04:34 GMT +310 December 2018
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    Roy Moore, GOP Senate candidate and former chief justice on the Alabama Supreme Court speaking during the annual Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shorham Hotel in Washington, DC

    Reporter: The More Roy Moore Talks About Allegations, The More People Doubt

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    Roy Moore, a Republican politician campaigning to attain the vacant Alabama Senate seat left behind by Jeff Sessions, has found himself in hot water since the Washington Post published an expose on his alleged past habit of groping teenage girls.

    In an attempt to control the growing story and intimidate news outlets from reporting new allegations, the 70-year-old official and his attorneys issued a letter Wednesday to the Alabama Media Group threatening legal action over its coverage of the scandal. The group is one of the biggest local news groups in the state.

    In response to the letter, the Alabama Media Group released their own statement, saying that its newspapers "will not be silenced or slowed" by the legal threats levied by Moore's team.

    Speaking to Sputnik Radio's Fault Lines with Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan, Anna Claire Vollers, a reporter for the media group, shed some light on the events taking place in the Heart of Dixie.

    "Because we're the biggest local news organizations, when we started posting stories… particularly on social media, we had some folks reach out to us and say ‘Hey I was there and I remember some of this,'" Vollers said. "It just becomes a web of folks who you're talking to that are willing to talk on the record and sometimes not."

    As to whether these stories might be politically motivated, as Moore maintains, Vollers thinks not.

    "When they are telling me stories they are not doing a hit job for the Democrats," she explained, "they're telling me what they remember and most of them are Republicans. A lot of them have said they voted for Trump, so I don't think that this is political… [it's] more of an ethical situation."

    Responding to Stranahan's question on why the allegations are surfacing now, Voller says it has a lot to do with the current atmosphere regarding sexual harassment in the US.

    "It has weighed heavily on the women that have been willing to talk about this," she said. "I think a lot of them feel the cultural landscape in our country right now is more friendly to hearing from victims of sexual harassment."

    "Had these women come out in the 1970s or 1980s, when Roy Moore was a respected figure in town and they're just teenagers or twenty-something girls, I don't think anyone would have believed them."

    Vollers later indicated that, while not many polls have shown Moore's standings shift much in comparison to his opponents, some have shown support for Democratic candidate Doug Jones growing.

    "A few days ago I would have said, and most people would have said, that Roy Moore still had it locked up," Vollers said. Now, however, "some polls are showing some cracks that put Doug Jones ahead just a bit."

    For Vollers, the more Moore talks about the allegations, the more he's likely to "be leaving more doubt in people's mind."

    Though Moore has adamantly denied the allegations, labeling them an attack meant to derail his campaign, several politicians, including Arizona Senator John Mccain and Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have called on him to "drop out of the Alabama special election."

    Though he ignored reporters' questions about the allegations during a Wednesday address, even US President Donald Trump believes the allegations should be investigated and may mean Moore should step aside, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during the Thursday press briefing.

    "The president believes that these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously, and he thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be," Sanders said. "The president said in his statement earlier this week that if the allegations are true then Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that."

    With no indication that Moore will step down, only time will tell whether the once-GOP-favorite will indeed step aside from the Alabama special election in December.


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