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Federal Judge Dismisses Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen

British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on Tuesday won the dismissal of a $95 million defamation lawsuit by Roy Moore, a former U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama who claimed he was tricked into being portrayed falsely as a sex offender on Cohen’s Showtime series “Who Is America?” Moore sued over an interview with Baron Cohen in Washington, D.C., where the former Republican chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court expected to receive an award for supporting Israel.

Baron Cohen, disguised as fictional Israeli anti-terrorism expert Erran Morad, instead demonstrated a wand-like device that purportedly detected pedophiles and beeped when waved near Moore, who walked out.

 

A former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore had been accused by several women of having pursued them sexually when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers, accusations that came to light during his 2018 Senate campaign. The allegations contributed to his upset loss in that election to Doug Jones, who became Alabama’s first Democratic senator in a quarter of a century.

In a 26-page decision, U.S. District Judge John Cronan in Manhattan said Moore’s signed consent agreement barred him from suing Baron Cohen, Showtime, and its parent ViacomCBS Inc. over the July 2018 broadcast, including for intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud. Moore earlier sought to disqualify Cronan, an appointee of Donald Trump’s, for allegedly opposing his political and religious beliefs.

Cronan said the “Who Is America?” segment was “clearly a joke,” and no reasonable viewer would see it differently. “It is simply inconceivable that the program’s audience would have found a segment with Judge Moore activating a supposed pedophile-detecting wand to be grounded in any factual basis,” Cronan wrote.

Moore and his wife Kayla, also a plaintiff, quickly appealed. But they should probably take a note from Baron Cohen’s previous lawsuits. Baron Cohen won the dismissal of a lawsuit in 2007 brought by two former fraternity students who claimed they were duped while drunk into appearing in his film “Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”



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