There has been a strong denial from a Republican Senate nominee over allegations that threaten to torpedo his political career.
Roy Moore is embroiled in sexual misconduct claims, just a month before a special Senate race in Alabama.
Among the accusations, a woman says the ex-judge and staunch conservative Christian initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14.
Moore told a Veterans Day event: “Just two days ago, The Washington Post established — or published, rather — yet another attack on my character and reputation in a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate.
“These attacks involve a minor, and they are completely false and untrue about something that happened nearly 40 years ago. But more than being completely false and untrue, they’re very hurtful to me personally. I’ve been married to my wife, Kayla, for nearly 33 years. We have four children. I have one daughter, and I have five granddaughters. I have the highest regard for the protection of young children.”
Moore went on: “I have not provided alcoholic beverages — alcoholic beverages, beer or anything else — to a minor. I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone. These allegations came only four and a half weeks before the general election on December 12th. Why now?”
Senior Republicans had earlier gone on record to say that if the allegations were proved to be true, then Moore should withdraw from the race.
Protesters turned up to the event, calling on Moore to step aside. But his supporters remain unmoved.
One of them, Mark Nilson, told reporters: “You can suspect all you want to, but we have no right, because they’re innocent until proven guilty. That’s American law and it goes back to biblical law.”
Another Moore supporter, Lori Gilson, said: “I don’t believe them, because I feel like they are timed so suspiciously right before this major election, which obviously has repercussions for all of the other upcoming Senate races. So, it literally could change the landscape of the country and of the Senate.”
But an anti-Moore protester, Bill Smith, said: “My hope and prayer is that the people of Alabama will finally stand up and elect someone who is decent.”
Another protester, Sarah Moody, said: “It’s extremely upsetting. I mean, it’s terrible. I can’t believe it. It’s just mind-blowing to me. Like, he should not be a candidate. He should not be in public office of any sort.”
In a blow to Moore, a senatorial committee that helps Republicans get elected has moved to cut off fund-raising ties with the candidate.