Anti-LGBTQ hate group leader Mat Staver gives 13-minute defense of Roy Moore, attacks women

Staver attempts to discredit woman who reported abuse by Moore because she didn't ask for Moore to be recused from her divorce case

From the November 16 edition of MSNBC Live:

Video file

ALI VELSHI (CO-HOST): Mat Staver is joining us now. He's a longtime friend and former attorney for Roy Moore. He’s the founder -- the chairman of Liberty Counsel, a legal and policy organization. Mat, this is -- I know you're a friend of his. At some point, is there anything about these ongoing reports that makes you want to say to Roy Moore, hey, Roy, is there something more here than we know about? Or have you asked him about it?

MAT STAVER: Well, I think we're only one week since these allegations occurred, and I think we need to listen to both the accusers as well as Roy Moore. Roy Moore has adamantly denied any kind of improper action with any underage women, and I've known Roy Moore for almost 25 years. There's women who have known him for 30, 40, 50 years, and they never have heard of any of these stories. So the Roy Moore that I know is completely different, for 25 years, than the Roy Moore of these allegations. And I think it's just a little premature to come to a decision based on allegations. Now if this was proven to be true, no question. Obviously anyone in their right mind would oppose pedophilia and sexual harassment and abuse. There's no place for that in our society. But mere allegations – we need to give some time to look at these issues. In fact, even when I looked at the yearbook for Beverly Young Nelson, I questioned why would someone sign their name with D.A. after it? A district attorney wouldn't do that, and certainly someone that understands rank as Roy Moore would. As an assistant, not a D.A., he wouldn’t do that.

STEPHANIE RUHLE (CO-HOST): So do you think --

STAVER: And you find out that that signature actually comes from a 1999 divorce decree of the same woman, and the D.A. is his assistant. It's not how Roy Moore signed his name.

RUHLE: Then do you think that the women who have come forward thus far aren't telling the truth? Do you think that Roy Moore was not asked to not frequent the Gadsden Mall anymore? Do you think that Roy Moore didn't call that young woman and pull her from her trigonometry class in high school and ask her on a date? Do you think those things are untrue, sir?

STAVER: I think they need to be looked at, certainly. I'm not going to immediately discount them. But I'm not going to discount Roy Moore, the person who I've known for 25 years, and it's not like Roy Moore that I know. And everyone that I've known has no recollection of anything like this. I've seen him in a lot of different situations with women of all ages, and I've only seen absolute respect for women. I've never seen any roaming eyes or hands and never have heard in 25 years of the time I've known him any such allegations of this. And he's been a political, public figure for nearly 40 years in very high profile cases, and not once has this come up. So I'm not going to just rush to judgment and throw all of that aside after one week of allegations.


STAVER: Well, Stephanie, let's look at this. Beverly Young Nelson, she says that this happened, and she doesn't mention about that nearly 20 years later, he was presiding over her divorce with Mr. Harris. She doesn't raise an issue at all. If someone sexually abused you, and now that judge is determining your fate as in a divorce case, you would ask for that judge to be recused, and never a hint of that.

RUHLE: Oh, excuse me. Mat, you know what? No sir. Absolutely not. If I was her –

STAVER: Oh, you would too. I’m a lawyer, and I wouldn’t – if I was representing her, I wouldn’t let that happen.

RUHLE: Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, sir. No, you know what, though? You know what? I don’t know anything about her financial situation, but I’m a mom. And if I were going through divorce proceedings, and the judge presiding was someone that I had a past with, and that I was afraid of, I don't know that I would have the guts at a time as scary and sensitive like that, that I would then launch into a war and a debate with a judge.

STAVER: You know what? She would obviously raise that to her attorney. Have we heard from the attorney? No. Have we had any kind of resolution or some kind of objection to him? No.

RUHLE: So we don’t even know -- then let's not jump to conclusions. Let's not jump to conclusions.

STAVER: It just doesn't make sense.

RUHLE: We don’t even know, at the time, if she --

STAVER: It just doesn't make sense.

RUHLE: Sir, we're going to agree to disagree, because it is not appropriate to opine on what a woman who is going through divorce proceedings, possibly one of the most difficult things people have to do in their life, could have done.

STAVER: You know, if a woman that's been sexually abused is going to allow a judge to determine her fate under a divorce decree and never even mention it to her attorney, it doesn’t make sense. Those kinds of things just don’t add up, Stephanie.

RUHLE: Well, Mat, I don’t believe you know what it feels like.

VELSHI: I would say, Mat, I think one of the things we've learned in the last several months with these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse is that you and I are probably not in a great position to know how women who have been victims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse would act in any situation post-that harassment or abuse. So I don't know that -- I mean, I understand that you mean well, but I don't think you and I know how she would have reacted.

STAVER: I agree. Certainly we're not going to be in the best position.


ThinkProgress: Court documents show key claim made by Roy Moore’s attorney was a lie

Southern Poverty Law Center extremist file: Liberty Counsel


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