Patterico's Pontifications

11/12/2017

Breitbart Confirms Key Detail of WaPo Story on Roy Moore, Refutes Another

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 pm

Breitbart.com set out to re-report the Washington Post‘s Roy Moore story. In one aspect, they have uncovered an apparent contradiction between the versions of Leigh Corfman and that of her mother. In another aspect, they made the Washington Post‘s story seem stronger. Overall, their reporting seems to have done the Washington Post a favor — though that was clearly not their intent.

Let’s start with the contradiction they claim to have exposed. Their article reports:

Speaking by phone to Breitbart News on Saturday, Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71, says that her daughter did not have a phone in her bedroom during the period that Moore is reported to have allegedly called Corfman – purportedly on Corfman’s bedroom phone – to arrange at least one encounter.

If accurate, this does appear to contradict an aspect of Corfman’s claim. (Unless she plugged the house phone into a phone jack in her bedroom, which is not impossible.) But . . .

I know that people who are dying to put this matter to rest for partisan reasons are about to get upset at me, but I have to tell you: if you think this one contradiction destroys Leigh Corfman’s account, you have revealed that you have little experience dealing with eyewitnesses. I have some experience in that area myself, and I agree with Paul Mirengoff regarding his dismissal of the significance of this contradiction:

Does Corfman’s faulty recollection about the phone undercut the thrust of that story? I spent decades working with and examining witnesses. In my view, Corfman’s mistake about the bedroom phone is the kind of error people often make when trying to remember details from the distant past. I don’t think her mistake regarding this detail bears much, if at all, on her overall credibility.

Corfman’s claim of sexual misconduct by Moore is not a detail. If she is erring about this matter, she’s not failing to remember something incidental. Her “error,” if she’s making one, is of a different nature — a lie, a delusion, or a substantial embellishment.

I think there are substantial reasons to disbelieve Corfman’s claim of improper sexual touching. I discussed them here. I don’t think her mistake about the location of the phone provides additional reason to dispute her claim.

I endorse wholeheartedly Mirengoff’s emphasis of the distinction between recollection of minor details and recollection of important events. This is Witness 101, and while partisans will no doubt cite the Breitbart story as The Death Blow to Corfman’s account, it is nothing of the sort.

That said, it is an apparent contradiction, and my hat is off to Aaron Klein at Breitbart for going to the effort and probing the details.

Indeed, Klein has done the Washington Post a big favor — though he seems not to realize it — by confirming that Corfman did not seek out the Post; rather, they sought her out:

The mother of Leigh Corfman, who says that Alabama Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore tried to engage in a sexual encounter with her when she was 14, told Breitbart News that the Washington Post worked to convince her daughter to give an interview about the allegations against Moore.

Speaking by phone to Breitbart News on Saturday, Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71, further stated that her daughter would not have come forward if it weren’t for The Post reporter’s alleged actions.

. . . .

Corfman’s mother, Wells, told Breitbart News that reporters for the Washington Post convinced her daughter to give them an interview.

“She did not go to them,” said Wells. “They called her.”

“They tried to convince her to do it?” this reporter asked.

“Yes,” replied Wells, matter-of-factly.

Wells was asked about Corfman’s motivations for going public. “It wasn’t done for politics, you know,” Wells replied. “It was done for personal reasons. And it wouldn’t have been done if the reporters hadn’t contacted my daughter.”

Klein thinks that The Big Story here is that “Wells[’s] comments seem to indicate activist behavior on the part of the Washington Post reporters.” With all due respect, that’s horse droppings. (I did say “due.”) Her comments indicate reporting on the part of Washington Post reporters. Persuading reluctant witnesses to tell their story is a key skill of any great reporter.

But more importantly, the mom’s comments indicate that the key accuser, her daughter Leigh Corfman, is someone without a political vendetta. Think about it. In the war of words over the validity of the Washington Post‘s story about Roy Moore, the two sides have bitterly debated the motives of Moore’s accusers. Why did Leigh Corfman, the key accuser, come forward now, after 38 years? Surely it must be politically motivated on her part!

Nope. Just as the Post explained, this decision was made reluctantly — a fact that any lawyer will tell you increases her credibility, because it indicates lack of bias. Until now, you might have thought she was eager, and that the Washington Post was just spinning the facts to make her sound reluctant. Thanks to Aaron Klein, we now have confirmation of that key fact by a publication that has every ideological reason to help Moore and hurt Corfman.

