A lawyer for Roy Moore tried to persuade some skeptical federal appeals judges Friday to revive a $95 million defamation lawsuit that the former Alabama candidate for U.S. Senate brought against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Moore’s original lawsuit against the “Who Is America?” writer and star was dismissed almost one year ago.
U.S. District Judge John P. Cronan said in his written July 2021 ruling that the 2018 segment with Moore on “Who Is America?” — a comedy series in which Baron Cohen plays multiple fictional characters with often embarrassing results for its unwitting subjects— could not have defamed him because it was “clearly a joke and no reasonable viewer would have seen it otherwise.”
But Moore’s lawyer, Larry Klayman, complained during arguments before a panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that his client “wasn’t treated fairly” last year when the judge tossed his lawsuit. Klayman even went as far as to compare his client–whose dubious political track record is tied to accusations of predatory sexual behavior towards teenage girls–to actor Johnny Depp, saying Moore also “deserves to have a jury determine” the validity of his claims.
A U.S. appeals court in Manhattan appeared unlikely to revive former Alabama judge Roy Moore's lawsuit accusing Sacha Baron Cohen of defamation for falsely portraying him as a sex offender on the British comedian's show 'Who Is America?' https://t.co/5xLdK1TEvH pic.twitter.com/wtyUnIlSBg
— Reuters Legal (@ReutersLegal) June 10, 2022
In the segment with Moore, Baron Cohen waves a wand that he claimed could detect enzymes secreted only by “sex offenders and particularly pedophiles” and the device seemed to emit a beeping noise when it was moved closer to Moore, Judge Cronan recounted. He wrote that it should have been “abundantly clear to any reasonable viewer” that Baron Cohen was using humor to comment on accusations in news reports that Moore had had inappropriate sexual encounters, including with a minor.
Sorry, Roy. Nice try.
And this is now part of the legal record:See Also
“Several published articles accused Judge Moore of inappropriate sexual encounters with young females, including one who was underage”
Seems like a good day to enjoy this again:https://t.co/5i8Ojs5pc4
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 13, 2021
Baron Cohen’s lawyer, Elizabeth McNamara, said the papers Moore signed before he appeared on the show prevented him from making his defamation claims. She also said Baron Cohen’s depiction of himself as being capable of discerning whether someone is a pedophile by waving a magic wand “is the classic satirical commentary that is fully protected by the First Amendment.”