SAVANNAH - Chris Rock has asked a judge to keep a Georgia woman from talking and writing about her claim that the comedian fathered her teenage son, an allegation debunked last year by a court-ordered paternity test.
Kali Bowyer of Statesboro settled a paternity suit with Rock in February by signing a consent agreement that said DNA tests proved he's not the biological father of Bowyer's 14-year-old son. Now Bowyer says she thinks the test was rigged and she's writing a self-published book that recounts her past relationship with Rock — including how she became pregnant with his child.
Rock filed a complaint Sept. 26 in Bulloch County Superior Court asking a judge to stop Bowyer from "disseminating or causing to be disseminated, publishing or otherwise communicating any statements" that Rock is the boy's father.
The complaint says Bowyer is violating their court agreement by continuing to push her paternity claim outside the courts.
Bowyer accuses the actor of trying to trample her freedom of speech.
"He's stepping on the toes of the First Amendment," Bowyer said Thursday. "He can't stop me from telling my story. As long as I witnessed it, I have every right to share my experience."
Rock's attorney, John Mayoue of Atlanta, said in the court filing that allowing Bowyer to keep voicing her paternity claim "will work permanent and irreparable harm" to Rock and his family.
The complaint quotes a July 26 press release that was posted online promoting Bowyer's book, which she says she's still editing and will publish herself. The release makes several references to Rock including: "Getting pregnant with Chris' son saved her (Bowyer's) life."
Judge John R. Turner has scheduled a Nov. 3 hearing. Mayoue did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Friday. Rock's publicist, Leslie Sloane-Zelnik, did not immediately respond to an e-mail request.
Gerald Weber, an Atlanta attorney who specializes in constitutional law, said a court order to keep Bowyer quiet would almost surely violate her freedom of speech.
"The bottom line is the First Amendment tolerates speech that is distasteful and especially stops the courts from preventing that speech from happening," said Weber, former legal director for the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "To have a court step in and stop the presses is not something the Constitution allows."
If Bowyer published false statements about Rock, the proper recourse for him would be to sue her for defamation, said Weber, who is not involved in the case.
Bowyer says she befriended Rock in 1991 when she was a college student hoping to become an actress in Los Angeles. She says she became pregnant in 1993 after having sex with Rock.
That wasn't the conclusion of a 2007 paternity test, which ruled out Rock as the father of Bowyer's son after comparing their DNA.
A judge ordered the test in April 2007 at Rock's request. Bowyer had tried to filed a paternity lawsuit a month earlier, seeking child support and medical coverage for her son. She withdrew the suit after being told it was outside the southeast Georgia court's jurisdiction because Rock lives in New Jersey.
In February, the judge approved a consent agreement, signed by Rock and Bowyer, saying the genetic test proved Rock isn't the boy's biological father. The court agreement contains no restrictions prohibiting either of them from discussing the case.