Rudy Giuliani ordered to pay $148m for false accusations against election workers

By Isaac M December 16, 2023

Rudy Giuliani must pay more than $148m in damages to two former Georgia election workers after falsely accusing them of helping to rig the 2020 election against Donald Trump.

The jury found Giuliani owes the workers, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman, roughly $73m (£57m) to compensate them for the reputational and emotional harm they suffered.

The former Trump lawyer and one-time New York mayor has also been ordered to pay $75m (£59m) as punishment for his conduct.

There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the jury foreperson read aloud the amount of damages.

Giuliani, who has said he will “certainly appeal” the verdict, did not appear to show any emotion.

A federal judge determined before the trial that Giuliani was liable for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.

The only question before the jury was how much in damages to impose on Giuliani, who helped Republican former President Trump advance his false claims of a stolen 2020 election.

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The verdict came after three days of testimony in which Ms Moss and Ms Freeman described the racist and sexist messages, including threats of lynching, they received after Mr Trump and his allies spread false claims they were engaged in voter fraud.

“Mr Giuliani thought he could get away with making Ruby and Shaye the face of election fraud because he thought they were ordinary and expendable,” the workers’ lawyer Michael Gottlieb said during his closing argument.

Rudy Giuliani, who served as former U.S. Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is shown in a police booking mugshot released by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Rudy Giuliani’s police mugshot

“He has no right to offer defenceless civil servants up to a virtual mob in order to overturn an election.”

The plaintiffs requested at least $48m (£38m) on the defamation claim and an unspecified sum for emotional distress and punitive damages.

Joseph Sibley, a lawyer for Giuliani, acknowledged that his client had caused harm, but said the penalty the plaintiffs sought would be “catastrophic” for his client.

Giuliani, who publicly claimed he would testify during the trial, ultimately opted not to take the witness stand.

He made repeated false claims that a surveillance video showed the plaintiffs concealing and counting “suitcases” filled with illegal ballots at a basketball arena in Atlanta that was used to process votes during the 2020 election.

Mr Trump also singled out Ms Freeman by name in a highly publicised January 2021 phone call during which he pressured Georgia’s top election officer, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” votes to overturn his narrow defeat in the state.

A state investigation found that the women were legally and properly processing ballots.

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Who has been indicted?

Mr Giuliani has faced a series of civil and criminal woes since helping to spearhead Mr Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

He has been criminally charged in the Georgia racketeering case against Mr Trump and several of his allies, in part for targeting Ms Moss and Ms Freeman.

He has pleaded not guilty.


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