AL Secretary Of State: It’s ‘Possible’ Moore Accusers Are ‘Making It Up’

Brynn Anderson/AP

Alabama’s secretary of state said Tuesday that he didn’t know whether the women who have accused U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct when they were teenagers were “making it up,” but he repeated his contention that it was “possible.”

“I don’t know whether or not they’re making it up or not, because I don’t know their intention, and I don’t know whether or not there are other things that have happened to them that have caused them to come forward at this time,” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.

Earlier in the interview, Merrill objected to Camerota questioning him about his assertion that the claims of Moore sexually assaulting teenagers could have been made up.

“I didn’t say that it was possible that they were making it up,” he said. “I never said that. What I said was I thought it was very unusual. I thought it was very odd and, quite interesting that these claims had come to light at this particular time, especially during the U.S. Senate campaign.”

Camerota simply read Merrill’s previous statement on the allegations, made to ThinkProgress on Nov. 9: “People make things up all the time. Do I think it’s possible they made this up? I do.”

“Well of course it’s possible, anything is possible,” Merrill responded on Tuesday, unfazed.

He acknowledged that, “if the allegations are proven to be true, I don’t think that there’s any way that I or any other Alabamian would continue to support Judge Moore.” But when asked, he did not specify anything that could be done to further convince him of the allegations. Instead, he changed the topic.

“Given that they’re so many decades old, how would they ever, before Election Day, be proven true to your mind?” Camerota asked.

“One of the things that I would ask you is, if they are true, then why would someone have waited this long to have this brought this information out at this particular time? To introduce it 30 days before [the election]?” Merrill asked in response.

The secretary of state acknowledged that, as in cases of sexual abuse in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, “people are reluctant to come forth at this particular time.”

But Merrill said that Moore still had his vote.

“As of today, with the information that’s been introduced to me and if these charges are not proven to be true, then I would continue to support and vote for judge Moore.”

Watch below via CNN:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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