Yesterday, Beverly Young Nelson, accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault in 1977. He would have been 30, and she was 16. Her announcement follows an accusation of sexual abuse in 1979 and three other women going on the record to say they had a romantic relationship with Moore when they were in their teens reported by The Washington Post. Moore, in his 30s, was the Deputy District Attorney for Etowah County in northern Alabama at the time.  Moore claimed he did not know her, but in her press conference yesterday she held up a yearbook allegedly signed by him.

“To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A.,” it read.

Ok, I’ve seen an article on Gateway Pundit written by Joshua Caplan making the rounds among Moore defenders so I thought I would address it. I originally planned to just write a Facebook post, but it became long enough I decided to write about it here. I fully admit it is possible that the yearbook signature is a forgery, a handwriting expert has not yet examined it.  If you are relying on this article to claim the signature has been debunked, please don’t, you look foolish. Here are six reasons this article can’t be considered a serious rebuttal to the signature.

  1. This is Gateway Pundit, he is famous for fake news, enough said.
  2. The “analyst” is not a handwriting expert. He “weighs in on politics,” and he is an author. He is as much a handwriting expert as I am which is not at all.
  3. Handwriting changes as you get older. So you have to consider that. I would think a better way to analyze this would be to compare it to a verified signature of Roy Moore’s from the same period.
  4. They compare the 7s in reference to 1977 in Moore’s note with the seven below his name.  Nobody has reported “12-22-77 Olde Hickory House” to be part of his note, have they? The date underneath Moore’s signature could have been added by someone else as a reference. I think the “analyst” made an assumption here.
  5. The complaint about Moore signing D.A. is weak. In Iowa where we have county attorneys, not district attorneys, the prosecutor is referred to as a county attorney. It could be the same in Alabama, I don’t know, but then again, I’m not claiming to be an expert on what the practice in Alabama was in 1977 and neither are they. Update: A friend of mine, Adrienne Royer, made a good point in the comment thread of this post on Facebook. “So it’s far-fetched to imagine that a man trolling for teens would exaggerate his title?” No, it’s not.
  6. They then compare the alleged yearbook signature to a book signing event signature. Are you kidding me? Have they ever been to a book signing? Let’s just say when they are signing multiple books in one sitting along with a personal note the signature is rushed. 

So, again, I want to emphasize that the signature could be a forgery, but let’s see what an actual expert has to say.

2nd Update: Here’s a thought, maybe we should have President Trump do the handwriting analysis. That would be yuuuuuuuge.

49 comments
  1. Hey Shane, I had not seen the gatewaypundit article on the potential Roy Moore signature forgery. I saw cowgernation’s “12 discrepancies” article but gatewaypundit now says there are two different colored inks and that Roy is in black ink and Moore is in blue ink. A CNN photo is shown. Is there really blue and black color?

      1. Do a google search. There are photos floating around showing the above photo in color. The Moore and second date are in blue ink. This is an obvious forgery if it wasn’t some kind of photoshop trickery in the color photo. Also the writing doesn’t really match.

    1. If you look at the images that show 2 different colors, you can see that the 1st “77” has some fading towards blue, so it appears to be a bad edit job to try and discredit the entry.

      1. Correction and apology (egg on my face) . right source wrong link. This is the link that shows the two colors: https://twitter.com/CNN/status/930205088299257859 (same tweet, but without “mobile”)

        However, it’s still bunk. Here’s an explanation from someone who actually reproduced the effect: https://www.metabunk.org/explained-roy-moore-two-color-yearbook-signature-depth-of-field-chromatic-aberration.t9253/

        None of this addresses other problems with the signature, such as the “DA”, or the fact that it so closely resembles an authentic signature from this year, ironically presented by Moore’s enemies to prove the 40-year-old signature authentic, when in fact it tends to indicate the exact opposite; whose signature stays the same for 40 years?

  2. “The date underneath Moore’s signature could have been added by someone else”

    Hoisted by your own petard, Shane!

