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Former Alabama Justice Loses Defamation Suit Against “Borat” Star Sacha Baron Cohen

— July 7, 2022

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has lost a defamation lawsuit against the “Borat” star, alleging that Baron Cohen defamed him by making a fake “pedophile detector” beep in his presence.

A federal judge has dismissed a $95 million defamation lawsuit filed by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who accused comedian Sacha Baron Cohen of tricking him into a television appearance that portrayed Moore as a sexual predator.

According to P.B.S., the 2nd United States Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected Moore’s petition, holding that a lower court had correctly dismissed Moore’s appeal.

In its ruling, the appellate panel found that Moore had signed a disclosure agreement that prohibited him from taking any legal action.

Furthermore, the three judges determined that Baron Cohen’s use of a so-called “pedophile detector”—which was activated in Moore’s presence—was “pure comedy,” insofar as no reasonable audience would likely conclude that the “pedophile detector” was an actual device capable of identifying real sexual predators.

As P.B.S. reports, Moore’s lawsuit centered on the former Supreme Court justice’s appearance on “Who is America?”

On the show, Baron Cohen—disguised as an Israeli military veteran and former commando—informed Moore that he had “won an award” for his support of Israel.

During the interview, Baron Cohen revealed a “pedophile detecting” device allegedly used by Israel’s armed forces to identify sexual predators.

However, when the device was activated in Moore’s presence, it suggested that Moore himself was likely a pedophile.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

P.B.S. notes that the “What is America?” segment featuring Moore aired after the retired justice faced public misconduct allegations after his failed run for the United States Senate in Alabama.

During the race, Moore was criticized for allegedly pursuing sexual and romantic relationships with teenage girls while he was in his 30s.

“Baron Cohen may have implied (despite his in character disclaimers of any belief that Judge Moore was a pedophile) that he believed Judge Moore’s accusers, but he did not imply the existence of any independent factual basis for that belief besides the obviously farcical pedophile detecting ‘device,’ which no reasonable person could believe to be an actual, functioning piece of technology,” the court wrote in an unsigned summary order.

Moore and his Wife later filed a lawsuit against Baron Cohen, saying that the segment defamed Moore and caused the family significant emotional distress.

They also claimed that Baron Cohen’s waiver was unenforceable because it was obtained under false representation, with agents the British comedian stating that Moore’s interview and appearance was being coordinated by Israel-based television networks.

Baron Cohen, adds P.B.S., has “for years lured unwitting politicians into awkward situations.”

In his recent film, “Borat 2,” Baron Cohen used a female actress to lure former New City mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani into a hotel bedroom, where Giuliani appeared ready to initiate sexual intercourse with the vulnerable woman, who had interviewed Giuliani under the guise of a distraught Central Asian journalist.

Moore and his wife have since indicated that they will appeal the appellate court’s decision.

“For far too long the American people have been subjected to the antics of Sacha Baron Cohen,” the couple said in a statement to The Associated Press. “His pusillanimous and fraudulent conduct must be stopped. We will appeal.”


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