At the end of last week, The Washington Post published a story that should trouble every voter in Alabama.
The basics of this sordid tale, which revolve around Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election pitting Democrat Doug Jones against Republican Roy Moore, are:
> A Birmingham attorney who was representing Moore accuser Leigh Corfman was offered $10,000 to say the Gadsden woman’s claims were false.
> The two men who allegedly offered the money to Eddie Sexton, Corfman’s attorney, were seen associating with Moore during the campaign. Gary Lantrip and Bert Davi are partners in a Birmingham-area construction business. They apparently attended a Moore fundraiser in Washington, D.C.
> A pair of reporters from Breitbart News, the far-right website operated by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, attended a meeting where Lantrip and Davi tried to persuade Sexton to distance himself from Corfman’s claims against Moore.
> At about the same time this supposed $10,000 offer was made, Moore, speaking on the campaign stump, said, “There are investigations going on. In the next few days there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article” published in The Washington Post detailing Corfman’s claims that Moore was intimate with her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s.
> According to The Post’s story, “Parts of Sexton’s account are supported by recorded phone conversations, text messages and people in whom he confided at the time.”
> Though they deny any wrongdoing, the principles in this story — Lantrip and Davi as well as Breitbart reporters Matt Boyle and Aaron Klein — acknowledge having some contact with Sexton.
In a statement to The Post, Breitbart claims, “At no time did Boyle or Klein hear any mention of money being offered or other promises made to Mr. Sexton in return for ending his representation of Ms. Corfman. The reporters did not participate in crafting any statement for Mr. Sexton.”
Through a statement, Moore said, “I nor anyone else in the campaign offered anyone money to say something untrue, nor did I or anyone else authorize someone else to do such a thing.”
Further, Moore’s statement said, Lantrip and Davi “did not have any special access to Judge Moore, nor were they ever commissioned with any special tasks by the campaign team.”
In a press release headlined, “WASHINGTON POST TARGETS ROY MOORE AGAIN,” the Moore camp included the mobile phone number of a Post reporter who had reached out for comment on the newspaper’s reporting. Call that just another reminder of the petty nature of Moore and yet another reason Alabama is better off without him in the U.S. Senate.
What to make of this story? There’s certainly a lot of smoke here, enough that we hope prosecutors are looking at it deeply. If we’ve learned anything from prominent corruption convictions involving state politicians, it’s that nothing is inconceivable when it comes to playing dirty politics.