  3. The different colored ink is inaccurate, but anyone that claims the signator also wrote the date and place are disingenuous. HOWEVER, the “M” in Merry Christmas and the “M” in Moore are completely different, which should be enough to warrant further investigation. Everything was handwritten in the 70’s so it shouldn’t be too difficult for a real investigation to find some of his writing at the time, especially since he was a government employee. He may have signed the book, and in order to “gin up” the story someone added the “Moore” recently. When evaluating a 40-year-old story that could ruin a man’s career and the balance of power within the GOP AND the Senate, details and accuracies matter. If someone with recent allegations came forward, that would be more damning…

      1. You realize that is on glossy paper right? If it were truly two different colors you’d see it in other pictures as well. Like I said. I’ve seen several pictures from several angles, I watched the video. On glossy paper, with the light hitting it at the right moment it can give the appearance of having two different colors. Look at the other picture they share – one color.

      2. Shane, the glossiness of the paper has nothing to do with it. I’m an engineer who measures things. I’m also a serious amateur photographer who prints pictures from a 50.6 megapixel Canon camera on high end Canon printers. There’s no reason for the ink colors to appear different on that flat surface in that even bright light, other than that two different inks were used. That old yearbook paper is actually very dull compared to Canon Pro Photo paper, for example. Aging of the ink due to Ray’s actual message and signature being 40 years old is also possible.

        Whoever forged in Moore’s last name, “D.A.”, and the date and place name below it almost certainly would have done it under a light from directly above. Therefore it would have looked like a match to them color wise when they were done. They would not have had super bright press camera lights shining on it at various angles to show the color difference. Just more evidence of what an amateur job it was.

      3. Different color ink is from a CNN close up,

        Simon, you are lying. You’re even so stupid as to provide the link to prove you’re lying. The picture from CNN at your link does not show two colors. Everything is the exact same black. It’s not a close-up either.

        JulesRollTide’s picture with the two colors is directly from Jim Hoft’s site of lies, and anyone who cites anything from that site as if it were credible is either an idiot or deliberately dishonest.

  4. If you want to brush off the D.A. marks just an exaggeration then the same hold for the nutty woman exaggerating the entire event. For all we know she was pining over Moore back then and wrote the entire thing herself.

    What is known without any doubt is that this nutty woman is working with Gloria Allred… That doesn’t make her more believable that makes everything she says more questionable. How many times has Allred popped up with some women to try and slam a republican? How many times did she try to find women to shoot at Trump? And how many of those women’s stories stood up to scrutiny – zero.

    I might have believed this nutty woman if Gloria wasn’t sitting by her side. But the real question one needs to ask is why is Allred a lawyer licensed in California popping up in Alabama like this? Is her practice in California so bad she needs to find work in another state? Is she just trying to derail another candidate from the republican party by getting nutters to make up stories? I think anyone with any common sense knows what the answer is.

    In the end the biggest problem with any of these women and the stories about Moore is that they never once brought these stories up until right before this election. 40 year to say something and they never say a word. Sorry but as much as I hate bible thumping nut jobs like Moore, I hate liars even more.

  5. Thanks for your article Shane. I’ve looked at several online articles about the signature analysis and I would agree with some of those that other items signed by Roy Moore during the late 70’s or 80’s may shed better light on the accuracy of this yearbook claim.

    Listening to the Hannity radio interview with Roy Moore on ~11/10/17, I came away that he dated some younger teens when in his 30’s. I don’t think most people forget who they dated over the years. As to improprieties with his dates, I’m not convinced that occurred.

    1. You are welcome. Re. specific allegations of sexual abuse/assault I’m not sure we will ever know for certain. I hope the truth of his innocence or guilt comes out. Unfortunately for him his dating behavior gave his accusers more credibility.

