Wyoming is Legal Home to TV Show That Pranked Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore
Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore from Alabama says he didn't know he was dealing with comedian Sacha Baron Cohen -- who pranked him as a sexual predator -- when he agreed to appear last summer on a television show whose company is registered in Wyoming.
In September, Moore filed a $95 million defamation lawsuit over his appearance on Baron Cohen's "Who is America?"
Moore argued the agreement he signed waiving legal claims from the appearance is unenforceable because of fraud in that it had no mention of Baron Cohen, according to court records.
Moore said he was told he was receiving an award for supporting Israel and instead was lampooned as a possible pedophile.
He has denied sexual misconduct accusations that surface during a special senate race in December 2017 when he lost to Democrat Doug Jones. They were running to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Jeff Sessions who was President Donald Trump's Attorney General.
Moore's attorneys argue that Yerushalayim TV, LLC, is wholly owned by Baron Cohen, and the agreement did not disclose the intent of the program and who was behind it.
Two months before the election, the company called Yerushalayim TV, LLC, was registered in Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Secretary of State.
The company's registered agent is Hirst Applegate of Cheyenne, the organizer of the company is Los Angeles attorney Jenifer Wallis, and the mailing address of the company is in Beverly Hills.
Baron Cohen's name does not appear in the registration documents.
In another Wyoming-"Who Is America?" connection, Baron Cohen promoted his show with Casper native and former Vice President Dick Cheney signing a "waterboarding kit," and appearing on the show with Baron Cohen posing as an Israeli military leader.
Wyoming is home to many limited liability corporations that don't do business in the state.
Some have had major legal troubles.
Last month, a Florida man admitted he registered a Clean Energy Advisors, LLC, in Wyoming and ran a $28 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of $15 million, according to federal court records.
Christopher Warren, 50, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Tennessee to one count of mail fraud and one count of securities fraud, according a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Tennessee.
Questions also arose in 2016 about Wyoming's business-friendly laws about registered agents and shell corporations in light of the international Panama Papers scandal. Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca set up offices around the world including Wyoming with the name M.F. Corporate Services, LLC. The Secretary of State found 24 companies registered with it, and also found it failed to maintain the required information for performing as as registered agent.