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Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime Networks told a District of Columbia federal judge on Tuesday that Roy Moore filed his defamation lawsuit over Who Is America? in the wrong venue. According to a motion to transfer the case, the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice signed a consent agreement that provided that all asserted claims related to the program must be adjudicated in New York.
But what’s odd about this consent agreement is the revelation in a declaration by Who Is America? executive producer Todd Schulman that as a condition for his appearance, the producers made a $200 donation to a charity chosen by Moore.
Moore picked the Foundation for Moral Law, according to a copy of the agreement. That outfit founded by Moore has filed amicus briefs in cases opposing abortion, opposing same-sex marriage and in support of public prayer.
The $200 is not a lot, and certainly is nowhere near the $95 million in damages that Moore asserts he suffered after being interviewed by Cohen with a fictional device meant to detect pedophiles.
Nevertheless, it’s unusual.
Moore is said to have signed the consent agreement in the presence of his wife.
The defendants don’t think much of the defamation claims.
“Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court concluded that exactly these types of claims are barred by the First Amendment in Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, which underscored the vital role that political satire of those in power has played throughout the history of this country,” states the motion. “Plaintiffs’ claims are also completely barred by the Consent Agreement Judge Moore signed waiving all claims against ‘anyone associated with the Program’ that are ‘related to the Program or its production.’
The producers of Who Is America? continue, “However, this Court need not reach any of these issues because this case cannot be litigated here. The Consent Agreement Judge Moore signed includes a clear, mandatory forum selection clause…”
Below is a copy of Schulman’s declaration, and attached as an exhibit is the consent agreement that the defendants believe will get them out of the case — but first, get them to New York.
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