Federal Judge Rules Rudy Giuliani Liable for Defamation of Georgia Election Workers

In a significant legal development, federal judge Beryl Howell ruled that former New York City mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is legally responsible for defaming two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The defamation case stems from conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election, which were propagated by Giuliani and amplified by then-President Donald Trump in the final stages of his presidency.

U.S. District Court Judge Howell’s comprehensive 57-page ruling deemed that Giuliani had blatantly disregarded her orders to preserve and present pertinent evidence to Freeman and Moss. As a consequence, a “default” judgment was issued against him. The judge further mandated that Giuliani pay punitive damages for his failure to uphold his responsibilities.

This verdict signifies that the lawsuit will progress to a trial specifically for the determination of the damages Giuliani must pay to the two election workers. The ruling underscores the gravity of bypassing the established legal discovery process.

Giuliani, over a span of weeks, accused Freeman and Moss of tampering with ballots during Georgia’s post-election vote-counting, despite multiple investigations disproving these claims. The harassment the election workers endured due to these unfounded conspiracy theories forms a key component of the charges faced by several of Trump’s associates in the Georgia racketeering case.

Giuliani is also under scrutiny for false statements made to Georgia legislators and his role in promoting baseless claims of election fraud. Howell’s ruling relates to a defamation lawsuit initiated by Freeman and Moss in 2021 against Giuliani, and she has now forwarded the issue of damages to a jury.

The quantum of damages Freeman and Moss will seek remains uncertain. They can pursue direct compensation for reputational harm and other damages they suffered, along with punitive damages that might surpass direct compensation. Giuliani’s future actions could influence the final amount.

Howell’s ruling arrives weeks after Giuliani seemingly admitted to making false claims about Moss and Freeman, seemingly in an attempt to evade presenting further evidence. However, the judge found these admissions riddled with inconsistencies.

The judge has also given Giuliani until September 20 to submit documents regarding his net worth and records from his companies related to his podcast revenue. Giuliani’s challenges in accessing evidence due to factors such as the FBI’s device seizure were cited. Despite claims of transparency, Giuliani has faced criticism for evading his obligations.

Giuliani’s spokesperson decried the ruling as a weaponization of the justice system. This decision arrives amidst Giuliani’s efforts to seek financial assistance from Trump for his mounting legal expenses, including civil suits and criminal charges in Georgia. Judge Howell characterized Giuliani’s actions as an attempt to evade obligations and suggested his complaints were for political posturing.

This ruling builds upon Howell’s prior order for Giuliani to pay legal expenses to the election workers due to noncompliance. In addition to any damages imposed by a jury, Giuliani and his businesses were also instructed to pay further sums for their failures.

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