"Bruno" lawsuit adds Jonah Hill, Jay Roach

Fri May 14, 2010 1:35am EDT
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The Palestinian activist who sued Sacha Baron Cohen, David Letterman and NBC Universal for defamation in December for being portrayed as a terrorist in "Bruno" has refiled his $110 million lawsuit with a few more bold-faced names as defendants.

Actor Jonah Hill and director Jay Roach -- both co-producers on the Universal-distributed comedy -- have been added to the complaint, filed in Washington DC superior court by Ayman Abu Aita. The self-described community organizer claims he was duped by the "Bruno" gang into being interviewed on camera, and later found himself identified in the film as a "terrorist group leader."

Letterman, his Worldwide Pants production company and CBS are defendants because "The Late Show" featured the scene and an allegedly defamatory interview segment with Baron Cohen last July.

The refiling comes a month after NBC Universal and CBS filed a motion to dismiss the case, citing jurisdiction issues because neither Aita nor Baron Cohen is a U.S. citizen.

Aita now says he's suffered "death threats; shame; loss of reputation; loss of effectiveness as a community organizer and conciliator; depression and anxiety; loss of business to his family market; and fear for the well-being and safety of his wife, children, and his relatives" both on the West Bank and in Washington D.C.