So I’ll say something I don’t say often anymore: cheers to Breitbart.com. Their spin is silly, but hey — so is the spin of Big Media. At least they went and gathered some facts. Even if those facts, by and large, hurt Roy Moore rather than helping him.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

63 Responses to “Breitbart Confirms Key Detail of WaPo Story on Roy Moore, Refutes Another”

  1. Right how did they know to contact her, if she didn’t volunteer the information.

    narciso (d1f714)

  2. this whole thing stinks

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  3. Why did Leigh Corfman, the key accuser, come forward now, after 38 years?

    has honey boo really come forward in any meaningful sense?

    has she sat with anyone to tell her story, someone who might press her on questions like her motivation

    press her on the odd holes in her story like the ones that concern Mr. 57

    no

    we’ve actually heard very very little from honey boo boo, if anything, if the truth were put to it

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. oopers i left off the secondary boo in honey boo boo in my first sentence

    that was my fault

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  5. Oh she’ll be doing the full Ginsberg,soon enough

    narciso (d1f714)

  6. Right how did they know to contact her, if she didn’t volunteer the information.

    She told a few people.

    Patterico (a516a2)

  7. but seriously

    if everything honey boo boo says is filtered through the agenda-driven fake news washington post, how does it even matter whether or not honey boo boo has a political agenda herself?

    one does of course wonder if she got paid and how much

    but the whole point is just to raise the stench of sleaze in the closing weeks of a senate race, a race nevertrump very badly wants the Democrat to win, not to explore anyone’s political agendas

    and to raise the stench in just such a way that Mr. Moore has no possibility to defend himself

    we must remember that no less a personage than grand wizard Mitt Romney has said quite openly that proof and evidence are irrelevant here

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  8. (Unless she plugged the house phone into a phone jack in her bedroom, which is not impossible.)

    That’s what kishnevi talked about. But was there a jack even?

    And the Washington Post article implies it was a permanent presence in her bedroom.

    The mother of Leigh Corfman, who says that Alabama Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore tried to engage in a sexual encounter with her when she was 14, told Breitbart News that the Washington Post worked to convince her daughter to give an interview about the allegations against Moore.

    Speaking by phone to Breitbart News on Saturday, Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71, further stated that her daughter would not have come forward if it weren’t for The Post reporter’s alleged actions

    That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

    And what I want to say is that fact does not strengthen her credibility, but diminishes it. I men it makes it more likely the Washington Post was set up.

    How did the Washington Post find out about her?

    I suspect, if they ever talk about it, it’s going to turn out to be a whole chain of unlikely (and untrue) coincidences.

    Sammy Finkelman (8e756e)

  9. 8. Patterico

    She told a few people.

    This is where Detective Columbo would have a few questions.

    Sammy Finkelman (8e756e)

  10. The mother of Leigh Corfman, who says that Alabama Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore tried to engage in a sexual encounter with her when she was 14, told Breitbart News that the Washington Post worked to convince her daughter to give an interview about the allegations against Moore.

    this is the first we’ve heard that Roy Moore tried to seduce the mother as well

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  11. We are missing the forest for the trees. That Roy Moore is the GOP candidate in the first place is evidence of a much bigger degeneracy in the Alabama electorate than the Leigh Corfman phenomenon. I mean, ok, say what you want about her (not that you haven’t) — what else do you expect to find in a sewer?

    nk (dbc370)

  12. fatbergs?

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  13. As for her prior consistent statements, those are easily explained, if her corroborators are not themselves lying. For reasons only she knows, she made up this story about Moore a decade back and tried to peddle it without getting any traction until, finally, the Alabama Democratic, which had gotten wind of it, steered the WaPo reporter to her.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. It was done for personal reasons.

    did wapo fake news not inquire as to what these reasons might be?

    what a curious oversight

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  15. There’s a problem with how the Washington Post came to know of Leigh Corfman’s story,

    But it gets worse.

    Because it was not only Leigh Corfman who did not go to the Washington Post but none of the four women the Washington Post wrote about came forward on their own – and there is no reason for any one of them to have known any of the others!

    So, how does the Washington Post find not one, but four women who have something to say about Roy Moore circa 1979?

    Somebody stole his little black book in 1980 or any time up to 1982 and kept it all these years?

    I suspect it’s not going turn out to be anything remotely as plausible as that. (if we ever get into these questions in the first place.)

    Or is there a more simple explanation as to how they found out so many secrets of so many women all at the same time: That the whole thing a frame-up. Moore actually I think didn’t verify that he knew any one of them (although I also saw a quote where he seemed to say he did know one of them.)

    Sammy Finkelman (8e756e)

  16. nk @15:

    As for her prior consistent statements, those are easily explained, if her corroborators are not themselves lying.

