Former Alabama judge Roy Moore’s $95 million defamation lawsuit against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was rejected on Thursday by an appeals court.
Moore and his wife filed the lawsuit against Cohen, Showtime and CBS, over a segment of the “Who Is America?” program, which aired on Showtime in 2018.
One woman said Moore groped her when she was 14 and he was 32. Moore denied the allegations.
In the segment, Baron Cohen dressed as a fake Israeli counterterrorism instructor “Col. Erran Morad” interviews Moore under the ruse of receiving a prize in honor of his support for the state of Israel. He discussed bogus military technology with Moore, including the supposed pedophile detector, which looked like a hand-held metal detector.
The fake device beeped repeatedly as it got near Moore, implying that he was a pedophile.
On Thursday, the three judge panel on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan unanimously ruled to throw out the lawsuit. They agreed with a lower court decision that said Moore signed a disclosure agreement that prohibited any legal claims over the appearance.
The court also said the segment was “clearly comedy” and that no reasonable viewer would believe that a device known as a “pedophile detector” is real, according to CNN.
“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.