After six days of testimony in the cross-defamation suit between Roy Moore and accuser Leigh Corfman, the jury found neither side had enough of a case to recover damages.
Moore and his attorney characterized the verdict as a “complete and total vindication.”
“It’s a great big victory, there’s no other way to interpret it,” Moore attorney Julian McPhillips said.
Corfman’s attorneys disagreed.
“This is not a victory for Roy Moore; this is not a vindication for him,” said Neil Roman, an attorney for Corfman. “Although we are disappointed that the jury did not find that Mr. Moore’s statements about Leigh rose to the level of defamation, we are gratified that the jury necessarily found that Leigh was telling the truth about her experience with Moore in 1979.”
The members of the jury were not immediately available to discuss their deliberations and why they actually chose to enter the verdict that they did. However, the verdict that neither side could recover from the other does not necessarily mean that neither side was guilty of defamation, but that the evidence was not sufficient to make a ruling in either side’s favor.
The verdict actually ruled in favor of both parties as defendants and against both as plaintiffs, meaning that from a strictly legal standpoint there is no clear “winner” or “loser.”
However, it was clear from both parties’ words and emotions that Moore and his counsel were pleased by the decision, while Corfman and her team were obviously disappointed.
Roman said that the jury must have believed Corfman’s claim; otherwise, her statements would have clearly been defamatory.
“She accused him of abusing her as a 14-year-old girl,” Roman said. “If that’s false, that’s defamatory. The jury did not find that.”
Roman said that’s the one good thing to take away from the trial, the “jury believed Leigh.”
“And that’s important,” Corfman said.
With the jury not finding Moore’s statements defamatory that Corfman’s allegations were “false and malicious,” Moore maintained the same following the verdict.
“I’ve always said that these allegations were false and malicious, and I maintain that today, and I’ll say that today very clearly,” Moore said. “I do not have anything to be sorry for, and I did not do anything wrong.”
Even more than vindication, Moore said he and his family felt relief.
“We give thanks to God that he has lifted that burden off of us,” Moore said. “We feel like it’s time.”
Moore’s team also characterized themselves as underdogs, stating Corfman’s lawyers were worth “millions of dollars” while Moore said defending himself cost $400,000 over the last four years.