    A big if. If they are, they probably didn’t really know her, or didn’t know her very well, so that wold be another angle of investigation or cross-examination.

    For reasons only she knows, she made up this story about Moore a decade back

    That won’t work.

    The first corroborator is supposed to have heard about it (without getting every last detail, but just that he got undressed into his underwear) just about when it happened, and told her friend not to see Moore again. This at least notional girl friend claims she remembers the name Roy Moore but didn’t know who he was. OK for 1979, but by 1982 when his name was all over political commercials on TV in Gadsden? Did she stay in Alabama? Also, was she really what we would call today a BFF? These are important questions.

    If all the people corroborating this are telling the truth, but Leigh alone is lying, she would have had to invent this story in 1979. If all the corroborators are not lying, she’s not lying. If they are lying, it shouldn’t be to hard to find anti-alibis (things proving that they could not have been where they said they were – it;s too hard for people making a frame-up to find people who would meet all the necessary criteria)

    Sammy Finkelman (8e756e)

  17. Sure, it was in a paper bag, but was Oswald’s fried chicken snack a leg, thigh or breast and wrapped in tin foil or wax paper?

    Get on it, Breitbart. Make us proud!

    Then ask how many 70 year old Bible-thumping men qualify comments on their prowess in their 30’s with, “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  18. For the first time in my adult life I’m proud of Roy Moore. It looks like Columbo’s makin’ a comeback.

    Pinandpuller (bfb4e3)

  19. Roy Moore married Kayla Kiser in 1985, when she was apparently 24. He had met her 6 years earlier, when she was 18, in 1979. Thirty-eight years ago. Roy and Kayla Moore remain married after 32 years. (Dates and ages compiled from multiple sources, but I think they are correct. There was one source that claimed she is 52, but the previous numbers make her 56.))

    These facts, assuming that they are correct, gives me a somewhat more benign impression of his dating the three women who were above the age of consent. He was looking for a candidate to be his wife, and he was looking for a younger woman.

    Offering them alcoholic beverages is a violation of the law, but judging by my observations at college in the late 60s and earlier 70s, at least half of all college students were guilty of underage drinking.

    The case of the 14-year-old is obviously more problematic. That episode depends on the credibility of those involved, and I don’t have a basis for making that judgment. The discrepancy with regard to the presence of a phone in Leigh’s bedroom is slightly concerning, but not depositive. I also don’t think that the stories about the older girls demonstrates a pattern of behavior, since the allegations with respect to the 14-year-old are clearly different from those in the case of the older girls.

    Gary Coleman (3266b6)

  20. The one issue that remains open in my mind is the question about whether or not Corfman has made allegations of sexual misconduct against 3 or more pastors from churches she has attended through the years. I have seen that reported, but I haven’t seen reporting on information that corroborates the claim.

    If she has a history of making these kinds of claims, then it is going to be necessary to know if the prior claims were accurate or not.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  21. These gals HALO dropped thru three decades of radar sweeps and popped their chutes right above the Moore campaign.

    Lost Dog Street Band

    I Went Down to Georgia[bama]

    Pinandpuller (bfb4e3)

  22. I know one thing for sure, if Roy Moore had a D by his name, none of this would have ever been reported by the Washington Post or any other Democratic Party news outlet, especially if control of the Senate hung in the balance.

    Ipso Fatso (e78e72)

  23. Jackie Coakley told her story to multiple people over time, and Jackie Coakley was sought out by Rolling Stone. The women to whom Jackie Coakley had told the story led Rolling Stone to her, Caokley did not seek Rolling Stone out and was in fact reluctant to tell the story.

    And it was months before the public could learn any of the details behind what stories were told, and when, that were not presented in Rolling Stone. In the end, those details that were like pulling teeth to get are what made (most of us) conclude the story was probably false. In the meantime, those who initially doubted were accused of being apologists for rapists.

    Leigh Corfman’s story, what we know of it now, unlike Jackie Coakley’s (as we finally know now), could be true. Let me emphasis that again, it could be true–and Jackie Coakley’s could have been true when it was first presented by Rolling Stone without any of the detail which eventually refuted it. Many people found it plausible, in part because of the reputation fraternities have.

    We have no evidence that Corfman is not telling the truth and we have no reason to smear her character. But her story remains the word of one person 40 years after the fact. The other women presented by the Post do not have a story of sexual assault against a minor with which to “establish a pattern” of sexual assault against a minor. We do not have enough detail presented of Corfman’s story to know if she really consistently said the same things to different people at different times, and even if we did that would definitively establish only that she has been telling the same story, not that the story is necessarily a true one.

