- Paula Cobia, an attorney representing one of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s accusers, slammed Fox News host Sean Hannity after he invited her client onto his show.
- Cobia said it was “laughable” to assume Hannity was “capable of conducting a fair and balanced interview.”
- Though Hannity called for Moore to withdraw from the Senate race if he was unable to debunk the allegations of sexual misconduct against him, the Fox News host has largely either defended Moore or stayed mum since then.
Paula Cobia, an attorney representing one of the women who has accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of pursuing teenage girls when he was in his 30s, had some harsh words for Fox News host Sean Hannity when a booker for his nightly show, “Hannity,” reached out to book Cobia’s client.
Cobia represents Gloria Thacker Deason. Deason told The Washington Post earlier this month that she was 18 when she started going out with Moore, who was 32 at the time. Deason added that Moore also bought her alcohol when she was 18 or 19. At the time, the drinking age in Alabama was 19.
In response to the booking request from Hannity’s show, Cobia replied that she “would never submit a survivor of abuse to the inevitable on-camera bullying and persecution by [Hannity].” She pointed to Hannity’s relatively lenient treatment of Moore when he appeared on Hannity’s radio show, as well as the host’s apparent refusal to disavow Moore’s candidacy.
Several other women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct, including Leigh Corfman, who told The Post that she was 14 when the 32-year-old Moore made unwanted sexual advances towards her. Another said during a press conference that Moore tried to sexually assault her when she was a 16-year-old waitress. Another accused Moore of groping her when she was 28, and of asking her whether her two young daughters were as pretty as she was.
Cobia slammed Hannity’s treatment of Moore’s accusers, saying that he had “belittled, defamed and engaged in an on-air intimidation campaign against the victims of Mr. Moore.”
“He is totally uninterested in discovering the truth,” Cobia said of Hannity. “He gave Mr. Moore a lazy, softball interview which his own panel did not find credible. In fact, the panel mocked Mr. Moore over his inconsistencies and lies.”
When he appeared on Hannity’s radio show last week, Moore began by saying the allegations against him were “completely false and misleading.” However, his responses appeared to vary as the show went on.
First, he said he “generally” did not remember dating teens as young as 16 when he was over 30. Moore claimed to know two of the first four accusers, but denied that he had acted inappropriately with either of them. He said, of allegations brought by one accuser, Debbie Wesson Gibson, that he did not remember going out on dates with her, and that he knew her as a friend.
“If we did go out on dates, then we did. But I don’t remember that,” he told Hannity.
Later, he said that when he returned from the military in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he “dated a lot of young ladies.”
“I do recognize the names of two of these young women,” he said of Gibson and Deason. He denied that he gave Deason alcohol when she was underage. “As I recall, she was 19 or older.”
Later, he said that dating teenagers “would be out of my customary behavior” and that he “never” would have dated a teen without her mother’s permission. Of the allegation that he made unwanted advances towards Corfman when she was 14, Moore said the incident never occurred.
When several new allegations against Moore emerged following the interview, Hannity said he would give the former judge 24 hours to respond and debunk the claims. If he could not do so, Hannity said Moore should drop out of the Senate race. The next day, Hannity told viewers he had received a phone call from Moore addressing all the allegations, and that Moore was free to remain in the race.
Cobia told Hannity’s booker that it was “laughable to assume that Mr. Hannity is capable of conducting a fair and balanced interview.”
She continued: “He is not known for journalistic integrity. He is merely seeking an opportunity to publicly attack and further defame Mr. Moore’s vulnerable victims. Well that’s not happening. Not on my watch.”
Moore has seen waning support as the allegations against him continue to grow in number. So far, at least nine women have said that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers or that he engaged in sexual misconduct. Several Republican lawmakers in Congress have disavowed Moore and called for him to drop out of the race, but the Republican establishment in Alabama has been steadfast in its continued support for Moore. On Sunday, most of Alabama’s biggest newspapers had a scathing editorial against Moore splashed across their front pages.
Moore, for his part, has painted the allegations against him as part of a liberal smear campaign brought by the “Obama-Clinton Machine.”