Beverly Young Nelson, who accused Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct against her almost 40 years ago, has made an important admission in an interview Friday with ABC News concerning the yearbook she presented last month at a press conference, as physical evidence that they knew each other.
She altered the yearbook.
The Moore campaign quickly called its own Friday afternoon press briefing, in which they argued that juries are routinely advised in Alabama that if a witness is found to be lying in any regard to a case, then the juror is justified in disregarding all other parts of the witness's testimony. They also pleaded with the news media to go back and re-watch last month’s press conference, and note that lawyer Gloria Allred and her client, Nelson, both said everything in the yearbook was written by Moore.
During last month’s press conference, Nelson read what she alleged Moore wrote in her yearbook. “He wrote in my yearbook as follows: ‘To a sweeter more beautiful girl, I could not say Merry Christmas, Christmas, 1977, Love, Roy Moore, Olde Hickory House. Roy Moore, DA.” Also included in the alleged yearbook signing was the date, “12-22-77.” The addition of the date and “Olde Hickory House” establishes the place of Moore’s alleged assault on the teen-aged Nelson. Moore has flatly denied writing in the book anything, and has said he did not even know her.
Despite comments at the time of the initial Nelson press conference that the writing of the two dates, 1977, and 12-22-77 were clearly different, indicating an alteration had been made, Nelson did not say then that she had simply added extra writing in the yearbook. Instead she attributed the entire inscription to Moore, as the Moore campaign charged in its Friday afternoon press conference.
After Nelson and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, offered the yearbook as supporting evidence for her charges against Moore, the Moore campaign asked for the yearbook to be subjected to an independent handwriting analysis. Allred and Nelson refused that demand, but did not offer then that Nelson had added any wording or numbers to the book.
Not addressed in Nelson’s admission that she altered the yearbook was the addition of “DA” after Moore’s name. Moore was an assistant district attorney in Etowah County at the time, so it was assumed that Moore added that designation after his name. However, Moore’s campaign retorted, “No way in the world” that Moore would write “DA” after his signature.
Moore’s attorney, Phillip Jauregi, suggested that Nelson had obtained a copy of Moore’s signature from a divorce decree in Nelson’s 1999 divorce decree, a case in which Moore served as the judge. Jauregi noted that the order could have been used to forge his name in the yearbook, arguing that the “DA” after his signature did not indicate “district attorney,” but was rather the initials of Judge Moore’s assistant, who routinely initialed his stamped signature on judicial orders. Not knowing that information, the Moore campaign suggests, Nelson could have used the judge’s order signature, complete with the “DA” at the end, in what they charge is a forgery.
Jauregi demanded that the yearbook be given to a neutral third party, with a chain of custody, to allow a handwriting expert to draw some conclusions. Allred refused, saying that she would only loan the book to a committee of the U.S. Senate, if that body wished to see it before deciding whether to seat Moore, should he win the election.
As it turns out, Allred told a press conference in the early afternoon Friday that they stood by their claim that Moore did write in the yearbook, presenting as evidence that a handwriting expert from Georgia obtained by Allred, Arthur T. Anthony, had determined that signature was Moore’s, offering a report of his findings to reporters. The assessment of Allred’s expert was that the signature in the yearbook is Moore's. She presented examples of Moore’s signature from decades ago when he was a deputy district attorney. It was not clear exactly what Anthony had actually analyzed — the actual yearbook or a photocopy. A photocopy would not allow any examination of the age of the ink.
But Moore’s campaign had asked for an independent analyst who would also consider the age of the ink on the page of the yearbook, as well as the signature itself. Instead, an expert found by Allred was used. This led the Moore campaign, in its Friday afternoon press encounter, to repeat its demand to Allred that the yearbook be submitted to a “real independent expert” instead of “your [Allred’s] expert.” That way, we can find out, they argued, whether the ink is 40 years old or just a few weeks old.
So, why did Nelson add additional language to the alleged inscription? “Beverly indicates she added that to remind herself of who Roy Moore was and where and when Mr. Moore signed her yearbook,” Allred explained.
Moore tweeted in response, “Now she herself admits to lying.”
Nelson’s stepson, Darrel Nelson, announced in a You Tube video last month that his stepmother was lying about Judge Moore, and that he intended to vote for him.
Shortly after Nelson’s charges were first made public, complete with the yearbook, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Allred if the signature could have been forged. Allred responded, “Well, all I’m saying is, we will permit an independent examiner of the writing … We will allow all of this to be asked and answered at the [Senate] hearing.”
Blitzer shot back, “But that’s not a flat denial, Gloria.”
“Well, all I’m saying is, we’re not denying, we’re not admitting, we’re not addressing. We will not be distracted,” Allred retorted.
At this point, Blitzer wondered why a Senate hearing would be needed, asking why Allred would not just permit an independent expert to take a look. Allred explained, “Well, uh, all I can say is we want it done in a professional setting to the extent possible, that’s the only setting in which people can testify under oath.”
When Nelson finally admitted that the yearbook was altered, she received much more “help” from ABC News, whose reporter Tom Llamas almost seemed to be coaching her. “Beverly, he signed your yearbook,” to which she responded, “He did sign it.” Llama then added, “And you made some notes underneath.”
What Llamas did not do was ask some obvious questions, such as why she did not tell reporters that she had added material to the inscription in the original news conference. And, another obvious question is why did Allred and Nelson not submit the book to an independent handwriting analyst, instead of producing their own hand-picked “expert?”
Moore strongly denies all of her allegations. “These allegations are completely false. They’re malicious. Specifically, I do not know any of these women, nor have I ever engaged in sexual misconduct with any woman,” Moore told supporters last week at a rally in Henegar, Alabama.
Of Nelson specifically, Moore was succinct in a recent tweet: “Boyfriend at the time says she lied. Employees of the restaurant say she lied. Customers of the restaurant say she lied. Now she herself admits to lying.”
In the Friday afternoon Moore press briefing, the Moore campaign charged that prominent Republican establishment figures are also involved in the smear of Judge Moore, in addition to the predictable Democrat involvement.
On Tuesday, Alabama voters will be forced to make a decision between Moore’s honesty, and Nelson. And maybe even make a judgment on the Republican Establishment that has opposed him.
Photo of yearbook: AP Images