    This isn’t court, as we are continually reminded, but politics. Which is why I think we should be very careful about embracing the standard that an accusation made by one person, 40 years after the fact, a month before an election of national significance, should be treated as true by the Republican party or the voters of Alabama or the US Senate.

    Or that reporters seeking that person out who has a story they want somehow is evidence of the truth of that person’s story (if Corfman didn’t have the story they wanted, they would have not have published anything about her–we’re not told how many women they asked about Moore who had nothing bad about him to say).

    Or that a person who has unquestionably done some things that most people nowadays believe to be wrong (taking high-school girls on dates, or asking them, in his thirties) is somehow evidence that he has done something else that is much worse (sexually assaulted a 14-year-old).

    If we go with this standard, and no more independent evidence appears to confirm Corfman’s story, and this story appears to be what prevents Moore from winning an election he had thought to be running away with, then we are collectively going to be very sorry before we are done with it. Some innocent person will have their career destroyed and exculpatory evidence will come too late to do any good. Moore might be that person, or George Takei might be, or it could be someone else who is a more sympathetic character. There is no reputation proof against every allegation. A person not known to much of the public will not have any reputation that protects them, because the sensational allegation will be the first thing the public hears. Yet they might be up for a Senate seat in a year when the Senate majority is razor-thin, or some other position of equal national significance, and a national media organization with large resources may train them on this person to find out every story they can, even those based on one person’s word 40 years later.

    Anyone who has followed this blog for a long time knows that the media suppresses facts when those facts impeach a narrative. Anyone who has followed this blog for a long time knows that anyone in the public eye can draw serious accusations that turn out not to be true, that are given a megaphone by a small number of motivated activists.

    Frederick (c42085)

  24. Mr. Moore deserves the benefit of the doubt. Drive-by payday loan queen Leigh Corfman not so much.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  25. Cui bono?

    Fred Z (05d938)

  26. With Moore and the 3 pastors on her resume, I wonder if she is of the sort who uses bibles, pulpits and choir robes as props and has a thing for doing it on pews.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  27. Liberal scold is a thing and it is spreading thru the ranks. Don’t be a liberal scold and don’t be a party to this horsesh*t.

    Colonel Haiku (993483)

  28. So jones is essentially tosoff with a few yeats to him,

    narciso (d1f714)

  29. I know one thing for sure, if Roy Moore had a D by his name, none of this would have ever been reported by the Washington Post or any other Democratic Party news outlet, especially if control of the Senate hung in the balance.

    It’s pretty difficult to imagine them going to these lengths to investigate Doug Jones, isn’t it? And that is (mostly) on the media.

    Patterico (4af482)

  30. ALL of this is straight out of the Harry Reid Playbook. You remember that prick… doncha?!?!?!

    Colonel Haiku (993483)

  31. i’m way to smart to be suckered in by this spurious poppycock Mr. Colonel

    they’re just trying to trick us into voting for an abortion-loving sopcialist

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  32. oops *socialist* i mean

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  33. Afterall… some of us here are not necessarily saying this is true about Moore… only that the seriousness of the charges mandates a thorough investigation. Especially here in the late stages of a campaign… aspersions must be cast.

    Get real.

    Colonel Haiku (993483)

  34. Judge Roy Bean nightmare..

    https://g.co/kgs/Z272LH

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  35. the upside Mr. Colonel is we’re learning a lot about stuff like grand wizard Mitt Romney’s disturbingly fascist and anti-small-d-democratic tendencies

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  36. And yet no one except perhaps breitbart and American thinker manages to examine the fellow from bellboys record, and then you see veruca salt pop out from her burrow.

    narciso (d1f714)

  37. Frederick:

    Anyone who has followed this blog for a long time knows that the media suppresses facts when those facts impeach a narrative.

    That is why Breitbart’s investigation is important, and it has found one piece of evidence undermining the original story. Do you doubt that If there were other evidence casting doubt on her story, Breitbart would have told us? Isn’t it possible Breitbart suppressed information that supports her story?

