As more allegations of sexual impropriety come out against Alabama’s Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, his diehard supporters in Alabama continue calling national attention to that state with their evermore creative justifications for Moore’s alleged behavior. The latest is political reporter Brandon Moseley, who compared sexually touching a 14-year-old to stealing a lawnmower (as both are misdemeanors). Here’s five things you need to know:
1. He Said the Washington Post’s Reporting the Scandal Makes it as Sleazy as Breitbart
Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter for the Alabama Political Reporter. He generally prefers factual reporting over op-ed writing, according to a piece he wrote for AlReporter.com on Nov. 11 which starts out by saying: “I prefer the grind of every day [sic] reporting to sharing my opinions with the readers. I let Bill, Josh and Joey focus on the opinion writing, which they do so well.”
However, as he went on to explain in that op-ed column titled “I believe Judge Roy Moore,” he made an exception in Moore’s case because “We are now in the start of the third day of a carefully orchestrated character assassination of the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Judge Roy Moore…. Every talking head on cable news has an opinion on this, even though most of them have never stepped foot in Alabama, have never met any of us, including Judge Moore or his accusers… I — unlike any of them — have actually met Judge Moore and have known him, either through my journalistic work or through Republican politics for almost 20 years.”
Moseley went on to criticize the Washington Post for publishing the allegations in the first place:
The once respected Washington Post has changed ownership and has become the leftist version of the right’s Breitbart News, an increasingly low-brow publication that aligns itself with progressive causes and the Democratic Party. In this story, they have hit a dangerous new low for political journalism. If you like their reporting, send them a check so they will let you through their paywall.
Going 38 years back into the past to talk to the former girlfriends or boyfriends of a political candidate — or people who claim to be former love interests of candidates — is incredibly sleazy, and it is disgusting that the editors at the Post thought this was somehow a newsworthy endeavor for them to pursue.
Moseley went on to say that he would never vote for Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent in the Senate race, because “Even though I would like to see Moore win and Jones lose, I will swear to all the readers right here and now, that I, as a journalist, will never stoop to interviewing any of Jones’ former girlfriends from before his marriage. I don’t know whom Doug took to the prom. I don’t want to know where they went after the prom, and I don’t want to know what age his date was or if he tried to initiate sexual contact or not, and who touched who where and what clothes were removed and by whom. With the exception of those of you who are test tube babies, all of us are here because our moms, at least once in their lives, let our dads do what dads wanted to do all along. I hope that was not an upsetting revelation to anyone.”
Moseley published that op-ed a day after writing a presumably less opinionated piece headlined “Allegations against Roy Moore similar to those against Donald Trump” which referred to the allegation against Moore as a “carefully planned attack.”
2. He Also Compared Molesting 14-year-olds With Illegal Drug Use
After publishing the piece, Moseley went on CNN to speak with anchor Brooke Baldwin, where he defended Moore by downplaying the accusations against him and comparing those claims to various petty misdemeanors.
“If Roy Moore committed a sin, that’s a sin and that’s not good, but we’re not talking about an actual crime here under—that’s prosecutable in 2017. I don’t think you throw out 35 years of a man’s career and his reputation because of an unsubstantiated allegation from 1979,” he said to Baldwin.
When Baldwin asked why he didn’t consider the allegations against Moore to be serious, Moseley replied “They’re 38-year-old allegations. This is a– this would be a misdemeanor at the time, under the code of Alabama …. if you go back and you don’t elect anyone who’s ever done anything wrong, um, we wouldn’t have had Barack Obama, I think he did cocaine, ah, Bill Clinton supposedly smoked marijuana.”
In his “I Believe Judge Roy Moore” column, Moseley had argued that, although “It is illegal to have sexual contact with 14 year olds…. according to my lay reading of current Alabama law – which admittedly was written 27 years after this alleged incident, that act today would likely be sexual abuse, a Class A misdemeanor. One attorney has already told me that he does not think we even had a sexual abuse statute on the books in 1979.”
