Less than one week after a bombshell report was published by The Washington Post, several voters in Alabama reported receiving a robocall from a reporter requesting damaging information on one of the candidates in a special election for a Senate seat.
The robocall starts out with a voice claiming to be a reporter from The Post named Lenny Bernstein. He asks the person on the other line for potentially-damaging information regarding Republican candidate for Senate, Roy Moore.
Listen to the full audio of the call at the top of the page.
“Hi, this is Lenny Bernstein,” the message says. “I’m a reporter for The Washington Post calling to find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5000 and $7000 dollars. We will not be fully investigating these claims however we will make a written report. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you.”
Initially, the voice on the other end was thought to have said he was “Bernie Bernstein” of The Post. However, it’s since been determined that the voice on the robocall claims to be Lenny Bernstein, a longtime medicine and health reporter for The Post.
The real Lenny Bernstein denied the allegations that he was responsible for the call on his Twitter account
The call was also discredited by The Post, with executive editor Marty Baron saying in a written statement to WKRG News that he’s baffled someone would stoop to that low of a level to try and undermine factual reporting.
“The Post has just learned that at least one person in Alabama has received a call from someone falsely claiming to be from The Washington Post,” the statement said. “The call’s description of our reporting methods bears no relationship to reality. We are shocked and appalled that anyone would stoop to this level to discredit real journalism.”
John Rodgers of the Roy Moore for Senate campaign also denied that the campaign had anything to do with the phone call, adding that it’s the first time he’s ever heard of this type of robocall.
The fake robocall comes less than one week after a disparaging report was published by The Post against Moore. It told the stories of four women who accuse Moore of having relationships with them — some who were minors at the time.
One of the women, Leigh Corfman, said she was just 14-years old when Moore initiated a sexual encounter between the two.
In her story, Corfman said that Moore approached her when she was outside of a courtroom in Etowah County, Alabama. Moore was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney at the time, and Corfman claims she gave her phone number to him.
Corfman said that just a few days later, Moore picked her up from her house and they went to his home. On the first date, Corfman says the two kissed. Things escalated on the second, she claims. After Moore picked her up, she said he touched her over her bra and underwear. She added that Moore took her hand and put it over his underwear.
“I wasn’t ready for that,” she told The Post. “I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one.”
Another woman, Gloria Thacker Deason, told The Post she entered a relationship with him when she was 18. Deason said that Moore would often pick her up for dates from the community college she attended or the jewelry store she worked at.
The two went out on numerous dates, she said, and drank alcohol although she was underage. Deason’s mother was strict and typically wouldn’t allow her to meet past 10:30 p.m., but because she thought highly of Moore, “she just felt like I would be safe with him,” Deason said in her account of their relationship.
Deason said the two dated off and on for “several months,” adding she took her to his home more than once. However, their physical relationship never got any further than kissing and hugging, she said.
One day before the robocall went out to voters, a fifth woman — named Beverly Young Nelson — accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was a 16-year-old waitress at an Alabama restaurant. Nelson said at the press conference alongside Gloria Allred that Moore offered her a ride home following a shift at work. She accepted, but when she got into his vehicle, she claims he went to the back of the restaurant and started sexually assaulting her, groping her breasts and forcing her head down toward his crotch region.
“I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and he locked it so I could not get out,” she described. “I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop. But instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified, he was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and I was begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.”
She said that at some point, Moore gave up and threatened her, saying: “You’re just a child, I am the district attorney of Etowah County. And if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.”
Prior to the press conference, Moore released a statement once again denying the claims and referring to Allred as a “sensationalist” who was “leading a witch hunt” against him.
“We’ve said this before and well say it again: Judge Moore is an innocent man and has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone,” the statement said.
Moore has said at campaign events that he intends to sue The Post for publishing its report of the allegations, calling it a “witch hunt” and a desperate attack to derail his campaign less then one month before voters head to the polls.
Moore’s on the ballot for the special election to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions on December 12. He defeated Luther Strange, who served in the seat after Sessions was appointed attorney general, in a primary election. Moore is going against against Democrat Doug Jones in the general election.