Alabama voters unsure about Leigh Corfman's accusation that U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore seduced and molested her when she was 14 had a chance to watch Corfman tell her story on the “Today” show Monday. Resolute in the account she first told in The Washington Post 11 days earlier, Corfman might have convinced some viewers who had wanted to hear it straight from her.
Yet her interview with NBC's Savannah Guthrie also included questions about her personal politics, whether she was paid to come forward and why she remained silent for decades — questions that Moore's defenders have raised to cast doubt on her claim. That the same questions came up on the “Today” show is a win for Moore.
Guthrie had little choice but to ask; ignoring the pushback from Moore's camp would have been a glaring omission. But the flip side of Corfman's firsthand retelling of her alleged abuse is that her TV appearance provided new material for those determined to discredit her, who can now say their questions were treated as legitimate by NBC.
Corfman said she consistently votes Republican. She denied being paid.
“Absolutely not,” she said. “Absolutely not. If anything, this has cost me. I've had to take leave from my job. I have no tickets to Tahiti, and my bank account has not flourished. If anything, it has gone down because currently I'm not working.”
Asked why she waited almost 40 years to speak publicly about Moore, Corfman said, “It's very simple, really. I did tell people. My family knew. Family friends knew. My friends knew.”
Corfman said she considered confronting Moore years ago but decided against it, to protect her young children.
“I sat in the courthouse parking lot and thought, you know, I'm going in; I'm going to confront him,” she said. “This was in 2000, 2001. I wanted to walk into his office and say, 'Hey, remember me? You need to knock this stuff off. I need to go public.' My children were small, so I didn't do it.”
The difference in 2017, Corfman said, is “The Washington Post sought me out. I didn't go looking for this; this fell in my lap.”
“The reporters involved were just wonderful to me,” she added, contradicting the characterizations of Moore's supporters.
As Corfman tries to cement her credibility, answering these questions directly — on live TV — is probably more effective than keeping quiet. But the need to address them at all is a sign that Moore's team has been at least somewhat successful at sowing doubt.