  6. 1. Try looking at the M in Moore versus the M in Merry. Not even remotely close.
    2. Look at the middle letter in the first name and then look at all the other o’s above and at Moore’s o’s in signatures. The lines coming off the o’s never droop down. The signer is actually “Ray” and not “Roy”.
    3. Look at the difference in line weight/pen pressure between “Ray” and “Moore”.
    4. Why would someone write in a note like that? Who does that in yearbooks? The exact date and the location?? Who cares where signatures happened??? IT’s the content of the message that has the meaning. I don’t have signing dates or locations in any of my 6 yearbooks. Even if we assume that’s a normal thing, someone else writing there calls into question the claim.
    5. Who has their yearbook at at Christmas at their place of work getting signatures from older men? Yearbooks come out in the spring or in August when school starts back up.
    6. Look at the R and the y in the first name, and compare them to Moore’s actual signatures. He uses a big high flourish on his y such that it crosses over the loop of the R, and the loop of the R is elongated versus Ray’s R in the yearbook. It is not even remotely close, yet the unusual M in Moore matches nicely. Except in Merry where it’s different entirely.

    You don’t need to be a handwriting analyst of any kind to clearly see the huge differences.

    1. I think everything you pointed out has plausible explanations, but I’m not going to debate it. I said from the beginning it could be fake. I just don’t think the case made at The Gateway Pundit or the one made by you is compelling. What’s needed is a handwriting expert who can examine the physical copy (something we all lack). If that person finds that it is fake, so be it and then good for Roy Moore.

      1. It looks like I actually mistook Moore’s middle initial of S in cursive as a flourish on his y. The reason it doesn’t appear here is that this yearbook message was originally signed by just plain old “Ray”, and then “Moore D.A.” and etc. below were added in later.

        I also briefly thought the blue ink appearance for the new stuff was a Photoshop as well, but it’s an actual photo from CNN’s Twitter feed. The blue apparently only shows up in the new ink when the light is at the right angle, while the original signature from Ray always looks black. I hope CNN hasn’t deleted it. If it’s still there, you and all the other believers here need to go look at it, and you need to find the highest resolution screen grabs you can from the presser.

        You do NOT need to be a handwriting expert to see some of the glaring differences. You need an expert when the differences are subtle due to a good forgery. This one is so horrible it’s easy to spot. And if it’s a forgery you don’t really need to add in the fact that this accuser left out how Moore signed off on her divorce dismissal, you know she’s a liar just from the forgery. Check out Allred being interviewed over the phone by Wolf Blitzer for more evidence this is a sham. If she knew it was genuine she would have it out there for multiple experts to examine.

    2. Chris, good observations except that, #1 I think the “m”s ARE similar, #2 We’d need Moore’s signature from that time period to compare, #3 “Y”s change with time; tell somebody that their “Y” with a low tail indicates sexual dissatisfaction and just watch how quickly the signature changes! #4 the last two lines with exact date and location were likely added later and a our host says it may not be claimed otherwise.

      One would quickly conclude that the signature does not match the dedication, except that a number of letters are written in similar fashion. o, r, m, e, and y.

  7. From my experience, a reputable handwriting analyst would probably decline to even try to get involved in this. He/she would need the original yearbook along with an original document known to have been written and/or signed by Moore in that time frame. Even then, a good analyst will rarely offer a conclusive opinion one way or another. Rather, the result of the analysis is rendered in terms of probabilities, which, of course, would not put the controversy to rest.

  8. Well we learned today its a forgery. She forged the signature from her divorce papers form the judge who presided over her divorce case.

    She hadn’t seen Moore since he raped her … except when he presided over her divorce.

    The D.A. isn’t his title its the initials of his law clerk because she used his signature stamp and initialed it which is what you are supposed to do when you someone signature stamp.

    So what happened. Some guy name Ray, not Roy. Wrote her a love letter in ther 77 year book. She is a psycho, as confirmed by her step son, who is still angry at the judge in her divorce. So Ray became Roy Moore D.A. same signature in her divorce papers.

    The entire left-wing media got taken by bitter psycho mad at the judge in her divorce.

    1. The divorce decree news, according to Moore’s lawyer, certainly casts doubt. I just have a couple questions regarding that.

      First, some divorces if they’re uncontested and they come to a settlement then generally they just file with the court and never see the judge. That said, Alabama could be different. If they filed and there was no hearing before the judge is that a contact? I’m not sure I would consider that contact. She should have brought it up though. Also, bear in mind the county was small how many judges were there in the county? Second, what was the result of the divorce? If it went badly for his accuser then I think we definitely have a motive. Hopefully, they’ll release those records since they public records. I agree that it doesn’t look good for her. I would just like to know more info.

