WASHINGTON -- Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore flatly denied allegations that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl almost four decades ago, calling them a politically motivated attack a month before the election.
"I don't know Ms. Corfman from anybody," he said Friday on Sean Hannity's radio show, referring to Leigh Corfman, the woman who told The Washington Post about her encounter with Moore in 1979. "I've never talked to her. Never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false. I believe they're politically motivated. I believe they're brought only to stop a very successful campaign, and that's what they're doing."
Moore acknowledged knowing two of the women who told The Post that the Alabama Republican pursued them for dates when they were 17 and 18. Although he said he didn't recall dates, Moore denied anything inappropriate happened.
"If I did, I'm not going to dispute anything" about having dated them, he told Hannity. "We never had any sexual activity."
Moore has defied calls from some congressional Republicans to drop out of the race, in which he faces Democrat Doug Jones in a Dec. 12 special election.
A poll conducted after the allegations surfaced, by Opinion Savvy, an Atlanta-based organization sponsored by Decision Desk HQ, showed the race tied with Moore and Jones both at 46 percent. In late September, the same polling group had Moore up by 5.7 percent. Of the 515 people surveyed Thursday, 82.2 percent said they were aware of the allegations.
Also, paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday showed that the Moore campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have cut ties, while the Republican National Committee is still listed on the Moore campaign's form.
President Donald Trump joined a growing list of top Republicans saying Moore should withdraw from the race if the report is substantiated that he pursued the 14-year-old and three other teenagers when he was in his 30s and a deputy district attorney.
"Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One Friday as the president traveled to a summit in Vietnam. "However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
The allegations reported by The Post have shaken an already tumultuous Senate campaign, where Moore was the favorite to win over the Democratic candidate in solidly Republican Alabama in an election on Dec. 12. Moore, who was twice removed as chief justice of the state Supreme Court for defying federal court rulings, is on the ballot after defeating a primary opponent supported by Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the party establishment.