Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has defeated a defamation suit filed by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who said he was deceived in a television appearance that accused him of sexual misconduct.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld the lower court’s ruling in favor of Baron Cohen, saying Mr. Moore had signed a disclosure agreement that barred any legal claim on attendance.
The three judges further saw that it was “clearly comedy” when Baron Cohen displayed a so-called pedophile detector that beeped when he approached Mr. Moore and no viewer would think that the comedian was making a real complaint against Mr. Moore.
The 95 95 million lawsuit focuses on Mr. Moore’s unintentional appearance in the comic Who Is America
The division continued after Mr. Moore faced allegations of misconduct during the 2017 U.S. Senate race in Alabama that he had sexual and romantic relationships with teenagers when he was a man in his 30s. He has denied the allegations.
Mr. Moore, a Republican, known for his tough stance in opposing gay marriage and supporting the public display of the Ten Commandments, was told he was receiving a reward for supporting Israel.
But in the segment, Baron Cohen appeared as “counter-terrorism instructor” Korn Eran Morad “discussing fake military technology with supposed pedophile detectors. The counterfeit device repeatedly beeps when it is Mr. Moore, who was sitting on the rock.
“Baron Cohen may have meant (despite denying the character of a belief that Judge Moore was a pedophile) that he believed Judge Moore’s defendants, but he did not explicitly imply the existence of any independent real basis for that belief other than the identification of ridiculous pedophiles. The ‘device’, which no rational person can believe to be a real, functional part of technology, ”the court wrote in an unsigned summary order.
Mr. Moore and his wife, Kayla, sued, arguing that this part had defamed Mr. Moore and caused them emotional distress. The couple claimed that the waiver signed by Mr. Moore was unenforceable because it was obtained under a false representation.
The appellate court noted that it was in fact a ploy to allow Mr. Moore to appear on the show, but he abandoned all legal claims and signed a binding release.
The allegations against Mr. Moore have contributed to his loss to Democrat Doug Jones, the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in a quarter of a century.
The seat returned to Republican control when Mr. Jones lost the next election to Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach.
Baron Cohen has been tempted by awkward interviews of unsolicited politicians for years. He has faced past lawsuits for similar pranks, but those were also dropped because individuals signed the release.
Mr Moore and his wife have indicated they will appeal.
“For a long time, the American people have been oppressed by Sacha Baron Cohen. His deceptive and deceptive behavior must stop. We will appeal, “the couple said in a statement to the Associated Press.