Washington, D.C. – December 9, 2023
In a high-stakes legal battle unfolding in Washington, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is set to stand trial on Monday over defamation claims by Georgia election workers. The legal proceedings seek to establish the amount of compensation that Giuliani is liable to pay to “Ruby Freeman” and her daughter “Shaye Moss.” They were wrongly implicated in election fraud allegations by Giuliani, who served as a lawyer for the reelection campaign of former President Donald Trump.
Giuliani’s federal defamation case is just one among several civil and criminal trials addressing disputes surrounding the 2020 election. “U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell” had previously found Giuliani liable for defamation in August after he chose not to contest accusations from Freeman and Moss. The mother-daughter duo reported facing harassment and threats following Giuliani’s unfounded claims of election fraud, which he aired on national television.
The lawsuit, filed in December 2021, alleges that Freeman and Moss became the “objects of vitriol, threats, and harassment” after Giuliani accused them, under false pretenses, of various election improprieties. Giuliani’s statements, which likened the women to drug dealers, were made during a state legislative hearing and in news interviews.
Judge Howell had already ordered Giuliani to pay $89,172 for legal fees and imposed sanctions of $43,684 on his businesses for failing to share emails and records in the case.
This trial is part of a broader legal landscape stemming from the contentious 2020 election. Giuliani and Trump are co-defendants in a Georgia election racketeering case, and both face busy legal dockets. While Giuliani navigates his Washington, D.C., civil trial, Trump is concurrently involved in a $250 million civil real estate fraud trial in New York.
Giuliani, renowned as “America’s Mayor” after the 9/11 attacks, is also grappling with disbarment proceedings in Washington due to his false allegations of voter fraud. The defamation trial adds another layer to the legal challenges facing both Giuliani and Trump.
The accusations against Giuliani revolve around his statements that “Freeman” and “Moss” had been involved in election fraud, including excluding observers during the vote count and introducing illegal ballots. State election officials investigated these claims and found no widespread fraud in President Joe Biden’s victory.
During a hearing in the U.S. House, “Freeman” and “Moss” attested that they were distributing ginger mints, refuting Giuliani’s claim that they were passing USB ports. State investigators confirmed the baselessness of Giuliani’s claims, emphasizing that the allegations had immediate and profound consequences, including threats and harassment.
Giuliani initially denied the lawsuit’s allegations but later claimed he couldn’t hand over relevant emails and records because his electronic devices had been erased after an FBI seizure. However, Judge Howell criticized Giuliani for his lackluster compliance with court orders, stating that he had “donned the cloak of victimization.”
Giuliani’s decision not to contest the defamation allegations sets the stage for the upcoming trial, where the court will determine the damages owed to Freeman and Moss. Despite Giuliani’s attempts to have the case heard solely by the judge, a jury will assess the extent of financial restitution, with an expected appeal from Giuliani on constitutional grounds. The trial is another chapter in the ongoing legal saga surrounding the aftermath of the 2020 election.