A New York federal Judge is refusing to dismiss a lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime and CBS.
The lawsuit, filed in September 2018, was filed by failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and his wife Kayla.
The pair claim that Cohen publicly slandered Moore as he implied he was a pedophile on his show, Who is America?
Former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, 73, appeared on Sacha Baron Cohen’s show, Who is America?, in July 2018
Cohen appeared in character as a faux counterterrorism instructor Erran Morad
The Moore’s are suing for defamation and emotional distress after being pranked on the actor’s television show where he was ‘falsely portrayed as a sex offender and pedophile’.
The judge denied Cohen’s request to have the $95 million lawsuit dismissed.
The Moores are said to have warned Cohen and his production team that if the ‘offensive and defamatory interview’ were aired, they would sue.
‘We are gratified that the Court is allowing the Moores’ case to go forward and we look forward to putting Cohen and the other defendants under oath,’ said Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, and a former federal prosecutor.
Moore sat stone faced throughout the interview and ended the interview early in the clip
‘The alleged defamation of Chief Justice Moore was malicious and despicable and it is time that a jury of the parties’ peers allow justice to be done. Great harm has been caused to my clients, which must be addressed and remedied.’
In the segment which aired in July 2018, Cohen pretended to be as an Israeli Mossad agent.
Moore was duped into appearing on a five minute portion of the show where Baron Cohen demonstrated a supposed pedophile detecting device that beeped each time it came near Moore.
‘In February 2018, I was invited to Washington D. C. to receive an award for my strong support of Israel in commemoration of her 70th anniversary as a nation,’ Moore said in a statement to AL.com.
Cohen showed a device that ‘detected pedophiles’ and beeped each time it came near Moore
‘Because Alabama has always been at the forefront of support of Israel and because I share a strong belief in God as the Creator and Sustainer of all life, as does Israel, I eventually accepted the invitation. Expenses were paid, and I received no private remuneration for my time or participation. I did not know Sacha Cohen or that a Showtime TV series was being planned to embarrass, humiliate, and mock not only Israel, but also religious conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Joe Walsh, and Dick Cheney.’
‘As for Mr. Cohen, whose art is trickery, deception, and dishonesty, Alabama does not respect cowards who exhibit such traits!’ Moore wrote. ‘It’s been a long time since I fought for my country in Vietnam. I’m ready to defend her again!’ Moore added.
Cohen asked for the judge to dismiss the lawsuit but its is now going ahead
During his 2017 Senate race, Moore faced accusations that he pursued romantic and sexual relationships with teens as young as 14 when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. He had always denied the misconduct allegations.
‘Sacha Baron Cohen, who is not only low class but also a fraudster, will now, along with Showtime and CBS, be held accountable for his outrageous and false, fraudulent and defamatory conduct which callously did great emotional and other damage to his great man and his wife and family,’ Klayman said in a statement.
Klayman said Moore thought he was receiving an award for supporting Israel when he agreed to appear on the show. In the segment, Baron Cohen appeared as the bushy eyebrowed faux counterterrorism instructor ‘Col. Erran Morad’ discussing bogus military technology, including a supposed pedophile detector.
As the device repeatedly beeped when it came near Moore, he sat stone faced and asked to end the interview early.
The lawsuit asks for $95 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
Baron Cohen’s latest show, which began airing in July 2018, also pranked several other political figures.
Baron Cohen has faced past lawsuits over similar pranks, but those actions faltered because the individuals had signed releases.
A New York judge in 2008 tossed out lawsuits brought by a driving instructor and two etiquette school teachers who said they were duped into appearing in the movie Borat in which Baron Cohen played an awkward foreign journalist traveling the United States.
The judge said they accepted money and signed agreements releasing the filmmakers from liability.
Moore’s lawsuit suggests that he too signed a release, but contends it was fraudulently obtained.
Moore is suing for defamation and emotional distress claiming $95m in damages
Moore’s lawyer wrote that as they trying to stop the segment from airing, ‘defendants CBS, Showtime and thus Cohen were informed that the release that Judge Moore had signed was obtained through fraud, and was therefore void and inoperative.’
‘Had Judge Moore and Mrs. Moore known that ‘Erran Morad’ was Defendant Cohen, Judge Moore would have never agreed to be interviewed,’ Moore’s lawyer wrote in the lawsuit.
In 2017, Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme court, was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.
The Washington Post released an investigation that alleged Moore sexually abused young women in the 1970s. Moore has denied the accusations.