Judge Roy Moore Sues Sacha Baron Cohen For Ruining His Immaculate Reputation

from the CAN-I-HAVE-SOME-MONEY-NOW dept

Judge Roy Moore -- perhaps most famous for his (alleged) predilection for jailbait -- is suing entertainer Sacha Baron Cohen for somehow ruining his spotless reputation with the ol' libelslander. Moore is represented by stunt lawyer Larry Klayman, which assures this complaint will be greeted with a heavy sigh by the presiding judge, and that a not-insignificant amount of the billable hours will be eaten up by Klayman getting admonished by the court.

As can probably be inferred without even reading the complaint [PDF], Moore got duped by Cohen to appear on his show, regrets being duped, and thinks Cohen (and Showtime/CBS) should pay him real money for tarnishing his otherwise squeaky-clean reputation. Let's just see what he's asking for…

[...] actual, compensatory, and punitive damages in excess of $95,000,000 USD, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, and any other relief that this Court may deem just and proper.

Moore, with the assistance of Klayman, figures his appearance on Cohen's new show did nearly $100 million in damage to Moore's reputation -- one pre-sullied by sexual misconduct targeting teenaged girls allegations. Moore estimates his reputation is $95 million worse off, thanks to his inability to vet requests for public appearances.

Here's how all the "defamation" went down, according to the complaint.

In order to fraudulently induce Judge Moore and Mrs. Moore to travel to Washington, D.C., where filming was to and did take place, and where the majority of acts pled herein occurred, on or about February 14, 2018, Defendant Cohen and his agents falsely and fraudulently represented to Plaintiff that Yerushalayim TV – which does not actually exist - was the producer and broadcaster of the show that Judge Moore would appear on, instead of the actual network that the show that later appeared on Showtime. In addition, Defendant Cohen and his agents falsely and fraudulently represented that Judge Moore and Mrs. Moore were both being invited to Washington, D.C., for Judge Moore to receive an award for his strong support of Israel in commemoration of its 70th anniversary as a nation state. This ceremony, and presentation of this award, Defendant Cohen falsely and fraudulently represented was to occur during the interview.

Somehow this is Cohen's fault (and by extension, his co-defendants' fault -- CBS and Showtime) even though Moore admits he did nothing to ensure he wasn't being led astray by a nonexistent television station.

Had Judge Moore and Mrs. Moore known that Defendant Cohen had fraudulently induced Judge Moore into this interview, which as a “set up” to harm and thus damage Plaintiffs and the rest of their entire family, Judge Moore would not have agreed to appear. Plaintiffs relied on and had reason to rely on Defendant Cohen’s and his agents’ representations including Defendants Showtime and CBS, which he was led to believe were truthful and he had no reason to doubt.

As Cohen has proven time and time again, nothing drops public officials' guard faster than appealing to their ego. Cohen fronted a nonexistent production company and offered Moore an award for his lifetime of service to Israel. Having been properly flattered, Moore never thought to question why he was being given an award for something he's not particularly known for. Nothing in his Wikipedia page or bio suggests he's ever had much interest in Israel, beyond the usual affinity sported by fundamentalists who refer to it as the "Holy Land" in passing.

This point is reiterated in numerous paragraphs, as if being too stupid to question bizarrely-tangential generosity out of nowhere was an actionable tort.

Then the complaint gets to the actual defamation allegations. And they're quite the read. A shot for every "false" or "fraud" in this lawsuit will see you hospitalized for alcohol poisoning by the 10th page.

Defendant Cohen’s character falsely and fraudulently introduced a false and fraudulent “device” supposedly invented by the Israeli Army to detect pedophiles. During the segment, Defendant Cohen’s “device” – as part of the false and fraudulent routine – purports to detect Judge Moore as a sex offender, thus defaming him.

Hahaha it's almost as if someone were making some crude commentary on the sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Moore. You know, the allegations about pedophilia and sex offending. It was in all the papers. This -- THIS! -- says Klayman, is defamation. And he says it as only Klayman can: by providing the defendants a defense.

This false and fraudulent portrayal and mocking of Judge Moore as a sex offender, on national and international television, which was widely broadcast in this district on national television and worldwide, has severely harmed Judge Moore’s reputation and caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress, as well as caused and will cause Plaintiffs financial damage.

Let's give Ken White/Popehat the floor for a moment:

By adding "mocked" to that sentence, Klayman is beclowning himself, which is quite a feat for someone who comes pre-beclowned.

He's basically saying "the utterly obvious and inevitable defense to this is correct, and here I am confirming it."

Only something that can reasonably be taken as a provable statement of fact can be defamatory. Mockery is by definition not defamatory -- like ridicule, insult, etc. When a public figure is at hand, it's also not, by definition, intentional infliction of emotional distress.

