A federal court has thrown out the defamation lawsuit filed by Roy Moore, Alabama’s former chief justice, against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen today (13 July).
Moore had been interviewed by Baron Cohen for his show Who Is America? under the pretence that he would receive an award for his support of Israel. Baron Cohen was in character as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert who claimed he had technology that would show whether Moore was a paedophile.
In 2017, sexual misconduct allegations against Moore cropped during his U.S. Senate run, including accusations that he had pursued teenagers. Moore brought the suit against Baron Cohen, Showtime and CBS in 2018, seeking $95 million in damages.
In an opinion, U.S. District Court Judge John P. Cronan wrote that: “Defendants have moved for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiffs’ claims are barred by both a waiver clause in the agreement that Judge Moore signed prior to the interview and also by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
He went on: “The Court agrees that Judge Moore’s claims are barred by the unambiguous contractual language, which precludes the very causes of action he now brings. Although Kayla Moore was not a signatory to that contract, her claims are barred by the First Amendment. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion is granted in its entirety.”
Kayla Moore is Roy Moore’s wife. The Moores have already filed paperwork stating that they will appeal.