmingham, the March for Our Lives “Road to Change” campaign made a brief stop. Students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., joined local March for Our Lives student organizers in a panel discussion.

The crowd that packed Highland United Methodist Church heard about America’s future. These students do have ideas. Of course, their main focus is reducing the out-of-control gun violence across America.

They aren’t after your guns. They aren’t “crisis actors” taking advantage of the Feb. 14 massacre that killed 17 of their fellow students and teachers. They are changing the conversation nationwide concerning gun violence. And they’re not shutting up.

“I think what happened in Parkland woke up a lot of people,” said one student. Yeah, but didn’t the killing of 6- and 7-year-olds at Sandy Hook Elementary School do that? Didn’t the bloody carnage at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub do that? Didn’t the nation’s largest-in-history mass shooting at that Las Vegas concert do that?

Well, yes. But the difference is that the students from Parkland aren’t letting the news cycle or the next shooting – and there have been many since Margorie Stoneman Douglas – silence their campaign.

They refuse not to be heard, and they’re doing a helluva job refusing.

“March for Our Lives is not partisan,” said a panel member. “Gun violence happens in all communities. Gun violence isn’t partisan.

Sure, there are people who are opposed to any sort of gun regulation. There are those who want as much gun regulation as possible. But just because people oppose you doesn’t mean you quit talking, said Ashley Causey, the Helena student who founded the Birmingham area March for Our Lives campaign.

“Whenever you have opposition to an issue, that’s a learning moment for both sides,” Causey said. “Learn to talk.”

And learn to listen.

Arming teachers, for example, a dangerous idea that Alabama’s Kay Ivey doesn’t oppose.

The individuals at Tuesday’s “Road to Change” event were asked to raise their hands if they’ve ever had a teacher they didn’t want to have a gun. Practically all the hands, hundreds of them, went up.

“The solution to gun violence isn’t more guns,” said one MSD student. “We don’t need reactive measures; we need preventative measures.”

When we get beyond the gun violence discussion, however, perhaps the most powerful message – weapon – these Parkland and local students have:


To back up that message, the March for Our Lives movement registers thousands of new – and mostly young – voters at every event. They were doing it in Birmingham Tuesday evening.

Unlike so many current Alabama registered voters, these new voters are motivated to get out and cast their ballots. They not only want change; they want to be the change.

That’s why Ivey and other Republicans owe it to voters to explain their vision and their ideas, not hide from hard questions and turtle-up every time they bump into one of their constituents when they dare venture out in public.

These Parkland students, and by extension, many millions of young, involved people across the nation, will be heard.

“We refuse to be ignored,” said one student.

And, they will.

Kay Ivey and other politicians who believe they can get away with ignoring voters need to pay attention.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]


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Opinion | Debates? “No way Kay” says no way

Joey Kennedy



Why does it matter whether current not-elected Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and elected Tuscaloosa Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox debate the issues before Alabama voters?

What’s the big deal, anyway? Each candidate will simply say what they think we want to hear. And, really, what advantage can Ivey gain from a debate with Maddox? Ivey’s the Donald Trump Republican in a Donald Trump state. Maddox is the “liberal” Democrat, nothing but a “lowly” mayor, really, who wants to kill babies, open our borders, and take our guns.

Still, what about the voters? Don’t they deserve to see Ivey and Maddox face off, interact, explain their positions in front of each other, tell why their ideas are better, answer direct questions from a panel of knowledgeable folks who know the big issues and the questions to ask?

Don’t expect “No Way” Kay to ever debate Maddox. Or anybody. She can’t handle it in the first place, and doesn’t need to in the second. Not with a big majority of Alabama voters so far up Trump’s rump that all they can see are a few polyps and half-masticated cheeseburgers. Maybe some Putin.

Maddox this week proposed four debates with Ivey. What he got from Ivey’s handlers was basically a: “Go F yourself.” In the true Trumpian style of lie a lot, and lie big, Ivey’s controllers said Maddox should answer a few questions himself – questions he answers every time he appears before anybody.


“It seems the person Walt Maddox should be debating is himself,” said a press release from Ivey’s overseers. No discussion. Nothing here worth the unelected governor’s precious time.

In other words: “Go F yourself.”

They’ve confused Maddox, who actually answers questions, with Ivey, who actually doesn’t.

Maddox clearly is better qualified to lead Alabama forward. His record as mayor of Tuscaloosa, especially during and after the 2011 tornadoes that tore his city to shreds, shows he can handle the pressure and, in the wake of such devastation, turn a city around.

Maddox has vision, not revision.

Ivey did little as lieutenant governor except wait for disgraced Gov. Robert Bentley to disgrace himself out of office. There may not be a statewide elected position with as little punch as lieutenant governor. Mayors have a much more difficult job. But lieutenant governor doesn’t pay bad for a job that requires practically nothing.

One would think that as a woman, Ivey would have a special empathy for the women abused by former Chief Justice Roy Moore. Ivey said she did, and then voted for the child molester for the U.S. Senate because he was a Republican. Like her. Moore wasn’t even a Trump Republican; he’s an even weirder Republican than Trump (though where abuse of women is concerned, Moore and Trump have a lot in common).

As long as most Alabama voters believe Trump’s lies, and continue to appreciate his treason, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, and other terrible characteristics, Ivey doesn’t have to do much heavy lifting. Well, unless she actually had to physically lift Trump. Fortunately for her, Ivey doesn’t. But if she accepts Trump’s support, she accepts his character. She accepts his racism and all the ugly rest.

Except, I don’t think most Alabama voters believe that way. I really don’t. It’s not what they want, especially today, with all the turmoil we have roiling the state and nation.

I believe most voters and potential voters want to see these two candidates for the state’s highest office appear together to justify their positions, to explain their ideas, to present their visions.

Voters do want to hear what a governor can do to make their lives better. It’s a lot more than just cutting a ribbon at a ground-breaking for some industry that was coming to Alabama no matter who was governor because Alabama gives all the tax breaks it needs and provides all the labor it wants at a cost it can easily afford.

But Ivey’s bosses want her to keep quiet. Just keep on cutting ribbons, Kay. Keep on Trumping. You’ll be OKay. Get it? OKay? (A yard sign?)

To Walt Maddox, though, “Go F yourself.” And to Alabama voters, basically, the same.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]


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Opinion | Roy Moore: Carrying sore loser to the extreme

by Joey Kennedy Read Time: 3 min