Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has filed a $95 million defamation lawsuit against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime and CBS after he appeared on Cohen’s series.
The Republican judge, who lost his bid for Senate last year after being accused of initiating sexual relationships with teenagers while in his 30s, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the D.C. District Court. The suit claims defamation, intentional inflection of emotional distress and fraud.
In July, Moore appeared on the third episode Cohen’s Who is America?, a Showtime series where the comedian disguises himself in interviews with unsuspecting guests ranging from O.J. Simpson to former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, among many others. In the episode, Cohen disguised himself as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert and uses a metal detector that “detects pedophiles.”
The lawsuit claims Moore was invited to Washington, D.C., “to receive an award for his strong support for Israel in commemoration of its 70th anniversary as a nation state.” The court document says Moore “would not have agreed to appear” if he had known the outcome.
The lawsuit ultimately claims the “fraudulent portrayal and mocking of Judge Moore as a sex offender” on the television show “severely harmed” his reputation and caused his family “severe emotional distress,” as well as “financial damage.” As a result, Moore is asking for $95 million in damages as well as attorneys’ costs and fees.
“The press has been sent copies of an alleged complaint, yet to our knowledge SHOWTIME has not been served. With that said, we do not comment on pending litigation,” a spokesperson from Showtime told TIME.
Representatives for the Moore family did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
In the July episode, Cohen, disguised as the fake “Erran Morad,” uses a metal detector that he claims “is used in schools and playgrounds” to detect pedophiles. When he uses it on Moore, the wand beeps.
“It must be faulty. It’s malfunctioning,” Cohen says in the episode. “Is this your jacket? Did you lend the jacket to somebody else?”
“I’ve been married for 33 (years),” Moore replies. “I’ve never had such an accusation of things.”
“If this is an instrument,” he continues, “certainly, I’m not a pedophile.” Moore then cut the rest of the interview off.
The episode came months after a number of women came forward with allegations against Moore, accusing him of initiating sexual relationships with them when they were in high school and he was an adult. The allegations, first reported by the Washington Post, came out as he was running for Alabama’s open Senate seat. He ultimately lost to Democrat Doug Jones.
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