Giuliani loses defamation lawsuit from two Georgia election workers
A federal judge has determined that Rudy Giuliani has lost a defamation lawsuit from two Georgia election workers against him after he failed to provide information sought in subpoenas.
A federal judge has determined that Rudy Giuliani has lost a defamation lawsuit filed against him by two Georgia election workers for failing to provide the information sought in subpoenas.
The verdict could lead to significant penalties for the former Donald Trump lawyer.
Giuliani said he could no longer dispute in court last week that he made false and defamatory statements about Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the only group of plaintiffs to sue for defamation over his work for Trump after the 2020 election.
Giuliani said he struggled to gain his own access to his electronic records, in part because of the cost, and did not adequately respond to subpoenas to get information from Moss and Freeman as the case progressed. \Perhaps he calculated that overall litigation risks were minimized by not complying with discovery obligations in this case,\ Judge Beryl Howell of U.S.
District Court in Washington, D.C., wrote Wednesday. \\Whatever the reason, the obligations are case-by-case, and in that case there are consequences for stopping the necessary discovery.\\ In his ruling against Giuliani on Wednesday, the judge said he could try to show that election workers' false claims about the 2020 election were in part aimed at enriching him, an argument that could arise in a compensation case.
Moss and Freeman are seeking unspecified damages after Giuliani made false claims that ballot fraud was done in Georgia after the 2020 election, after he elected them, saying they suffered emotional and reputational damage and their safety was compromised.
Howell said Wednesday that a hearing to determine the amount of compensation for which Giuliani will be held responsible will be set later this year or early 2024.
Damages can reach thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
Giuliani was sanctioned nearly $90,000 in Freeman and Moss' attorneys' fees in the lawsuit, and Howell said the former New York City mayor could be rocked by similar additional sanctions.
Moss and Freeman's attorney, Michael Gottlieb, told CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Wednesday night that Giuliani has not yet paid those attorneys' fees and will file a lawsuit for damages in the coming months, which could force the former mayor to pay \tens of millions of dollars.\ \We expect there to be a significant compensation case to present to the jury, and we are confident in our ability to document and demonstrate that,\ Gottlieb said.
Giuliani is struggling financially as he is buried under a new criminal case related to 2020 election legal proceedings, efforts to overturn the election in Georgia and other matters.
He pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in Georgia and was released from prison on bond.
In a statement, Moss and Freeman expressed gratitude for Howell's decision. \What we went through after the 2020 election was a living nightmare,\ the duo said. \\Rudy Giuliani helped unleash a wave of hatred and threats that we can't even imagine.
It has cost us our sense of security and our freedom to live our lives.
Nothing can bring back everything we've lost, but today's verdict is another unbiased finding that confirms what we have known all along: that none of the accusations against us were true and that we did nothing wrong.
The fight to rebuild our reputation and repair the damage in our lives is not over,\ the duo said.
Giuliani's political adviser, Ted Goodman, said in a statement that Howell's decision was \a prime example of the arming of our justice system, where the process is punishment.\ Goodman added that Giuliani had been \falsely accused\ of failing to preserve his own records and wanted Howell's decision reversed.
Howell wrote that Giuliani only delivered fewer than 200 relevant documents, a single contact page, several legal responses, a strip of required financial documents, and \unresolved bubbles of data.\ Giuliani had claimed that the FBI's seizure of his electronic devices years ago made his ability to access his records difficult and that he was struggling under expensive legal fees.
But Howell said he could take steps at an earlier point to keep records of them in case they are sued in the future.
The judge also complained to the court that Giuliani was buried in litigation costs, noting that Trump was able to get reimbursed for his electronic legal debts, listed his co-op apartment in Manhattan for $6.5 million and traveled on a private plane last week to report to the jail for processing in Fulton County, Georgia.
Howell noted that Giuliani's decades of experience as a lawyer, including the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, underscore his \lifeless conservation efforts.\ \\Giuliani made statements that included slippery concessions on the review and excuses designed to cover up the lack of discovery compliance.
As a result, Giuliani refused to comply with discovery obligations and denied plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea' ArShaye Moss their procedural right to obtain meaningful discovery in this case,\ Howell wrote in a 57-page opinion decision.
Wearing a victimhood cloak may play well on a public stage for certain audiences, but in a court of law, that performance only served to disrupt the normal discovery process in a simple defamation case.
Defamatory statements about election workers Late last month, Giuliani admitted to making defamatory remarks about Freeman and Moss, just one of several groups suing Giuliani for defamation related to his work for Trump after the 2020 election, and did not dispute his accusations that he defamed them after the 2020 election.
Giuliani's statements about them, which Freeman and Moss said were false, included calling them criminal conspirators who filled out ballots.
Giuliani also pointed to a video released by the Trump campaign for the first time after the election, showing part of the security tape of the vote count in Atlanta.
On social media, on his podcast and other posts, Giuliani said the video showed suitcases full of ballots when he caught nothing more than normal ballot processing, according to the defamation lawsuit and the state investigation.
Georgian election officials have refuted accusations of fraud during Giuliani's vote count.
The mother-daughter duo have been candid about how their lives have been affected by Trump and Giuliani's alleged guilt of election fraud.
There's nowhere where I feel safe.
Do you know how it feels when the president of the United States is targeting you?\ — Freeman said in video testimony last year to the House of Representatives election committee investigating the events surrounding the rioting at the U.S.
Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Moss said his privacy was destroyed when he learned that Giuliani's mother, Freeman, had accused her of passing him some type of USB drive, such as cocaine or heroin bottles, as part of an elaborate vote-stealing scheme.
In reality, the object in question was a ginger mint.
In his controversial call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find the votes that would help him reverse his 2020 loss, Trump attacked Moss 18 times and called former president Freeman a \professional vote fraudster\ and a \fraudster.\ I felt terrible.
I felt it was all my fault,\ Moss said during his testimony last year.
He added that he and his mother were afraid to go out or go to the supermarket after receiving threats wishing me death, saying I would be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, \Glad it's 2020, not 1920.\ According to the lawsuit, during Giuliani's disinformation campaign about the vote in Georgia, the FBI advised Freeman to leave his home for his own safety.