Roy Moore is many things: He’s a disgraced former chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court; he lost a safe Republican Senate seat in a deep red state; he’s an accused sexual predator and pedophile. And now Moore is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Moore alleges that Cohen willingly defamed and subjected him to “emotional duress” as part of the comedian’s Who is America? show, in which Cohen—playing the role of Israeli security expert Erran Morad—did a joke demonstrating (fake) “pedophile detecting” technology that repeatedly beeped at Moore.
In his suit, Moore accuses Cohen and Showtime of knowingly misrepresenting themselves and the purpose of their interview with Moore, which...yeah, that’s basically Cohen’s whole shtick.
Moore’s attorney writes in the complaint:
As a direct and proximate result of Defendants and their agents’ extreme and outrageous conduct set forth above, Judge Moore has been the subject of widespread ridicule and has suffered severe loss of reputation, which has in turn also caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress and financial damage, especially given his status as a prominent conservative and a God fearing person of faith.
Moore—whose Senate bid was effectively scuttled by allegations that he repeatedly preyed on young women, at least one of whom was a legal minor—is seeking $95 million dollars in damages from Cohen, Showtime, and the network’s parent company, CBS. But given that the subjects of Cohen’s comedy have yet to successfully sue him after nearly two decades of Cohen refining his brand of gotcha comedy (he did settle one suit in 2012), Moore has a difficult path ahead.
Moore previously threatened to sue both the women who accused him of sexual misconduct and the Washington Post, which published their allegations. Cohen, for his part, has essentially been preparing for these sort of challenges for years. During his 2007 Golden Globes acceptance speech, he notably thanked “every American who has not sued me...so far.”
In a statement to Splinter, Moore’s attorney Larry Klayman wrote:
Judge Moore, a man of great faith, morality and intellect, is one of the finest people I have ever known. Sasha 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.
Update, 4:26 p.m.: In a statement to Splinter, a SHOWTIME spokesperson wrote:
The press has been sent copies of an alleged complaint, yet to our knowledge SHOWTIME has not been served. With that said, we do not comment on pending litigation