Misconduct claims against Roy Moore may finally be moving from the campaign trail to a courtroom.
A day after the former judge lost Alabama's special election for Senate, an attorney for one of the women who accused him of age-inappropriate romantic interest said she "absolutely will" bring a defamation case.
Attorney Paula Cobia, who represents accuser Gloria Deason, told the Washington Examiner in an email she “absolutely will pursue a defamation suit against Moore and his wife and others (to possibly include [Steve] Bannon) on behalf of Gloria and myself.”
Moore's alleged misconduct occurred decades ago, with long-expired statutes of limitation, meaning defamation lawsuits offer perhaps the best chance to adjudicate allegations in court.
Deason was one of four women to come forward in a Nov. 9 Washington Post article claiming Moore dated or sexually pursued them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, and he was in his 30s and working as an assistant district attorney.
The accusations led many Republicans to abandon Moore and handed a victory to Democrat Doug Jones in the deeply conservative state.
Unlike other accusers, Deason said she was an 18-year-old adult when she dated Moore, then 32, allegedly after meeting at the Gadsden Mall in 1979.
Deason told the Post Moore ordered Mateus Rosé wine on a date, despite the legal drinking age being 19 in Alabama at the time. Her mother, Deason said, thought Moore was “good husband material,” but would have been upset about the alcohol.
Moore issued a blanket denial of allegations against him on the day the Post story ran, saying, "These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack."
The next day, however, Moore admitted knowing Deason and one other accuser during a radio interview with Sean Hannity, though he denied giving her wine.
"As I recall she was 19 or older. I never provided intoxicating liquor to a minor. I seem to remember her as a good girl," Moore told Hannity on Nov. 10.
Later, Moore again denied knowing any of his accusers.
“The allegations are completely false. They are malicious,” Moore said Nov. 27. “Specifically, I do not know any of these women.”
On Nov. 29, Moore said: “Let me state once again: I do not know any of these women, did not date any of these women, and have not engaged in any sexual misconduct with anyone.”
Attorneys for some of the other women who accused Moore did not respond to requests for comment, including a lawyer for Leigh Corfman, who alleged the Moore touched her sexually when she was 14.
Attorney Gloria Allred said her client Beverly Young Nelson has not decided if she will sue. Nelson alleged Moore attempted to assault her in a car when she was 16.
"Beverly is aware of her legal options and is considering them, but she has not made a decision at this time," Allred told the Examiner.
Moore also threatened to sue for defamation, particularly news publications reporting accusations against him. He has not followed through on the threats.
A spokeswoman for Moore did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the threatened litigation from Cobia or whether he will file defamation lawsuits himself.
Bannon, the former White House strategist who leads Breitbart News, did not respond to a request for comment. The Moore supporter referred to the Post's reporting as "a setup."
“In cases like this, I often wait to see who sues first,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley recently wrote. “Discovery on a defamation claim is a chilling prospect for a public liar.”
In emails with the Examiner, Cobia said that she believes Moore defamed her, in addition to her client.
“They have defamed both of us repeatedly,” she said, “and ignored my numerous public demands for apologies and retractions.” Cobia said a lawsuit likely won’t be filed this week, as “litigation is a lengthy experience and a comprehensive complaint takes time to draft.”