Expert confirms Roy Moore's signature in accuser's 1977 yearbook

By KIM CHANDLER
Associated Press
   

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- An attorney for a woman who says Roy Moore assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old waitress says a handwriting expert has confirmed that his inscription in her 1977 yearbook is authentic. Moore's campaign says the accuser's admission that she added the time and place of Moore's yearbook inscription in her own handwriting undermines her entire story.
 
   Beverly Nelson's high school yearbook has become key evidence supporting her claim that the 34-year-old prosecutor was a regular at the Olde Hickory House restaurant where she worked as a teenager -- and where she says he attacked her in his car after she accepted his offer of a ride home one cold winter night. 
 
   Moore has denied knowing Nelson, or the restaurant in Gadsden, for that matter.
 
   With just days to go before Tuesday's voting in Moore's Senate race against Democrat Doug Jones, his campaign has been roiled by this and other accusations of sexual misconduct decades ago. 
 
   Moore has aggressively sought to discredit his accusers, suggesting that both establishment Republicans and liberals are behind the claims. Moore has posted on Twitter frequently about the yearbook, calling his signature a forgery.  
 
   The inscription reads, "To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say, `Merry Christmas."' It is followed by the signature "Roy Moore D.A." and the notation "12-22-77 Olde Hickory House." 
 
   Gloria Allred said Friday that a hired handwriting expert found the signature to be authentic. 
 
   "We think it's important evidence that supports Beverly's statements that Roy Moore asked to sign her yearbook when she was just 16 years old. And it demonstrates that when Roy Moore stated, quote, `I do not know any of these women,' end quote, that statement does not appear to be true," Allred said. 
 
   Allred acknowledged that Nelson added the date and restaurant name below the signature. 
 
   Moore's attorney Phillip Jauregui said Friday that this admission undermines the credibility of Nelson's account and shows that they weren't telling the truth at an initial press conference. 
 
   "What they said then was either a lie or what they said today was a lie. The voters are going to have to decide, were they lying then, or are they lying now?" Jauregui said. 
 
   He asked Allred to release the yearbook so an independent expert can evaluate the signature and notation. 
 
   "Until they release the yearbook, all we know is, they're not telling the truth and they've lied," he said.

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