On and on the complaint goes about "reckless" and "malice" and "defamation per se" and all of it doesn't matter because the defense is right there in the accusations. This was commentary on Roy Moore's pre-existing reputation, which was already in the gutter thanks to numerous accusations directly on point with a fake Mossad tool's "sex offender" determination.

The downside of this case is that if it survives the first motion to dismiss, it's going to chew up some time and cash. It was filed in the DC federal court, which has already decided it doesn't need to apply Washington, DC's anti-SLAPP law at the federal level. This means the case might go on longer than it needs to, even though it's crystal clear Moore's just trying to exact litigious revenge for allowing himself to be suckered in by a little flattery.


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    HARVEY WEINSTEIN, 6 Sep 2018 @ 12:40pm

    False claims and actual harm. There's a case. We'll SEE.

    But the case is just a hook for smearing more of your characteristic CRAP. It's all you've got, you little monkey.

    Techdirt can't resist repeating totally unsubstantiated allegations about a "conservative". This is simply another instance in which allegations were made up -- apparently paid for -- for political purposes.

    While you overlook vastly more substantive allegations against KEVIN SPACY, SIMMONS, and others, with HARVEY WEINSTEIN actually INDICTED.

    But the "fake news" tactic such as Techdirt repeats is going to provoke a reaction even from those more or less Deep State / Establishment creatures (including those neo-con / Zionists with"R" after their name), because already out of control -- and losing effect against targets of the left, haven't turned up any actual evidence.

    Remember the Omarosa book? No, no one does already. This week it's Woodward with yet more catty but substance-less allegations.

    You little allegators who inhabit the marshy areas around the swamp are simply foolish. This piece has NO effect outside of exciting the few fanboys, and overall can only drive readers away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 12:50pm

      Re: False claims and actual harm. There's a case. We'll SEE.

      Since you wrote CRAP would you mind telling us what the acronym stands for?

      Do you have any facts to back up your assertion that Tim Cushing is a "little monkey?" Or is this mockery and therefore not defamation?

      Techdirt shouldn't repeat unsubstantiated allegations, and yet you are perfectly fine to assume (and state on Techdirt) it does so because it was paid to do so for political reasons?

      Have you searched Techdirt for the keywords Spacy, Simmons and Weinstein? You may find the results educational.

      I know, I'm probably falling for satire by this point, but wow... you need to get out more, even if this is all meant as satire.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 12:52pm

      The only person who harmed Moore’s reputation—or what was left of it before the Cohen “interview”, in any case—was Moore himself. Whatever Cohen did to Moore in that “interview” was ultimately revealed to be a satirical potshot at the allegations surrounding Moore. Nobody forced Moore to take part in that “interview”; he could have just as easily said “no” well before the ruse was up. Nobody made any actual claim that Moore was a pedophile; Cohen’s stunt with the “pedo detector” was clearly satirical in nature, not a direct accusation.

      Whatever “case” Moore thinks he has here is all in his head. The ruse was done to set Moore up for a satirical “interview”, not a confession to a crime or a confrontation between Moore and one of his accusers. Why should Sacha Baron Cohen be punished for Roy Moore taking the bait for as long as he did?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Christenson, 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:21pm

        Re: but...but...but...

        Don't you know we BELIEVE pedophile detectors actually work, just like LIE DETECTORS???? (especially the ones that go off when the pants catch fire!)

        lol

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 1:34pm

      Re: False claims and actual harm. There's a case. We'll SEE.

      That's... funny.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 1:36pm

      Re: False claims

      We get it Harvey, you like little girls too, so this offends you.
      However, the allegations against Mr. Moore are hardly unsubstantiated and I can't see how you'd feel it is any way inappropriate to mention those allegations when covering this story.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      wereisjessicahyde (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:44pm

      Re: False claims and actual harm. There's a case. We'll SEE.

      For future reference, "allegators" isn't a word.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:44pm

      POOP

      You’re the cattiest bitch in the whorehouse junior.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 4:25pm

      Re: False claims and actual harm. There's a case. We'll SEE.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 6:25pm

      Re: False claims and actual harm. There's a case. We'll SEE.

      While you overlook vastly more substantive allegations against KEVIN SPACY, SIMMONS, and others, with HARVEY WEINSTEIN actually INDICTED.

      Which are for sexual harassment. Which is not a topic the website covers.

      I do, however, recall you cheering on Harvey Weinstein because he was from Hollywood.

      Nice to see how your loyalties (or lack thereof) lie.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 8:54pm

      7 months....

      This kind of case has already been decided.... 7 FUCKING MONTHS AGO.

      A case which involved a giant 7 foot squirrel holding a sign saying "Eat Shit, Bob" and "Kiss my ass"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 11:08pm

        Re: 7 months....

        Yeah, see, blue kinda has an aneurysm whenever John Oliver is mentioned.

