The publisher of an Alabama news outlet denied a cease-and-desist from Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore for making “false reports” about his various inappropriate sexual misconduct. The publisher, AL.com said that it stands by its reporting and, in a letter back to the candidate’s lawyer, says it believes any litigation would “reveal other important information” about Moore.
Last week lawyers for Moore sent AL.com the cease-and-desist, claiming that it had published “careless reporting” that “adversely affected” Moore, his wife Kayla Moore, and the Foundation for Moral Law. Moore’s lawyers set a deadline of five days for the news outlet to retract stories the newspaper had published about Moore. Moore has been accused of several inappropriate relationships with women—including an attempted rape of a 16-year-old and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old, among others.
Moore has denied what the women have said.
In response to Moore’s lawyer, Alabama Media Group—which owns AL.com and other newspapers in the state—called the threat of a lawsuit “frivolous” and that they had not shown that the stories were published with malice, which is required for any defamation or libel lawsuit centered around a public figure such as Moore.
“Your letter goes on to say the AL.com’s reporting has harmed Mr. Moore’s reputation. Mr. Moore, however, has quite a colorful past that long-preceded any of Al.com’s recent coverage of your clients,” the news outlets response letter reads. “Moreover, much of the information that you claim harmed Mr. Moore’s reputation had already been published by those who knew him personally and reported by other media outlets. In other words, any damage to Mr. Moore’s reputation was self-inflicted and had already occurred long before Al.com’s recent reporting.”
But AL.com didn’t stop there. If Moore should continue to pursue litigation, the news outlet was ready to find out what it could about the Senate candidate.
“Should your clients nevertheless decided to pursue this matter further, AL.com will vigorously defend itself, and will employ all available remedies,” the letter reads. “We are confident that litigation would not only demonstrate that AL.com exercised the utmost diligence and employed high journalistic standards in reporting these stories, but would also reveal other important information about your clients.”
You can read Alabama Media Group’s letter to Moore’s lawyer here.