Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore Thursday strongly denied a published story in which a woman claimed she had a long-ago sexual encounter with Moore when she was a teenager. 53-year old Leigh Corfman of Etowah County told the Washington Post the incident happened in 1979, when she was 14 and Moore was 32. Moore called the allegations a "completely false and a desperate political attack." Moore's campaign chairman Bill Armistead noted that the Washington Post has endorsed Democrat Doug Jones, and said the newspaper has "engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the judge's record and career, and derail his campaign." He added, "This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation."
There was a flurry of reaction to the allegations on Capitol Hill. "It's a devastating, nasty story," Sen. Richard Shelby said. "If that's true, I don't believe there would be any place for him in the U.S Senate." Sen. Luther Strange, defeated by Moore in the Republican runoff, responded to the story by saying, "It's very disturbing." Asked if Moore should step down, Strange said: "We'll have more to say about it, after I learn more." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who opposed Moore in the GOP runoff, said Moore should step aside if the allegations are true. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) went further, calling on Moore to step down immediately, regardless of whether the allegations are proven.
Gov. Kay Ivey said, "These allegations are deeply disturbing. I will hold judgment until we know the facts. The people of Alabama deserve to know the truth and will make their own decisions."