An actor who pranked former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been ordered to answer questions from Moore’s lawyer in a $95 million defamation case.
Larry Klayman told WND he had to argue for even a limited interview with Sacha Baron Cohen, contending the comedian is being protected by the legal system.
“This is part and parcel to not just Obama and Clinton judges, but Republican establishment judges, which President Trump has mistakenly appointed,” he said.
“We’re confident we will ultimately prevail in this lawsuit.”
Cohen tricked Moore into a prank interview two years ago in which he held a purported “pedophile-detection” wand, which he said would beep in the presence of a pedophile.
Klayman, whose latest book is “It Takes a Revolution: Forget the Scandal Industry!” told WND there’s institutional protect for personalities like Cohen.
Moore is seeking $95 million in damages from Cohen and Showtime for the stunt, which was aired on Cohen’s “Who Is America?”
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.
Whether or not the statements are defamatory 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.
Cohen claimed in advance of the interview Moore was to receive an award for supporting Israel.
It was U.S. District Judge John Cronan who said Cohen must sit for one hour and answer questions about the validity of the Yerushalayim TV agreement.
The judge, appointed by Trump, said he would allow only the narrow questioning.
Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch, told the court earlier that Cohen is “the ‘main man’ and is the most knowledgeable about his own fraudulently crafted scheme, which included a phony … corporation, such as Yerushalayim TV, which is now conveniently and predictably dissolved for failure to make corporate filings and adhering to corporate formalities.”
The lawyer explained Cohen’s scheme is to concoct deceptions to boost his own career.
Moore’s claim, joined by his wife, Kayla, alleged the actor created “severe emotional distress” for both.
The complaint earlier survived Cohen’s motion to dismiss before U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter.
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