Describing a former state Supreme Court chief justice as a “pedophile” is just a “joke,” according to a ruling from a federal judge who earlier had been the subject of a motion to be disqualified from the case.
It was U.S. District Judge John Cronan who dismissed the case brought by Judge Roy Moore and his wife, Kayla, against Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime for their deceptive behavior when, during a televised interview, Cohen flashed a beeping wand that he claimed could detect “pedophiles” at Judge Moore.
Larry Klayman, the founder of both Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch who represented the Moores, said a notice of appeal already has been filed with 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
He said if the appellate court follows the letter of the law, the dismissal will be reversed.
“Judge Cronan’s dismissal was predicted, as set forth in our prior motion to disqualify him from the case. It would appear that he is biased and prejudiced based on Chief Judge Moore’s ideological and religious beliefs, most particularly his opposition to gay marriage,” Klayman said in a statement.
“Judge Cronan’s ruling makes no factual and legal sense, and frankly is outrageous and violation of his judicial oath. He even characterizes what the admitted fraudster Sacha Baron Cohen did, branding my client a pedophile before the entire world, as simply a ‘joke.’ To the contrary, Judge Cronan’s dismissal is the joke, and more than a bad joke at that.”
Cronan admitted that Cohen and his TV company deliberately provided false information to the Moores – they explained that Judge Moore was being given an award.
Further, the release that Judge Moore signed before the interview was with a company that doesn’t exist, a deception that many have argued invalidated the agreement.
Cronan claimed, however, that the release was valid and covered all of the implications and innuendo Cohen unleashed against the judge and his wife, who didn’t sign any release. Cronan also said Kayla Moore’s concerns couldn’t be reviewed because of the First Amendment.
The suggestions from Cohen about the Moores came on the show “Who is America,” which was on Showtime.
An earlier judge on the case, Andrew Carter, had decided the other direction. In fact, he had denied motions by Cohen, Showtime and CBS to dismiss.
There were some significant differences in the characterizations of the situation. The defendants claimed Cohen was a political satirist, while the plaintiffs called him a “fraudster.”
Klayman had argued that such differences are for a jury to decide.
The court earlier order instructed Cohen to answer questions about his deception of and insults to Moore, who was seeking $95 million.
Klayman, whose latest book is “It Takes a Revolution: Forget the Scandal Industry!” told WND there’s institutional protection for personalities like Cohen.
Cohen falsely portrayed himself as a representative of the since-dissolved company Yerushalayim TV and has claimed that Moore’s consent agreement with that company provides immunity.
However, Klayman has argued that a longstanding contract principle is that “a misrepresentation of material facts” could be used to cancel a contract and that Cohen misrepresented himself, his intent and his plans.
“Whether couched as opinion, humor, or rhetorical hyperbole, which defendants attempt, defamatory statements made by a comedian are actionable where a reasonable listener or viewer could conclude that he or she was asserting or implying false facts about a plaintiff,” Klayman has argued.
That, too, is for a jury to decide, he said.
Moore, who twice was elected to the top judicial post in Alabama, was accused by nine women during his 2017 U.S. Senate run of sexual misconduct when the women were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. Moore has vehemently denied the claims and there is no substantive evidence supporting the women’s claims.
Cronan said, “the segment was clearly a joke and no reasonable viewer would have seen it otherwise.”
The judge justified the decision by noting that other episodes featuring Cohen were not believable.
“Given the satirical nature of that segment and the context in which it was presented, no reasonable viewer would have interpreted Cohen’s conduct during the interview as asserting factual statements concerning Judge Moore.”
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.