A Roy Moore supporter refused to answer questions about an alleged bribery attempt aimed at boosting Moore’s 2017 campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from Alabama, claiming dozens of times while under oath that truthful responses might incriminate him, according to court records released Monday.
In the final weeks of the failed Senate bid, Bert Davi and another Moore supporter approached the lawyer for Leigh Corfman, who had accused Moore of touching her sexually when she was 14 and he was 32. The men offered the lawyer $10,000 to drop Corfman as a client and issue a statement to Breitbart News questioning her credibility, the lawyer previously told The Washington Post.
The lawyer, Eddie Sexton, declined to make the statement. In a Post story in March about the effort, an account that relied in part on audio and text messages, Moore and his campaign denied involvement, and Davi denied wrongdoing.
A transcript of a deposition filed in court Monday shows that, under questioning during closed-door testimony in November, Davi asserted his constitutional right not to incriminate himself 65 times when asked about the alleged offer.
In a brief phone interview Monday, asked why he invoked his right against self-incrimination, Davi said, “It’s simple.” He paused, then added: “You know what? I’m not going to comment.”
Moore’s attorney, Melissa Isaak, said Monday that “there was no participation by the Moore campaign or anybody associated with it.”
The court case in Montgomery County, Ala., began as a defamation lawsuit in which Corfman accused Moore of smearing her after she went public with her allegations. But it has delved deeply into the activities of a group of Moore supporters who sought to salvage his 2017 campaign, including employees of Breitbart, a website run at the time by former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon.
Corfman’s attorneys released Davi’s deposition as part of a request for a subpoena to force Breitbart and two of its reporters to turn over records that might shed light on their interactions with the Moore campaign.
A spokeswoman for Breitbart previously told The Post that its reporters were not aware of any offer to Sexton.
Davi and a business partner, Gary Lantrip, attended a closed-door fundraising event for Moore in Washington on Nov. 1, 2017, and acted as his security guards two weeks later at a Moore campaign event in Alabama, video from the events shows. The two men,owners of a small construction firm and Sexton’s clients in an unrelated case, also arranged for Sexton to meet the Breitbart reporters. Davi and Lantrip pressed Sexton to provide the reporters with a statement undercutting Corfman’s allegations, according to text messages and recorded phone conversations.
In the deposition, Lantrip said he was not acting on behalf of Moore or his campaign. He said that the $10,000 would have been a “loan” that Sexton had requested and that it was unrelated to the statement they asked him to make.
Lantrip also said that when he was pressing Sexton for the statement, Breitbart reporter Matt Boyle said the website was considering opening an Alabama office, adding “maybe we can get him [Sexton] some work down here.” A Breitbart representative previously denied Sexton was offered legal work in exchange for any statement.
Lantrip said Sexton privately told the men he didn’t believe Corfman, an allegation Sexton has denied. Moore’s attorney said Monday she is seeking a subpoena for an audio recording of the meeting between the Breitbart reporters and Sexton. She said Boyle told her Sexton “disparaged Leigh Corfman throughout the meeting.”
Boyle did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Moore said in a radio interview Friday that he is “seriously considering” running for Senate again in 2020 against Democrat Doug Jones, who defeated him in the 2017 special election.