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Roy Moore’s Attorney Said an MSBNC Host’s Cultural ‘Background’ Could Explain Dating Teens

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Roy Moore’s attorney Trenton Garmon suggested on air that an MSNBC host’s “background” might help him understand why someone would date teenage girls.

Garmon appeared on MSNBC’s Velshi & Ruhle, which is hosted by Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle, to discuss the scandal surrounding his client, who has been accused of having sexual or romantic relations with at least five teenage girls, one as young as 14, while he was in his 30s. Moore has denied some accusations — including those brought by Beverly Young Nelson, who says Moore sexually assaulted her in a vehicle when she was 16 — and dismissed others, saying that he does not remember dating teenagers or dating any woman “without the permission of her mother.”

In addressing the latter comment on MSNBC, Garmon deferred to cultural differences before mentioning “Ali’s background.”

“What does Ali’s background have to do with dating a 14-year-old?” Ruhle asked.

“In other countries, there’s arrangements through parents for what we would refer to as consensual marriage,” Garmon eventually answered.

Velshi, who is of Indian descent, is from Canada.

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com