        Bob Murray's defeat left a small hole in his heart next to the huge one that Otis Wright left behind...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:48am

      Re: False claims and actual harm. There's a case. We'll SEE.

      Beware the Derp State!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 12:45pm

    It's obvious Moore needs to move to the KSA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 12:49pm

    "This means the case might go on longer than it needs to, even though it's crystal clear Moore's just trying to exact litigious revenge for allowing himself to be suckered in by a little flattery. "

    And also means expenses can't be recouped once he inevitably loses. Talk about justice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      I'm not so sure it'll be dismissed out of hand. The laws regarding a person misrepresenting themselves for financial gain are a Gordian knot.

      There might be enough there (after Discovery) to result in a judgement that WILL allow him to recoup costs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DB (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 3:59pm

        Re: Re:

        Investigative reporters providing a misleading representation of themselves is a long-standing pattern. The plaintiff might try to argue fraud from the misrepresentation, but it's unlikely to go anywhere.

        I do wonder if they have thought this through to the trial. Cohen will be taking the stand. Perhaps there will be a jury. Perhaps cameras in the courtroom. Clips will be shown repeatedly. Late night talk shows will be covering the highlights. Internet memes will abound.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          CaesarAlan, 7 Sep 2018 @ 2:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Am I alone in hoping that, if this does go to trial, Baron Cohen shows up in character?

          And preferably spends the entire trial shouting "Satire!" and "Parody!" at random intervals...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      hij (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 1:26pm

      Re: money miners

      To not worry to much for Judge Moore. He *may* be able to gain the resources for this through a charity designed to help spread the gospel of self-virtue:

      [https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/11/15/moores-mess-nonprofit/](https://nonprofitquar terly.org/2017/11/15/moores-mess-nonprofit/)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 1:36pm

    "Only something that can reasonably be taken as a provable statement of fact can be defamatory. Mockery is by definition not defamatory"

    Does anyone know if this is the case in UK law? Thanks in advance, chaps.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Hp Printer

    And this is why you can't have a board without content moderation at any scale - and if anyone thinks otherwise I'd like to see actual proof.
    Without some form of content moderation this sort of stuff could easily flood the site as this tech specialist exercises his "Free Speech" right to advertise here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Christenson, 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:24pm

      Re: Re: Hp Printer

      Who needs more than the SPAM above for proof that moderation is absolutely necessary??? Flagged it, of course, and don't mind if this post also gets flagged.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan, 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:26pm

    Blame the victim, shall we?

    I see a lot about how foolish Moore was to not vet the producer/network/show/award (and he was), but you're suspiciously silent about the (claimed) fact that Cohen outright lied about who he was and what he was doing. Seems that would deserve some comment here--Cohen isn't sweetness and innocence.

    As to the substance of it, well, Cohen pretty well claimed Moore was a sex offender. That, as far as it goes, would be defamatory, and the fact that he wasn't the first one to make those claims wouldn't make it non-defamatory. This is, perhaps, not quite so ridiculous a suit as you suggest.

    Of course, if Moore actually does litigate this, it will involve discovery into whether those claims are true. He may not want to go there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:49pm

      Re: Blame the victim, shall we?

      I see a lot about how foolish Moore was to not vet the producer/network/show/award (and he was), but you're suspiciously silent about the (claimed) fact that Cohen outright lied about who he was and what he was doing. Seems that would deserve some comment here--Cohen isn't sweetness and innocence.

      What part of that is defamatory?

      As to the substance of it, well, Cohen pretty well claimed Moore was a sex offender. That, as far as it goes, would be defamatory, and the fact that he wasn't the first one to make those claims wouldn't make it non-defamatory.

      If a public figure has been accused of a crime, and the details of the accusation are well-known, an individual opining that the public figure is guilty of the crime is, indeed, not defamatory.

      Permit me to demonstrate.

      OJ Simpson murdered his wife.

      Harvey Weinstein is a serial rapist.

      Dick Cheney committed war crimes.

      None of those statements is defamatory, because all of them concern public figures, the accusations against them are common knowledge, and I am clearly expressing my opinion of their guilt based on those accusations, and not implying that I am privy to any kind of secret, undisclosed information.

      But it's awfully interesting that you would describe Roy Moore as "the victim". I would save that particular descriptor for his victims.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Dan, 6 Sep 2018 @ 4:22pm

        Re: Re: Blame the victim, shall we?

        What part of that is defamatory?

        None of it. But to harp on how stupid Moore was, and ignore how dishonest Cohen was, seems a little, well, one-sided.

        OJ Simpson murdered his wife.

        Harvey Weinstein is a serial rapist.

        Dick Cheney committed war crimes.

        All of these are, broadly speaking, defamatory, presuming they are false. None of those people would have a chance of winning a defamation action against you, though, because they wouldn't be able to show actual malice (which will be fatal to Moore as well, if nothing else kills the case first).