  9. Actually the fake yearbook issue is more plausible then yours is……but then again your ideology skews your thought process…..there are issue with the yearbook without a doubt.

  10. I’m not a handwriting expert but I play one in my dreams. Sure looks like the signature and dedication are written by the same person, likely freehand, not traced, though magnification would help decide that.

    The latest allegation is that the signature is taken from the judge’s signature on a 1999 divorce decree. If the signatures are identical that is a problem. But again, the “y”s, “r”s, and “m”s are similar throughout the inscription, and it would take a skillful forger to copy Moore’s handwriting freehand without hesitation. So imo for what that is worth, except for the last two lines this is consistent with the real deal.

    1. Then you must be looking at something other than what everybody else is commenting on. The ‘M’ in Merry is completely different from the ‘M” in Moore. The only similarity is that both letters are the English letter M. Good grief!

  11. The trouble is, that judge Moore decided against her in divorce court i 1999. And the signature is just like the one his assistant Debra Adams (D.A.) used when she used his signature stamp, then she always set her initials besides the stamp, just like it would on official papers. Moore says he never used to state his profession besides his signature. And og coursem he was only an ADA in 1977.

    1. Bull. Every picture from a reliable source shows one color. The only source for the two-color picture is Jim Hoft, and why on earth would anyone believe him? He’s a notorious liar, and probably Photoshopped it himself.

    1. The Moore camp didn’t lie. Apparently you do not understand the legal definition of contact. Having received a legal document with Roy Moore’s signature is legally “contact”.

      LOL, you also don’t apparently pay close attention to what you read. The court document with “D.A.” was introduced by the Moore legal team, NOT ThinkProgress.. The “D.A.” was on the document because Roy Moore’s assistant, Delbra Adams, initialed the document because she stamped the document with Roy Moore’s name.

      The only lies were in your post.

    2. Um, no. On that document the “D.A.” is clearly in a different hand, and is separated from the “signature” by a slash. And the article explains exactly what happened: that is not his actual signature, it’s a stamp used by his assistant, who added her initials.

      Of course at the time he wasn’t even an assistant DA, he was a judge. The question is whether he would have added “DA” to his signature when he actually worked for the DA. I’d think he’d be afraid to do so, lest his boss find out and take offence.

  12. It isn’t that there are two different colors of ink. They are the both black ink – just not the same ink – and not the same age. The ink that you think looks blue is reflecting light differently because it is much more recently applied and contains a greater amount of moisture than the ink that is 40 years old. That moisture is refracting the light much more resiliently than the older ink, creating the illusion of a blue aura.

    You will not see this yearbook inspected by a handwriting expert at all because you will more than likely learn there is a significant amount of forgery and that the original writing is likely not Roy Moore’s either.

    Allred is already claiming that she will not have this yearbook analyzed unless there is a Senate ethics hearing convened. We all know that is never going to happen. By the time anything like that would even be plausible this election will be long over with. This is beside the fact that it is ridiculously preposterous that someone would make an accusation against someone, claim to have damning evidence to back their claim and then demand they swear an oath before a high court and proof their innocence without the evidence ever having been verified as authentic.

    Again, I will all but guarantee you that this yearbook will never be analyzed. Don’t be surprised if it “mysteriously” disappears at some point.

    One last point: If Allred could get Moore to quit the race she would be the queen of the left. If this yearbook is indeed 100% authentic why wouldn’t she have already had a crew of experts verify
    it …like…yesterday…

    1. It isn’t that there are two different colors of ink. They are the both black ink – just not the same ink – and not the same age. The ink that you think looks blue is reflecting light differently because it is much more recently applied and contains a greater amount of moisture than the ink that is 40 years old. That moisture is refracting the light much more resiliently than the older ink, creating the illusion of a blue aura.

      First produce an authentic picture that shows such a difference. Until you can do that, i.e. so long as the only source for such a picture is Jim Hoft, explanations for why a forgery might show such a difference are irrelevant.

