A lawyer for Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore responded to allegations of child sex abuse by invoking a reporter’s “diverse background” and suggesting one of the women accusing Moore was mentally ill.
Speaking to Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle on Wednesday, lawyer Trenton Garmon claimed multiple women alleging Moore attempted to groom them as children ― including one who says Moore sexually assaulted her ― were instead “false witnesses.”
“Based on what I’ve seen, facts out there now, there’s questions” about the validity of the witnesses’ statements, Garmon said. “There’s issues about mental health we’ve not yet had the opportunity to get into.”
In a clip played by MSNBC, Fox News anchor Sean Hannity asked Moore if he would remember dating girls as young as 17. Moore responded no, but that he would not dispute the claims.
“If Roy Moore doesn’t remember, why would he say it’s false?” Ruhle asked the lawyer. “And why would he need permission from these girls’ mothers if they’re not underage?”
Garman fumbled for an answer.
“Culturally speaking, obviously there’s differences,” Garmon started. “I looked up Ali’s background there, wow, that’s awesome that you have got such a diverse background ― it’s really cool to read.”
Velshi and Ruhle both appeared perplexed.
“What does Ali’s background have to do with dating a 14-year-old?” Ruhle responded. “Please answer: What does Ali Velshi’s background have do with dating 14-year-old girls?”
“In other countries, there’s arrangements through parents for what we would refer to as consensual marriage,” Garmon said.
“Ali is from Canada,” Ruhle said.
“I don’t know where you’re going with this, Trenton,” Velshi said.
Garmon continued to fumble his responses, leading Ruhle to another line of questioning.
“You have young daughters,” she told Garmon. “If your daughter was 14, would you think it’s appropriate that she date a man in his 30s? Would you think it was normal that a random man sign her yearbook?”
“I would say no,” Garmon said. “If someone came to me like what was postulated there and said, ‘May I date your daughter ― don’t know her age’ ― I would say no.”
Garmon confirmed he would continue to support the senate candidate.
“From who I know in Roy Moore, I know no better man,” he said. “I know a lot of good men, a lot of good women. But who I know in Roy Moore, I know no better man.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.