The wife of Roy Moore testified Friday that the allegations levied against him in 2017 by Leigh Corfman were “one of the worst things that we have ever been through in our life.”
“It’s been a nightmare,” Kayla Moore said.
Moore’s adopted daughter Heather Mayo, Kayla Moore’s biological daughter, also testified to her father’s character Friday as the defense began its case that Moore did not defame Corfman in his denials of her allegations, and that she actually defamed him.
Corfman’s allegations that Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 years old and Roy Moore was 32 rocked the 2017 special election for US Senate, eventually leading to Democrat Doug Jones achieving a surprising victory in the deeply Republican state.
The allegations were published by The Washington Post alongside the accounts of three other women who say Moore pursued them when they were teens and he was in his 30s.
Moore has called the allegations “false and malicious” and has also suggested they were part of a political conspiracy to ruin his political career.
Kayla Moore told the jury that the allegations were “just a tactic” to disrupt the race. Defense attorney Melissa Isaak also had Kayla Moore recount the political controversies of her husband’s past, including his removal from the Alabama Supreme Court over his display of the Ten Commandments and his suspension from the same position due to his 2016 instructions to ignore a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Despite heavy media attention and controversy in those times, Kayla Moore said no allegations like this ever came out.
Kayla Moore described meeting Roy Moore in December 1984 at a Bible study Christmas party.
“He was the perfect gentleman” Kayla Moore said. “They asked him to recite some of his poetry (at the party). I could look into his heart. I had never known a man who loved the Lord like he did and was very passionate about his relationship with God; it was impressive.”
She said her husband was a wonderful father, teaching their four children to swim and drive. She said teenagers were constantly in and out of their house with never an inclination of any wrongdoing or Roy Moore making them uncomfortable.
“He is my best friend,” Kayla Moore said, beginning to cry. “I have never met anyone like him in my life—not my father, not my grandfather or anyone I ever dated. I’ve never known a man like him. He is passionate, he’s caring. He treats me with respect. This has been really hard, I’m sorry.”
Kayla Moore testified that they received the copy of the Washington Post article the night before the story published. In a September 2020 deposition, Kayla Moore testified that she never read that article, although she testified Friday that she had read it since then.
She said the family’s life hasn’t been the same since.
“It was like a circus; I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kayla Moore said. “We couldn’t sleep, we couldn’t eat. It was devastating for me and for my children, my grandchildren. Can you imagine?”
She testified that she arrived home one day to see the word “pedophile” written in orange spray paint across the yard. Underwear had been hung on the mailbox, she said.
Emails began flooding in calling her and Roy Moore every name imaginable, she testified. Many of these emails were read aloud, calling Roy Moore a “pervert,” a “misogynist pedophile” and a “child molester.” Many others contained more explicitly derogatory remarks. And Kayla Moore said she got death threats as well.
Mayo echoed her mother’s warm feelings about Roy Moore and testified to the suffering of the family in the aftermath of the allegations.
“They left his character questioned by people and that hurt because I love him and know what kind of person he is,” Mayo said.
She said she initially asked her father not to run for Senate, stating “I worried about my dad.”
In addition to family, the defense also called two other character witnesses for Moore.
Willie James testified briefly about his time as chief marshal of the Alabama Supreme Court under Roy Moore. James told the all-Black jury that he was the first Black person appointed as chief marshal, and that Moore had appointed him.
Having known Moore for several years, James said “I found I couldn’t serve under a better person than he was.”
However, the plaintiffs noted he did not know Moore in 1979, when the alleged sexual contact would have taken place.
The final witness of the day testified partially without a jury present due to the objection of Corfman’s counsel.
Ronnie Pollard said he employed Leigh Corfman for several months from 2013 to 2014 and also considered himself a friend of Roy Moore.
He described Corfman as “likable” although she was “mediocre” as a flooring salesperson.
She ultimately quit to take another job.
However, he told Corfman’s counsel that he thought to himself “I probably don’t need to go out on a job site with Leigh by myself” and put up safeguards. He said that was due to “red flags” when speaking with flirtatious contractors. He said Corfman did not object to the flirting but “talked about it more than usual.”
When questioned, Pollard said he never knew of Corfman accusing anyone of anything, much less falsely accusing them.
With the jury still absent, defense counsel Julian McPhillips argued that Pollard’s testimony about Corfman’s character could be relevant to hear.
“Is it flirtatious once, flirtatious always? I don’t know,” McPhillips said.
Corfman’s counsel clarified that the testimony was that the contractors were flirting with her, not the other way around.
“Well if she’s dangling herself in front of them like a piece of bait—“ McPhillips said, to groans from Corfman and her counsel.
Judge John Rochester said it would not be allowed for Pollard to testify about Corfman’s character before the jury, but allowed him to speak to Moore’s character.
Pollard told the jury that if anything could be said about Roy Moore prior to the allegations, it was that he was “inflexible” and “uncompromising” in his positions.
“If he believed it, he just stuck with it,” Pollard said.
Earlier Friday morning, Moore’s counsel moved to dismiss the case, contending that the plaintiffs had failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove defamation.
“We don’t believe it rises to the high standard under the law,” McPhillips said, also lobbying special privileges that he said should apply in the case.
“I think we have to draw the line here,” McPhillips said. “It’s. Dangerous message to send this country or state that denying an allegation, false or true, is opening yourself up to litigation.”
Rochester denied the motion.
During a discussion over whether certain of the defense’s witnesses would be struck due to legal logistics, Moore slammed his hand on the table and walked out of the courtroom. Rochester told Moore’s counsel that if it happened again, Moore could be held in contempt of court. Moore later approached the judge and apologized for the outburst.