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Errol Morris wins a round in court over ‘Manacled Mormon’ film

First Published      Last Updated Oct 18 2013 10:49 am

Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has won another round in court against his former interview subject, Joyce McKinney.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that a California appeals court on Tuesday ruled against McKinney's legal effort to have parts of a lawsuit against Morris — parts that were thrown out by a lower court — reopened.

The lawsuit revolves around Morris' 2010 documentary "Tabloid," which dug into the infamous "Case of the Manacled Mormon." That '70s tabloid-ready story revolved around McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming who was accused of going to England to kidnap a man she once dated — who was, at the time of the alleged kidnapping, a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

McKinney was never tried in court on the accusations of kidnapping and raping the missionary, having fled England before a trial could proceed. But the case became a sensation in the British tabloids at the time.

In the current lawsuit, McKinney accuses Morris and the movie's producers of misrepresenting themselves — by saying they were working on a TV series about paparazzi, rather than focusing all the film's attention on her.

The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner gets into the fascinating details of the court machinations, but the upshot is this: A judge in Los Angeles threw out many of McKinney's allegations, and California appellate Judge Elizabeth Grimes ruled Tuesday that McKinney couldn't put those parts of the lawsuit back in.

The lawsuit is still pending, with McKinney still allowed to try to prove charges of fraud and breach of contract. Stay tuned.