Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore received an unlikely late-campaign boost Friday from one of his own accusers, who admitted to incorrectly describing Moore's inscription in her high school yearbook.
Beverly Young Nelson maintains that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old, while working as a waitress at the Olde Hickory House restaurant in Gadsden, Ala. But she now says that Moore did not write the entire yearbook inscription she initially attributed to him.
Gloria Allred, an attorney for Nelson, said Friday that Moore did not write several notes at the end of the inscription, including the location, the date, and the initials "D.A." after his signature. Allred said those notes were added later by Nelson "to remind herself of who Roy Moore was and where and when Mr. Moore signed her yearbook."
For the Moore campaign, which has been working to raise doubts about multiple accusations that he made sexual advances toward teenage girls when he was in his 30s, the Allred announcement was greeted as a political gift, and the campaign worked to suggest that there were more falsehoods that would be revealed, without describing them specifically.
The Moore campaign repeated its call for Nelson to release her yearbook to an independent analyst, so the handwriting attributed to Moore could be analyzed.
"The truth is out there, and until she releases the yearbook all we know is that they are not telling the truth," said Phillip Jauregui, a lawyer for the Moore campaign, at a brief press conference.
The Moore campaign took no questions from the press. Moore, who has not appeared in public since a Tuesday rally with former White House strategist Steve Bannon, did not attend.
In her initial statement, Nelson said that Moore had written the entire inscription in her yearbook. "He wrote in my yearbook as follows," said Nelson. " 'To a sweeter and more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love Roy Moore, Olde Hickory House.' And he signed it 'Roy Moore D.A.' "
Allred said Friday that an independent forensic handwriting analyst had examined the signature, and the handwriting before the signature, and concluded they were made by Moore.
"We did not ask the expert to examine the printing after the cursive writing and signature," Allred said Friday.
Allred did not say when Nelson wrote the additional words into the yearbook.
The Moore campaign previously attacked the credibility of Nelson's account by pointing out the difference in writing styles in the inscription. Moore advisers have pointed out that in the past, Moore had an assistant with the initials "D.A.," which would be printed next to his signature when she signed documents on his behalf with a stamp. Those initials were used, campaign officials say, on a copy of a document related to Nelson's own divorce, which briefly came before Moore when he was a judge.
Allred reiterated the willingness of Nelson to testify under oath to the U.S. Senate about her experience with Moore. Nelson has said that Moore offered to drive her home when she was a 16-year-old waitress at the Olde Hickory House. She says Moore instead parked the car and sexually assaulted her.
"We are very transparent," Allred said.
Six women have told the Washington Post that Moore pursued them in the late 70s and early 80s. Five were teenagers at the time and one was 22; Moore was in his early 30s. One woman, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 and Moore was 32 when he brought her back to his house, gave her alcohol and touched her sexually.
Nelson's account has not been independently verified by the Post. But the Post did interview another accuser, Debbie Wesson Gibson, who shared a scrapbook from her senior year in high school, which contained a similar inscription and signature from Moore. His campaign has not specifically contested Gibson's account.
In recent weeks, Moore has said of his accusers, "I did not know any of them." This contradicts an interview Moore gave with Sean Hannity on Nov. 10, in which Moore said he knew two of the accusers when they were teenagers. He told Hannity that he did not remember dating girls between the ages of 16 and 18, but could not rule it out.
"I don't remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother," Moore said.