Rudy Giuliani Is In Some Legal Hot Water: Of all of the questionable and possibly criminal efforts pursued by allies of former President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election, what was done to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss stands out as especially egregious.
Freeman and Moss, a mother and daughter, were poll workers in Atlanta during that election. Rudy Giuliani amplified social media posts and made public claims baselessly accusing Freeman and Moss of carrying out election fraud. The two women were cleared of any wrongdoing. They testified before the January 6 Committee in 2022, and went on to sue Giuliani for defamation.
On Wednesday, a judge found Giuliani liable for defaming the two workers, Politico reported. Judge Beryl Howell issued a “default” judgment and ordered the ex-mayor to pay the two women punitive damages. The amount will be determined by the jury.
The judge accused the former mayor of not abiding by his discovery obligations in the case.
“In this case, however, Giuliani has given only lip service to compliance with his discovery obligations and this Court’s orders by failing to take reasonable steps to preserve or produce his [electronically stored information],” the judge wrote in her ruling. “Instead, Giuliani has submitted declarations with concessions turned slippery on scrutiny and excuses designed to shroud the insufficiency of his discovery compliance. The bottom line is that Giuliani has refused to comply with his discovery obligations and thwarted plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea’ ArShaye Moss’s procedural rights to obtain any meaningful discovery in this case.”
The ruling comes just weeks after Giuliani was indicted as part of the RICO case against Donald Trump and others in Georgia. That indictment specifically mentioned the former mayor’s treatment of the two election workers, and the former mayor is accused in that case of making false statements about them.
The RICO statute in Georgia, under which he and the other codefendants are charged, is based on a federal law whose use was pioneered by Giuliani when he was a federal prosecutor in the 1980s.
Giuliani publicly admitted earlier this month that his statements about the two women were not true. But the judge appeared unmoved by those admissions.
“The reservations in Giuliani’s stipulations make clear his goal to bypass the discovery process and a merits trial — at which his defenses may be fully scrutinized and tested in our judicial system’s time-honored adversarial process — and to delay such a fair reckoning by taking his chances on appeal, based on the abbreviated record he forced on plaintiffs. Yet, just as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks — even potential criminal liability — bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions, no matter what reservations a noncompliant party may try artificially to preserve for appeal.”
Giuliani is known to be facing money woes. Earlier this month, it was reported that he directly asked Trump for money, and while the former president reportedly did not agree to directly pay his longtime friend, he did announce a $100,000-a-plate fundraiser for Giuliani at his Bedminster club, which will take place on September 7.
The former “America’s Mayor” is facing large legal bills on several fronts. There’s the defamation case, the Georgia indictment, and civil lawsuits from voting machine companies Dominion and Smartmatic, who say Giuliani falsely accused them of carrying out fraud. He is also being accused of sexual harassment by a woman who was formerly his associate.
Rudy Giuliani, who made a great deal of money in the private sector after leaving the mayor’s office, has said that he is “close to broke.”
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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