US court dimisses defamation suit by Roy Moore against Sacha Baron Cohen

Washington (AFP) –


A US court on Tuesday dismissed a $95 million defamation lawsuit filed by Roy Moore, a former Alabama chief justice, against British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for his depiction of the politician in his show "Who is America."

The court for the Southern District of New York threw the case out on grounds that Moore had signed a waiver before the interview with Baron Cohen, who was pretending to be an Israeli anti-terrorism expert who used what he claimed was a pedophile detection device invented by the Israeli army.

During the satirical segment, the fake detector started beeping when Baron Cohen's character waved it near Moore. Moore had been expecting to receive a prize for his support of Israel.

Moore lost a special election for the US Senate in 2017 after reports emerged that he had tried to seduce teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Some of the women accused him of sexual misconduct. Moore, who twice served as chief justice of Alabama's supreme court, denied the claims.

Moore, 74, said he had been defamed by the segment and that he and his wife suffered emotional distress.

The couple were seeking $95 million in damages from Baron Cohen -- best known for his movie character Borat -- and Showtime.

Judge John Cronan said that Moore's waiver, and the fact that the segment was "clearly a joke," served as grounds for dismissal.