Gloria Allred, the attorney for Roy Moore accuser Beverly Young Nelson, says she won’t permit an inspection of her client’s high school yearbook unless the Senate conducts a hearing on Nelson’ charge that Moore tried to rape her. The yearbook is important because Nelson and Allred presented it as evidence that Moore knew Nelson and had a romantic interest in her.
Moore’s camp has provided reason to believe that he did not sign Nelson’s yearbook. The lawyer for his campaign notes that Moore presided over Nelson’s divorce case in 1999. He says Moore’s clerk stamped the divorce papers with the judge’s signature and added her initials — “DA.”
Those same initials appear by Moore’s name in the yearbook inscription Nelson and Allred adduced, even though Moore was not a DA at the time in question. In addition, the “7s” that appear in the date near the signature appear to be written differently from those that appear elsewhere in the inscription. The inference is that Nelson doctored the yearbook.
To test this theory, Moore’s camp has asked that the yearbook be produced so its handwriting expert can examine it. Among others things, an examination might reveal whether the ink used for the signature dates back to the period when Nelson was a teenager, as opposed to when she became a divorcee.
If Nelson did not doctor the yearbook, she should be eager to have it inspected in order to refute Moore’s claim, backed by evidence, that he did not sign the yearbook. In addition, production of the yearbook would clearly help the voters of Alabama get at the truth.
But Allred is stonewalling. To be sure, she hasn’t flatly refused to produce the yearbook. However, she has set an impossible condition for its production before the Alabama Senate election.
That condition, as noted, is a Senate hearing on allegations against Moore. The Senate isn’t going to hold a hearing about the conduct of a mere candidate, and Allred knows it.
By withholding the yearbook at least until after the election, she increases the likelihood that Moore will lose. This, I suspect, is one of her purposes — and her client’s, as well.
Allred isn’t just stonewalling on production of the yearbook. In her television appearances, she won’t say that the signature on the yearbook is Moore’s. She won’t even say whether Moore presided over Nelson’s divorce.
Here, for what it’s worth, is what I suspect happened. Moore did write a note in Nelson’s yearbook, but did not sign it (a prudent decision). When Nelson decided to accuse Moore of rape, she added Moore’s signature, using her divorce paper.
Allred now realizes that her client committed a huge blunder — one that undermines, if not destroys, her credibility. Hence, the stonewalling.
Allred is banking on Moore withdrawing from the race or losing it. In that case, there won’t be a Senate hearing — the condition she set for producing the yearbook.
Moore, though, may sue Nelson. In that event, it’s possible that Nelson might have to produce the yearbook. There’s nothing Allred can do about this, but she can prevent the hole Nelson has dug from getting deeper. To claim, at this juncture, that Moore signed the yearbook would, if my suspicion is correct, deepen the hole.
Assuming that Nelson doctored the yearbook, does this mean her allegation of attempted rape is false? No. But it does seriously damage the case for believing this allegation.
If Nelson “embellished” Moore’s yearbook inscription, we should have little confidence that she hasn’t embellished her story of what transpired between the two.
To be sure, other serious allegations have been lodged against Moore by other women. They provide Alabamans with plenty of reason not to want to vote for him.
But I wonder whether, if Nelson is shown to have doctored the yearbook, Alabama voters will see Moore as a victim and choose to credit him over those who are making the most serious allegations.