    DRJ (15874d)

  38. It also shows why we need free speech, a free press, and competition.

    DRJ (15874d)

  39. Right except in the era of the journalist and the rizzotto press its an echo chamber, with media matters holding the whiphand:
    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/11/13/new-european-journo-looks-forward-elderly-brexit-voters-dying-winter

    In Europe its even more monolithic

    narciso (d1f714)

  40. Pretending the intelligence finding about Russia, is anything but the input of two Dec cutouts, crowdstrike and fusion gps. Oh and btw Bentley won the primary that Moore came in second two. Didn’t know his dating habits.

    narciso (d1f714)

  41. mittens forced American deplorable hater Jonathon Gruber into our lives. Cant get more commie than, Romney.

    mg (60b0f7)

  42. Reminds you of Iran/Contra eh, narco?

    It’s a little different this time.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  43. So we keep pretending many things that aren’t true, are and facts on the ground
    Like miniaturized warheads are an oversight for four years

    narciso (d1f714)

  44. The one issue that remains open in my mind is the question about whether or not Corfman has made allegations of sexual misconduct against 3 or more pastors from churches she has attended through the years. I have seen that reported, but I haven’t seen reporting on information that corroborates the claim.

    The only thing I’ve actually seen on that is a screenshot of a comment or post made either to Facebook or Twitter (the screenshot left out, among other things, the name or account name of the person who made the comment or post) stating the claim, with no specifics. It’s kind of vague. As you may note, I can’t even be sure where the original claim was made, when or by whom.

    Given the vagueness of that, I’m inclined to dismiss it altogether. Unless someone knows of a link which has actual details.

    Mr. Moore deserves the benefit of the doubt. Drive-by payday loan queen Leigh Corfman not so much.

    One of them took an oath of office, and then publicly and flagrantly broke that oath. It seems to me that person has some serious credibility problems right out of the gate.

    kishnevi (bb03e6)

  45. I think Mr. Moore has the good credibility he’s just a freaky hyper-religious nutjob is all

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. So Gloria Alfred (who couldn’t find a single victim of weinstein, ratner or toback) now ‘officially’ gets into the act.

    narciso (d1f714)

  47. I wish somebody would interview the three ex-husbands on her truthfulness and whether she ever mentioned anything to them.

    I don’t know if this is true or not but the timing strongly suggests this is a hit job by the WaPoo.

    I also am not interested in doing the research but I have read that the dates don’t fit and she was 17 at the time of the court hearing where she says she met him.

    Of course, Gloria Allred will clear this up.

    Mike K (b3dd19)

  48. At the press conference she is now admitting she was 16, the age of consent in Alabama.

    Mike K (b3dd19)

  49. so the original honey boo boo was 16 not 14 when she had her alleged second date with Mr. Moore?

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. @56. Step away from the bong; new accuser, Beverly Young Nelson.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  51. 58

    They’re getting a search warrant for Moore’s basement rape room.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  52. a child molester is better then a democrat and the voters in alabami agree in the latest poll. question. if a married couple leaves alabami and moves to california and gets a legal divorce there will they still be brother and sister?

    alabamo (aa7845)

  53. @59. Gee, Ben, apparently Mr. Moore failed to ask Beverly Young Nelson’s mother permission before dating/assaulting/jumping her. Bev’s inscribed and dated yearbook by Moore is such a sweet touch.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  54. Why did the Washington Post send out a robocall to all Alabama voters promising to pay anyone willing to come forward with sexual information against Roy Moore between $5000 – $7000 with no proof necessary? This call was recorded and turned inas evidence. Of course, the Washington. Post denies their responsibility. Mitch McConnell just lost 32 million dollars in his bid to elect the creepy RINO LutherStrange. There are many people saying that Mitch McConnell is behind financing this smear job as well. It’s very interesting (and revealing) to me that Bob Menendez, who was caught having sex with underage sex slaves, and Al Franken, a known ex-drug addict and sexual molester, are welcome with open jobs by the senate. They areonlyreferredtotge ethicscommittee, which out of 600 cases referred to them have found zero of the accused guilty. Some ethics committee! Why do they even exist?

    My question is this: why won’t Leigh Corfman’s lawyer, the female Al Sharpton, have Roy Moore’s signature verified by a handwriting expert? Why hasn’t it been exposed that Corfman was actually 17, and not 14 when the alleged sexual assault occurred? Why was she carrying around a school yearbook around Christmas when yearbooks aredistributed in May? Why has it not been exposed that she has been married and divorced three times, accused three different ministersofsexualassault and is in trouble for nonpayment of taxesby the IRS? Why have the working papers of the two alleged 14 year olds not been examined? It’s very unusual that’s 14 year old would’ve allowed toworkintgestateof Alabama. When they are, they require working papers from their school and their hours are strictly curtailed.

    Julia (08f746)

  55. Corfmans atty is a minor figure compared to the voordalak alred, and I’m assuming gleason retains her own counsel, but the m.o does resemble that employed again cain five years ago, and justice Thomas a quarter century ago, Mayer now at the new yotker and abramson now at the guardian were ringleaders in that circus.

    narciso (d1f714)

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