Failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is suing several women who accused him of sexual misconduct for their role in an alleged "political conspiracy" against him.
During Moore’s campaign last year, eight women told of inappropriate sexual behavior by him when they were young, which ranged from sexual assault to relentless propositioning. Their stories ultimately helped derail Moore's bid for a Senate seat in Alabama. But the former Alabama judge now alleges the accusations against him were part of a larger effort to keep him out of office in a lawsuit filed in Etowah County, Alabama, on Monday.
“I never knew them,” Moore said of the women at a brief press conference on Monday. “There is no truth to them."
The lawsuit, filed together with Moore’s wife, names four of the women — Leigh Corfman, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Beverly Young Nelson, and Tina Johnson — and one of Corfman’s longtime friends, Richard Hagedorn. It also includes 19 nameless defendants "whose names will be substituted upon learning their true identities.”
“They could have come forward at any time,” Moore said. “If you read the complaint, you're going to see a political conspiracy."
Moore lost the Alabama special election on Dec. 12, 2017, to Democrat Doug Jones, who became the first Democrat elected to represent Alabama in the Senate in 25 years. Just one month earlier, the Washington Post published Corfman’s account, which detailed how Moore initiated sex with her when she was just 14 and he was 32 and an assistant district attorney in Etowah County.
Moore insists he never knew Corfman, but two childhood friends of Corfman said she told them about the incidents with Moore at the time. She filed a defamation lawsuit against Moore in January, and Moore countersued her in April for what he called “slanderous” and “libelous” allegations.
During the last month of Moore's campaign, seven more women came forward with similar stories about him. Five of those women — including Gibson and Nelson — said they were 18 or younger when Moore made inappropriate sexual advances toward them. Johnson said she was 28 when Moore grabbed her butt without her permission at a custody hearing for her son.
Read the full complaint below:
Cover image: Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Fairhope, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
This article originally appeared on VICE News US.