- U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell found Giuliani liable for defaming election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
- Howell ordered Giuliani to pay Freeman nearly $90,000 in legal fees and his businesses to pay nearly $44,000 in legal fees.
WASHINGTON – Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s campaign lawyer for the 2020 election, is liable for defaming two Georgia election workers by repeatedly accusing them of mishandling ballots, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s ruling means the case can go to trial to determine damages.
The decision came a month after Giuliani conceded he didn’t want to dispute that he made false statements about election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss.
Giuliani has said he made the concession to get past the sharing of evidence in the case and to his argument the case should be dismissed.
But Howell ruled that Giuliani’s stipulations “hold more holes than Swiss cheese” in order to preserve options for appeal. Howell found him liable for “defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and punitive damage claims.”
Howell ordered Giuliani to reimburse Freeman nearly $89,172 for legal fees and for his businesses to reimburse her nearly $43,684 for legal fees as sanctions.
Freeman and Moss issued a statement saying that their fight to rebuild their reputations continues but that those responsible for smearing them will be held accountable.
“Nothing can restore all we lost, but today’s ruling is another neutral finding that has confirmed what we have known all along: that there was never any truth to any of the accusations about us and that we did nothing wrong,” the statement said. “We were smeared for purely political reasons, and the people responsible can and should be held accountable.”
Ted Goodman, a political adviser to Giuliani, said the decision should be overturned because the documents at stake were held by the FBI.
“This 57-page opinion is a prime example of the weaponization of the justice system, where the process is the punishment,” Goodman said. “This decision should be reversed, as Mayor Giuliani is wrongly accused of not preserving electronic evidence that was seized and held by the FBI.”
The lawsuit Freeman and Moss filed against Giuliani and others in December 2021 came after Giuliani repeatedly accused them of mishandling ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on election night Nov. 3, 2020.
At a meeting Dec. 10, 2020, with Georgia lawmakers, Giuliani said that election workers stole votes in plain sight and that 12,000 to 14,000 ballots were illegally counted. He said Freeman and Moss were “passing around USB ports as if they’re vials of heroin or cocaine.” Freeman and Moss testified at a U.S. House hearing that they were passing ginger mints.
Trump mentioned Freeman’s name 18 times during a Jan. 2, 2021, call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to win the election.
Freeman and Moss testified at the House panel about being targeted with threats of violence by Trump supporters.
“There is nowhere I feel safe,” Freeman said. “Nowhere.”
Howell made her ruling after finding that Giuliani avoided cooperating to provide evidence in the civil lawsuit.
“Instead, Giuliani has submitted declarations with concessions turned slippery on scrutiny and excuses designed to shroud the inefficiency of his discovery compliance,” Howell wrote.
She ordered Giuliani to provide financial documents, including about his net worth, by Sept. 20.