        "Opinion based on disclosed facts" only gets you so far--for it to work, you need to at least mention the known facts on which you base those opinions.

        And lest it be unclear, I'm not saying I think Moore can win the case (he can't--inability to show actual malice will doom it). But it's a far cry from the vague, thuggish buffoonery that characterizes most defamation claims/lawsuits that we see around here.

        But it's awfully interesting that you would describe Roy Moore as "the victim". I would save that particular descriptor for his victims.

        Nice deflection, but irrelevant. Whatever he did or didn't do, he was still a victim (a foolish victim, to be sure, but a victim nonetheless) of Cohen's antics.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 7 Sep 2018 @ 5:21am

          Re: Re: Re: Blame the victim, shall we?

          Cohen is a prankster. Moore fell for a prank that targeted his outsized ego. The damage done was not to convince us all that he's a paedo-freak but that he's an idiot whose weakness is flattery.

          There used to be a programme called Brass Eye that pulled similar stunts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwylBRucU7w

          Helping public figures to make fools of themselves is a time-honoured tradition and I've yet to see one who hasn't had it coming.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Blame the victim, shall we?

          "Opinion based on disclosed facts" only gets you so far--for it to work, you need to at least mention the known facts on which you base those opinions.

          Nonsense. The details of the allegations against Simpson, Weinstein, and Cheney are common knowledge, and it can be trivially assumed that the audience for my comments is familiar with them.

          The context in which I stated them -- in an online comments section -- also works in my favor, as remarks made in such a context are typically understood to be statements of opinion rather than factual reporting.

          Statements made on a satirical television program by a known provocateur who has disguised himself in order to trick public figures into humiliating themselves have even less presumption of being factual statements.

          And lest it be unclear, I'm not saying I think Moore can win the case (he can't--inability to show actual malice will doom it). But it's a far cry from the vague, thuggish buffoonery that characterizes most defamation claims/lawsuits that we see around here.

          No, it isn't.

          Nice deflection, but irrelevant. Whatever he did or didn't do, he was still a victim (a foolish victim, to be sure, but a victim nonetheless) of Cohen's antics.

          ...You...really don't see any irony in following that first sentence with that second one, do you?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 2:58pm

      you're suspiciously silent about the (claimed) fact that Cohen outright lied about who he was and what he was doing. Seems that would deserve some comment here--Cohen isn't sweetness and innocence.

      He doesn’t have to be “sweet”. Cohen lied about his identity and his intent, yes—and yet Moore still, willingly and (I assume) without coercion, agreed to meet with Cohen and go on camera for that “interview”. Cohen baited Moore into that mockery; Moore’s decision to take that bait, however, is his fault alone.

      As to the substance of it, well, Cohen pretty well claimed Moore was a sex offender.

      Plenty of other people had done the same thing well before Cohen mocked Moore with a clearly satirical “pedophile detector”. That bit was designed to be a potshot, albeit a below-the-belt shot, at Moore’s now-ruined reputation.

      if Moore actually does litigate this, it will involve discovery into whether those claims are true.

      Which is why this lawsuit will inevitably be withdrawn as soon as enough time passes for people to forget he filed it in the first place.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 6 Sep 2018 @ 4:49pm

    Not a lawyer - but it would seem to me that Moore might have a case against Cohen for lying and wasting his time.

    Not 95 million dollars worth of time. Not even close.

    But I can't see how 'yes, I did the things I did' is anything but a 100% guarantee of losing a libelslander lawsuit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 5:09pm

      Re:

      Not a lawyer - but it would seem to me that Moore might have a case against Cohen for lying and wasting his time.

      You can't waste someone's time. Cohen prolly had to pay Moore to appear, and pay for his travel and expenses. I can't say for sure but that is typically how such things work. You show up, sign a waiver, stay in a nice hotel, get fed, and go home.

      Now if Moore had agreed to do the interview and stormed out early, technically he'd be wasting Cohen's time, eh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2018 @ 6:14pm

      Re:

      Wow, I can sue all those telemarketers for wasting my time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 6 Sep 2018 @ 5:02pm

    On and on the complaint goes about "reckless" and "malice" and "defamation per se"

    While I can't speak for the state of Klayman's mind, another vexatious defamation-suit filer I've read about kept shoveling that term into his lawsuits because he believed it meant something along the lines of "if you accuse me of anything that sounds like a crime, then it's automatically defamation and I automatically deserve to be paid damages" which is nowhere near how it actually works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 5:19am

    Please don't refer to him as Judge. that implies a level of respectability that Roy Moore doesn't have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 5:56pm

    My reputation was clean before you meddling reporters started discussing what I was doing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    New Here, 11 Sep 2018 @ 9:30pm

    So is this site openly left wing? I've been viewing posts and it seems that way, but I see no mention of it anywhere. I'm genuinely wondering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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