Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual assault of several minors, filed a defamation suit against Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime Wednesday.
In a late July episode of Cohen’s “Who Is America,” the comedian met with Moore in costume, pretending to be an Israeli anti-terror expert. On camera, Cohen presented the former judge with a so-called pedophile detector.
“It turns out sex offenders and particularly pedophiles secrete an enzyme for DDHT, which is actually detectable,” Cohen told Moore of the handheld device he said was developed in Israel.
“It is three times the level as non-perverts. So the phrase ‘sweating like a rapist’ is actually based on science. So in Israel they've developed a machine that is used in schools to detect anyone coming in, and if they detect the pedophile, the wand alerts the law enforcement and the schools within a hundred-mile radius.”
See Moore through the years:
The apparatus beeped whenever in contact with Moore.
“I’ve been married for 33. I never had an accusation of such things,” he told Cohen Cohen. “If this is an instrument, then certainly I’m not a pedophile.”
Three women accused Moore of sexually assaulting them when they were 14,16 and 28, respectively. He denied the assault allegations and later sued the women.
Now, he’s also suing Cohen.
“Defendant Cohen and his agents including the Defendants Showtime and CBS setup scenarios where Defendant Cohen, while in character, falsely and fraudulently induces unsuspecting victims, such as Judge Moore to be interviewed under dishonest, unethical, illegal and false pretenses, for his works. Defendant Cohen and his agents then set these unsuspecting victims up for ridicule and to severely humiliate them on film to promote his works and to generate large financial returns for himself,” the lawsuit reads.
“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.”
Shortly before the episode aired, Moore said in a statement on that he had accepted the invitation to what he believed was a 70th anniversary celebration of Israel “because Alabama has always been at the forefront of support of Israel and because I share a strong belief in God as the Creator and Sustainer of all life.”
“As an Alabamian, I believe in truth and honesty, which the shadowy media groups behind this illicit scheme do not. Obviously, people like Cohen who mock not only Israel but those who support Israel and the principles upon which America is based, do not share my beliefs,” he said. “I don’t need Sacha Cohen to tell me who America is, but I can tell him that America is a proud Nation which sprang from humble beginnings and a strong belief in God, virtue, and morality.”
Moore is suing for $95 million in “actual, compensatory and punitive damages.”
Showtime did not immediately return a request for comment.