A woman contacted the Washington Post falsely claiming that Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager as part of a right-wing disinformation campaign, the paper reported Monday.
The day after the Post published a report in which four women alleged that the Senate hopeful used his position as a district attorney to solicit them for sex, another woman came forward. Emailing under the name “Lindsay James,” the tipster claimed to have damning information about Moore.
“Roy Moore in Alabama … I might know something, but I need to keep myself safe,” the would-be accuser wrote on Nov. 9. “How do we do this?”
She requested to keep contact over email, in fear of her safety.
“I need to be confident that you can protect me before I will tell all,” the woman claiming to be Lindsay James continued. “I have stuff I’ve been hiding for a long time, but maybe it should stay that way.”
She would go on to state that her name was Jaime Phillips, not Lindsay James.
Phillips, who said that she lived in New York, eventually arranged to meet Post reporter Beth Reinhard around the Thanksgiving holiday, claiming that she would be in the Washington, D.C. area to do some Black Friday shopping. The two met alone in a restaurant in Tysons Corner, Va., as James claimed that she was not “comfortable with anyone else being there this time.”
During their interview, the woman claimed that she and Moore had a brief romance when she was 15 years old, back in the summer of 1992. After she became pregnant, Phillips alleged that he drove her to an abortion clinic in Mississippi to terminate the birth.
Throughout their meeting, the accuser asked for assurance that the allegations would end in Moore losing the Alabama special election race. Moore is currently running against Democrat Doug Jones for Jeff Sessions’ vacated seat in the Senate, a close contest in which the Republican is trailing by a little less than a percentage point. The GOP candidate had enjoyed a comfortable lead prior to the Post allegations.
Reinhard, however, was unable to say with certainty that Phillips’ story would result in Moore’s defeat.
The Post then discovered that the accuser was not who she claimed to be: A GoFundMe fundraiser from May solicited money to help a woman named Jaime Phillips relocate to New York in order to work in the “conservative media movement.” Phillips claimed that her new job as a “researcher and fact-checker” would be “to combat the lies and deceipt [sic] of the liberal MSM.”
Just weeks before that post went live, the right-wing group Project Veritas posted that it would be hiring 12 “undercover reporters” to “adopt an alias persona, gain access to an identified person of interest and persuade that person to reveal information.”
Project Veritas, a nonprofit entity run by James O’Keefe, records conversations with liberal outfits to smear and discredit them. The organization’s most famous video was a secretly filmed meeting with Planned Parenthood in which the reproductive rights group appears to be selling baby parts, although that tape was debunked as a hoax.
Post reporters subsequently viewed Phillips entering Project Veritas’ New York headquarters on Monday.
Phillips denied any connection to the conservative organization in a second meeting with the Postthis time reporter Stephanie McCrummen. When asked about the GoFundMe page, the accuser claimed that she had interviewed with the right-wing news site The Daily Caller, although the publication denies any such meeting.
She also demanded again that McCrummen promise Moore would lose, in a conversation that she appears to have been recording.
“So my whole thing is, like, I want him to be completely taken out of the race,” Phillips said. “And I really expected that was going to happen, and now it’s not. So I don’t know what you think about that.”
O’Keefe refused questions from the Post about whether Phillips is connected to Project Veritas.
These false allegations are just one part of a larger campaign to brand the Post’s well-sourced reporting as fake news, nothing more than liberal media lies about conservative politicians. An Alabama pastor claimed that he was contacted by a journalist from the paper looking for anyone “willing to make damaging remarks” about Moore in exchange for money.
The homocon blog Gateway Pundit and Alex Jones’ InfoWars signal boosted a false account on Twitter alleging the same.
Such reports come at a vulnerable time for Moore’s campaign. Although President Donald Trump has refused to condemn the anti-LGBTQ figure (who has now been accused by five women), powerful Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) disavowed his candidacy. A former White House aide has vowed to run a write-in candidacy against Moore, which could further erode his already shrinking support.
Moore is one of the country’s most extreme anti-gay figures, calling for the criminalization of homosexuality and comparing same-sex marriage to slavery. He was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for attempting to block same-sex marriages in his state two years ago.