But on CNN, Baldwin told Moseley CNN’s researchers had determined that under Alabama law, Moore’s alleged behavior with a 14-year-old had been considered sexual abuse in the second degree dating as far back as 1977 –two years before Moore’s alleged actions.
Mosely told Baldwin that even so, Moore’s actions were only “a misdemeanor in Alabama … if Roy Moore had stolen a lawn mower when he was 21 that’s bad, but that’s not a reason 50 years later to all of a sudden, you know, throw him off the ballot or let Mitch Mcconnell pick the next senator of Alabama.”
On Facebook, Moseley apparently went into more detail regarding what is and is not “sin”: a screenshot making the rounds on social media apparently shows Moseley commenting “My morality is BIblically based. I believe homosexual acts are mortal sins and that lifestyle leads to Hell …. society on the other hand has suddenly decided that abortion/slaughter of the pre-born is ok, adultery is no big deal…. the Disney channel has a TV show about gay teens, gay scoutmasters are good. All that is MORAL. IN a society that no longer has sin, that Roy Moore dated some teens when he was 32 however is an unforgivable offense.”
3. He has Attacked Moore Accuser Leigh Corfman on his Professional Twitter Account
Of all the allegations known against Moore as of Nov. 9, the most scandalous-if-true was the account of Leigh Corfman, who said she was 14 when she had her encounter with Moore. (The other three women mentioned in the Washington Post’s original story said they were at least 16, which is Alabama’s age of consent.)
Also on Nov. 8. ABC news reporter Lauren Walsh tweeted a video interview with Mike Ortiz, who said he’d dated Corfman for about two years around 2009, and she’d told him about her years-earlier encounter with Moore.
On Nov. 12, the day after publishing his Moore-defense column, and the day before speaking to CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, Moseley’s Twitter account (whose bio describes him simply as a “Reporter covering Alabama politics and current events for alreporter.com”) replied to Walsh’s tweet by saying “Korfman [sic] is a grifter who has been bankrupted three times, divorced three times, sues people repeatedly, and been sued repeatedly.” (As certain Corfman defenders pointed out later in that tweet thread, very similar claims could be made against President Donald Trump.)
That same day, Moseley approvingly re-tweeted Ann Coulter saying “…right now, all that matters is that Roy Moore will vote for a wall. Luther Strange wouldn’t & the Dem definitely won’t.”
4. He is Active in Church and Conservative Political Circles
Moseley’s Facebook page says that he is single, and studied animal science at Auburn University before becoming a political reporter. On LinkedIn, he naturally goes into more detail about his professional history, saying that he has worked in the agricultural and forestry industries and “still manage[s] substantial family land and timber assets.”
His LinkedIn biography goes on to say: “I am also an active insurance agent affiliated with dozens of major insurance companies and I market money coaching by David Hall. I am active in my Church and in conservative Republican politics. Specialties: Medicare Supplements, matching the client to the best Medicare drug benefit plan, Animal Science, writing about Alabama Republican Politics, low cost term life insurance, guaranteed life insurance, annuities.”
A December 2011 article Moseley wrote for the Alabama Political Reporter, regarding state lawmakers’ calls to audit Retirement Systems of Alabama (a state pension fund) was footnoted in the 2016 Mercatus Center study “Alabama at the Crossroads: An Economic Guide to a Fiscally Sustainable Future.”
5. Moore is not the First Republican Moseley has Defended From Wrongdoing
In early 2013 a smaller scandal erupted in the world of Alabama politics: that March, Republican state official was arrested and charged with shoplifting for the second time in six months: in October 2012 Peterson was charged with stealing beer and paper towels from a Walmart (Peterson later called it a “mistake” when he pushed his way through a checkout without paying for items in his cart); the following March he was arrested at a Sam’s Club when, according to police, he ate a can of cashews in the store, then placed the empty can back on the shelf.
Peterson took to Twitter to explain his actions, saying “I picked up some cashews when I got to Sams this afternoon. Ate a handful. Put them in my cart & kept shopping.”
Moseley apparently bought it, replying “It sounds rational to me Dale, but after 2 of these incidents maybe it is time to let Kathy do all the shopping.”