Team of staunch conservative allies defends Moore in Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — With Roy Moore’s Republican U.S. Senate candidacy threatened by sexual misconduct claims, one of his closest aides recently stepped up to a microphone outside the state Capitol and jabbed at the air. Declaring that God has picked Alabama voters to decide the nation’s future, he urged them not to be “tricked.”
“All hell is coming to Alabama against Judge Roy Moore,” said campaign strategist Dean Young, spreading his arms wide for effect.
Moore always has attracted fervent believers willing to cross state lines to support of his mix of far-right politics and conservative Christianity. But Moore also is surrounded by a circle of closer allies who have stood with him for years during culture wars that made him a darling to religious conservatives nationwide.
Decades-old accusations involving young women are now threatening Moore’s political life in a race against Democrat Doug Jones, and his team is all in. They have different roles, like players on a football field. Here’s a look at some of Moore’s inner circle:
Young, a bombastic fighter with closely cropped hair, a goatee and glasses, is often seen near Moore in TV shots.
He’s been at Moore’s side since the 1990s, when Moore was a local judge fighting the American Civil Liberties Union after hanging a handmade wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments in a courtroom. As head of the Christian Family Association, which he founded, Young became a spokesman for an embattled Moore when then-Gov. Fob James vowed to call out the Alabama National Guard to protect the plaque.
That fight made Moore a hero to the Christian right, propelling him — and Young — to bigger stages. Moore was elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court as Young continued supporting Moore, sometimes from a distance.
Young, 53, also got into politics eventually.
He unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor and a congressional seat in south Alabama, most recently last year. In a letter released by Young’s congressional campaign in 2013, Moore wrote: “May God grant you favor and bless you as you seek to serve Him and the people of Alabama.”
An attorney, Jauregui (pronounced juh RAY gey) also has been a campaign surrogate to fend off questions about Moore and teenage girls. Standing beside campaign chairman Bill Armistead, the 47-year-old Jauregui tried to discredit an accuser’s story and praised Moore.
“I’ve probably been with him in probably over 100 meetings and been around probably in excess of 10,000 ladies in Judge Moore’s presence. And not once, not one time, have I ever seen him act even remotely inappropriately against any woman,” said Jauregui, 47.
Like Young, Jauregui’s affiliation goes back to the ’90s, when Jauregui worked as a deputy legal adviser for then-Gov. James. Jauregui later represented Moore as a private attorney and chaired his 2000 campaign for chief justice. Moore campaigned for Jauregui when Jauregui ran for Congress unsuccessfully in 2004.
Currently on leave from his suburban Birmingham law firm, Jauregui is president of Judicial Action Group, which advocates for a conservative federal judiciary.
DuPre, Moore’s former chief of staff at the Supreme Court, spoke along with Young outside the Capitol in Moore’s defense. He’s a staff attorney for Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Tom Parker, a one-time Moore aide who won statewide office on Moore’s coattails.
In a move that could land him on late-night TV, DuPre positioned himself between Moore and a comic plant from Jimmy Kimmel’s television show during a church service where Moore spoke Wednesday night in south Alabama.
Video showed DuPre attempting to remove the comic, Tony Barbieri from the front of the church before a pastor threatened to have any other disruptors arrested. DuPre’s LinkedIn profile says he worked nearly a decade at the nonprofit Foundation for Moral Law, which Moore founded.
As chief justice, Moore tapped Hobson to lead the administrative agency that oversees Alabama’s court system in 2000.
Moore was removed from office in 2003 for ignoring a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the state’s judicial building, and Hobson was fired by the other justices days later. He later went to work as executive director of the Foundation for Moral Law.
When about 20 religious leaders spoke on Moore’s behalf at a recent event, one from rural Alabama mentioned being invited to the event by “Rich,” a reference to Hobson.
Hobson also spoke for the campaign earlier this year after Moore was trolled online with rainbow flag emojis over his opposition to same-sex marriage, a stance that got Moore suspended from the Supreme Court a second time last year.
Years after leaving the public spotlight to concentrate on farming in south Alabama, Giles said he came out of “mothballs” this year to support his old friend Moore.
Giles worked for the late Republican Gov. Guy Hunt in 1989, and he met Moore soon after Hunt appointed Moore to a circuit judgeship. Giles now heads Proven Conservative PAC, which he said has spent $126,000 to support Moore. The group’s first campaign commercial called the Democratic nominee Doug Jones a “pro-abortion extremist,” highlighting an issue close to the hearts of Moore’s conservative supporters.
Giles said he likes Moore so much partly because while most Alabama politicians portray themselves as Christian, Moore never just campaigned on his beliefs — he consistently applied them while in office.
“That’s the reason these recent allegations are so off base,” said Giles, 63. “His Christian virtues just don’t line up with what is being said about him.”
AP reporter Kim Chandler contributed to this report from Montgomery, Alabama.