Roy Moore's attorney said today that the change in Beverly Young Nelson's story proves she has not been honest about her accusation that Moore assaulted her outside a Gadsden restaurant 40 years ago.
Nelson said today for the first time that she added a notation to what she claims is Moore's signature and a message in her high school yearbook.
Nelson did not mention that when she first made the accusation against Moore at a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred on Nov. 13. Nelson offered the yearbook signature as evidence that Moore knew her and was, according to Nelson, a regular customer at the restaurant where she worked when she was 16.
"What they said then was either a lie, or what they said today was a lie," Moore attorney and longtime ally Phillip Jauregui said. "And the voters are going to have to decide, were they lying then or are they lying now, or do the voters think they've been telling the truth all along?"
Nelson alleged that a week or two after signing the yearbook at the restaurant, Moore offered her a ride home from work and assaulted her in his car. Moore has denied the allegation and said he has never known Nelson.
Jauregui said the allegation has been painful.
"This has been horrible," Jauregui said. "It's been absolutely horrible for Judge Moore, his wife, his mom, his daughter, his sons, his granddaughters, his friends, his church members. People across the state of Alabama that have known him for so long."
Allred said today that a handwriting expert determined that the signature in the yearbook was authentic. Allred has declined Jauregui's request to turn the yearbook over to a third party for analysis, saying she would only do so if a Senate committee holds a hearing on the matter. Allred says Nelson is willing to testify under oath.
Jauregui gave little credibility to the claim that the signature had been authenticated.
"Release the yearbook so that an independent expert, not your paid expert, an independent expert, a neutral third-party custodian, can take it and look at the ink so that we can find out is the ink a month old, or is it 40 years old? " Jauregui said. "The truth is out there and until she releases the yearbook, all we know is they're not telling the truth and they've lied."
Allred also said today that she believes Nelson's life is in danger since she made the allegation.
Nelson made her allegation in a press conference with Allred four days after the Washington Post first reported several women's accounts that Moore asked them out or dated them when they were ages 16-18 and he was a county prosecutor in his early 30s. One woman said Moore took her to his house and undressed her when she was 14.
Moore has denied the allegations and said they are intended to undermine his campaign. Moore, the Republican nominee, faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's special election for the U.S. Senate.
Jauregui and Moore campaign chairman Bill Armistead spoke to the media at the Renaissance hotel in Montgomery. They did not take questions.
Allred said the handwriting expert, Arthur Anthony, who previously worked for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, compared the message in the yearbook to examples of Moore's handwriting and signature and concluded it was a match.
Besides examining the yearbook, Allred said Anthony also authenticated Moore's handwriting on a graduation card that Debbie Wesson Gibson said she received from Moore. Gibson said she dated Moore when she was 17 and Moore was 34 after Moore spoke to her high school civics class, the Washington Post reported.
In all, five women have told the Washington Post that Moore dated them or tried to date them when they were teenagers in the Gadsden area.
Kelly Harrison Thorp told AL.com that she was a 17-year-old high school senior in 1982 and working as a hostess at Red Lobster in Gadsden when Moore asked her out. She said she turned him down.
Tina Johnson told AL.com that she went to Moore's Gadsden law office in 1991, when Moore was a private attorney, to arrange for her mother to have custody of her 12-year-old son. Johnson said Moore grabbed her buttocks as she left his office.Click here for AL.com's coverage of Roy Moore.