Rudy Giuliani is liable for defaming Georgia election workers, judge rules

Rudy Giuliani is liable for defaming Georgia election workers, judge rules

Rudy Giuliani speaks outside the Fulton County jail on Aug. 23 in Atlanta. | Brynn Anderson/AP Photo

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A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Rudy Giuliani is legally liable for defaming two Georgia election workers who became the subject of conspiracy theories related to the 2020 election that were amplified by Donald Trump in the final weeks of his presidency. In an unsparing, 57-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell said Giuliani had flagrantly violated her orders to preserve and produce relevant evidence to the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, resulting in a “default” judgment against him. She also ordered him to pay Freeman and Moss “punitive” damages for failing to fulfill his obligations. The ruling means the case will now proceed to a trial purely to determine the amount of damages Giuliani will have to pay the two election workers. “Just as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks — even potential criminal liability — bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions,” Howell wrote. Giuliani spent weeks accusing Freeman and Moss of manipulating ballots during Georgia’s vote-counting process after the 2020 election, despite repeated investigations that debunked and discredited the allegations. The harassment that Freeman and Moss endured as a result of these conspiracy theories is at the heart of some of the criminal charges now facing several of Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia racketeering case brought by Fulton County prosecutors. Giuliani is charged in that case, in part, for making false statements to Georgia legislators related to his attacks on Freeman and Moss. He’s also facing charges for his role as Trump’s attorney in the aftermath of the 2020 election, leading a campaign to sow doubt about the election results and amplify baseless claims of fraud to bolster Trump’s courtroom efforts to overturn the results.