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Al Gore Fights Back

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Two weeks after announcing their separation, Al and Tipper Gore went on a Tennessee family vacation together, a show of unity that contradicts rumors of a contentious end to their 40-year marriage. “Tipper told me, ‘We were at the lake with the kids and grandkids,'” says a source close to her. “They’re dealing with everything as they always have-together.”

Now the couple are united against the explosive accusations of an Oregon massage therapist. On June 30 Portland, Ore., police reopened an investigation into licensed therapist Molly Hagerty’s claim of sexual misconduct by the former Vice President, 62, during an Oct. 24, 2006, massage in Gore’s hotel room. Hagerty, 54, canceled interviews with detectives that year but resurfaced in 2009 to file a 67-page statement (which alleges, among other things, that Gore sang along to a Pink song, “Dear Mr. President,” while throwing himself at her) before reportedly attempting to sell her story this year for $1 million.

Can Hagerty, who is in hiding, be believed? A friend, bird rescuer Donna Burleigh, says Hagerty mentioned the alleged incident at the time though didn’t name Gore, and that “Molly has never lied to me.” Neighbors at Hagerty’s apartment complex describe her as relentless and litigious, winning an unpopular ban on patio grills.

Gore, who said through a rep that he “emphatically” denies Hagerty’s claim, appeared relaxed and confident and wearing his wedding band at a Nashville global-warming lecture after the charges, which carry a possible penalty of jail time, surfaced. Tipper, 61, also insists there is no truth to Hagerty’s story and that it had nothing to do with their split. But she is unnerved to be back in the glare. “She so wants a private life,” her friend says. “But she feels strongly that people know she doesn’t believe anything this woman is saying.”