      1. Well, I found an authentic picture but also an explanation (see above).

        I’m still bothered by the signature being so similar to one from this year. Signatures change over 40 years. Also I’d think he’d be worried about his boss finding out that he’d been using his title, and not being pleased.

  13. Why are you deliberately excluding the close-up flash photograph of the signature that CNN tweeted out, that has a very conspicuous discrepancy that no expert is needed to discern – two different colored inks.

    There seems to be a careful elision of this easily cleared-up issue that takes no expert to see if it is present to visual inspection by a layman. If I were Allred, and the inks matched, I would bring up the point, and make sure to get the commentary and cooperation of the media – not only allowing media to visually inspect the boog, but encourage them to widely distributing new images clearly photographed

    The image you choose to publish does not have a very conspicuous difference, but if viewed after having seen the “two ink” closeup, you actually can, with a laymans eye, discern differences in dark and light and the weight of the lines. However, it is not a plain and in one’s face as the CNN-tweeted close up.

    There is no excuse in waiting to allow new visual inspection of the book by media, and Allred had hidden the evidence away. This is a tell of deception and it’s infuriating that there is any delay, even if, as I do, the other, if milder, reports of him approaching young girls and bothering them with some persistence.

    I don’t like Moore and I don’t want him for a senator. However, I am horrified at anyone who would decide “fake but accurate” is a perfectly acceptable strategy – faking evidence to manipulate the public is not acceptable.

    In light of the ink discrepancies, the other visually apparent oddities (new ground line slant for “blue” text, differing forms for numerals, but consistent within each of he two sections of different ink, repeated date, odd specificity characteristic of falsehood, printing that does not agree with widely available exemplars of Moore’s printing style, take on more signfigance.

    But the ink issue does not require an expert. It requires close-up viewing in good light and photography from differing angles. That’s it.

    Different ink = forgery.

  14. The different color inks could also be a function of them being composed of different elements. So that one ink–the newer ink–could reflect light in a different fashion, and present a different color when exposed to the bright flash of a camera lens. When viewed in normal light they both might appear black-ish in color and similar to one another, but when subjected to a differing amount of light, or from a different angle, might experience light absorption and reflectivity at different rates. An easy test would be to take a small sample of ink from an earlier portion of the document and compare it to the bluish colored ink section to determine if it is composed of the same chemicals. And if those chemicals existed in the ink making process in the 1970’s. I have serious doubts about this yearbook entry, so I don’t believe the two would match.
    However my doubts are more rooted in the timeline of events and in Nelson’s statements about that timeline than in the yearbook entry itself. Determining if it is a forgery should be easy with chemical analysis. But Alred won’t release it to be tested. More disturbing to me though was what Nelson had to say about Moore at the news conference. She stated that she knew of Moore as “an important man” around town when he was approaching her. That he signed her yearbook in December of 1977. But…Moore had only graduated law school in 1977. So he’s been out of law school for presumably only 5 or 6 months when this yearbook entry is supposedly signed. So he’s a very new person in the county court system. How would a 16 year old girl know of him as being “an important person”–at THAT time in his life? Or in her life for that matter. How many 16 year old girls make a study of the new county legal clerk working on tax code law and zoning? She really sounds like she is describing the person Roy Moore became later on in life. When he was–in fact–a D.A. and signed her divorce decree in 1997 using a signature (probably a stamp from his secretary) which had the notation of “D.A” in the signing. At that time Roy Moore WAS an “important man” who was well known in the county. But I have a difficult time believing he would be so when he is a junior, newly graduated law student coming in as a fresh faced new addition to the county. If I couple this seeming oddity of his elevation in status that she claims she remembers about Moore in her press conference with questionable concerns about how the inks appear different depending on how the yearbook is held or photographed…then it raises enough of a concern to wonder if she’s lying. Isn’t helped by Gloria Allred’s insistence that no independent agency be allowed to examine the document for authenticity. It ends up looking like a political smear campaign. Especially when combined with all the other witnesses who have had problems with their accounts of association with Moore coming up, or with details about their political backgrounds. (Working for both the Biden and Clinton campaigns and now coming out to speak against Moore? Really? Even if true, your account was going to be suspected of political bias.)

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