The case, which had legal onlookers scratching their heads from the beginning, had quickly grown into a media circus, with Activision hiring former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to serve as co-council on the defense team.
"This ruling is an important victory and we thank the court for protecting free speech," said Giuliani in a statement following the ruling. "This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we're gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn't win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world."
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Noriega had claimed that the use of his likeness in the game was an effort "to increase the popularity and revenue" of the series.
"Black Ops II," released in 2012, topped $1 billion in sales in just two weeks upon its release. The game raised some eyebrows at the time for its fictional casting of former CIA director David Petraeus as the Secretary of Defense in 2025. (Development of the game was completed long before the sex scandal surrounding Petraeus broke.) The game also featured former Lt. Col. Oliver North, who was an advisor during the game's creation and provided in-game voice-acting.
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Noriega had sought a share of the game's profits as well as damages. Noriega's attorney, William T. Gibbs, said it's still undetermined whether the there's no decision yet on whether the former strongman will appeal the ruling.
"We're still in the process of reviewing it and reviewing it with our client, so at this time I can't really comment beyond that," he said.