Earlier today, Breitbart ran a story called “Bombshell: Roy Moore Accuser Beverly Nelson Admits She Forged Yearbook.” What she said was she added notes to the inscription Moore wrote in her yearbook.
John McCormack of the Weekly Standard countered with a story called “Moore Accuser Nelson Did Not Admit Yearbook Forgery, And Her Story Doesn’t Discredit Others.” McCormack argues that because the inscription and the added writing are clearly in different hands, and the date was written twice, Nelson could not have been attempting to forge Moore’s writing.
One problem with McCormack’s argument is that a handwriting expert consulted by the Washington Post stated that the “writing [in the yearbook] seems consistent with one writer.” Was it so clear, then, that the writing is in different hands?
Moreover, as even the Washington Post acknowledges, Nelson initially said that Moore wrote the entire inscription in her yearbook. She waited weeks before changing her story to say she added the “notes.”
I think, then, that Nelson’s credibility has taken a hit. However, the biggest credibility problem remains the strong likelihood that she added Moore’s signature and the letters “DA” to the yearbook, having pulled them from a divorce order Moore entered many years later.
McCormack’s other claim is that Nelson’s story doesn’t discredit the stories of others, especially Leigh Corfman who alleges that Moore molested her as a teenager. I want to make three responses.
First, I doubt that any of us could prove that, 38 years ago, we did not do something that someone accuses us of doing in a one-on-one setting. I doubt we could prove that negative as to something we were accused of last year.
Second, against the odds, Moore’s supporters have raised a genuine problem with Corfman’s story. She claims that Moore’s alleged touchings sent her into a downward emotional spiral. But court records show that the very reason she was in the courthouse where Moore allegedly met her was because she was in bad emotional state. Court records also indicate (for what it’s worth) that her emotional condition improved during the period following her alleged encounters with Moore.
This evidence doesn’t prove that Moore didn’t do what Corfman alleges. It doesn’t prove that she’s a liar. However, it does raise questions.
Third, if Nelson’s story isn’t believed, it makes Corfman’s less believable. Here’s why.
Nelson is the only other person Moore allegedly dated during the relevant period who alleges assault-type conduct. If Moore didn’t assault Nelson, then the conduct Corfman alleges is inconsistent with the pattern of dating behavior that emerges from the other women he apparently dated as teenagers.
This doesn’t mean that Moore didn’t do what Corfman alleges. But it decreases the likelihood that Corfman’s allegations are true.
I should add, though, that there are credibility concerns when it comes to Moore. They arise from reported inconsistencies in the sweep of his denials.
Shortly after the initial Washington Post story appeared, Moore told Sean Hannity that he did not know Corfman but that he remembered two of the women who had told the Post he dated them as teenagers. However, according to the Post, at a November 27 campaign stop in Henager, Alabama, Moore said: “I do not know any of these women.”
Where does this leave me? I don’t believe Moore assaulted Nelson, though it’s possible he did. In Corfman’s case, I don’t know what to believe.