Jury deciding award in Giuliani defamation case has reached a verdict

Rudy Giuliani vows to appeal ‘absurd’ ruling ordering him to pay Georgia election workers more than $148M for accusing them of helping to steal the 2020 race: America’s Mayor says case will be overturned ‘so quickly your head will spin’

  • Giuliani’s jury trial in Washington, DC was to determine damages he has to pay Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss 
  • Eight-person jury hit him with punitive damages of $75 on top of other damages 
  • READ MORE: The downfall of ‘America’s Mayor’ Rudy Giuliani 

A defiant Rudy Giuliani on Friday insisted he had no regrets about behavior that saw him ordered by a judge to pay $148 million in damages – defiantly declaring that he still believed two Georgia election workers stole votes from Donald Trump.

Giuliani faces financial ruin, but said outside court that the trial had been a sham, saying the ‘absurdity of the number merely underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding’.

‘It will be reversed so quickly it will make your head spin, and the absurd number that just came in will help that actually,’ he said.

Giuliani declined to testify in his own defense, yet insisted he was not given the chance to make his case. He also said his claims of cheating were ‘supportable’ – despite there never being any evidence brought forward.

‘I have no doubt that my comments were made and they were supportable and are supportable today,’ he said. 

‘I just did not have an opportunity to present the evidence that we offered.’ 

Rudy Giuliani, pictured outside court on Friday, faces financial ruin after a court ordered him to pay an astonishing $148 million for defaming two Georgia election workers he accused of trying to steal the 2020 election for Joe Biden  

He said he didn’t testify because it ‘didn’t seem like it was going to do much to persuade anybody.’ 

The 79-year-old former titan of the law courts said the trial was unfair, and he would appeal.

‘I am quite confident when this case gets before a fair tribunal it’ll be reversed so quickly,’ he said. 

The bombshell verdict dealt a catastrophic blow to the former New York mayor and was vindication for election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, who said his allegations caused a flood of threats that made their lives hell.

The mother-daughter duo said Giuliani’s lies that they engaged in ballot fraud to rig the election against Donald Trump made them scared to leave their homes and unable to get jobs.

The Washington D.C. jury deliberated for 10 hours before they came back with a unanimous verdict to award the staggering sums that include

  • $75 million in punitive damages;
  • $20 million each for emotional distress;
  • $16 million for Freeman and $17 million for Moss for damage to their reputations

Giuliani called the damages an ‘absurd number’ and claimed the case would be overturned on appeal ‘so quickly your head will spin’

That added up to a stunning total of $148 million – an amount that appears to be far beyond Giuliani’s ability to pay.

He already faces an array of financial setbacks, criminal allegations and other civil lawsuits. 

The judge seemed to stumble as she was reading out the verdict, stunned at the amounts awarded by the jury, and there was an audible gasp in the courtroom.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers had asked for damages of $48million, but the jury decided to award Freeman and Moss $100million more than that. 

Outside court, Freeman said: ‘Money will never solve all my problems. I can never move back into the house that I call home. I will always have to be careful about where I go and who I choose to share my name with. I miss my home. I miss my neighbors and I miss my name.’

Moss said: ‘Our greatest wish is that no one – no election worker, or voter, or school board member, or anyone else – ever experiences anything like what we went through.’

‘The lies Rudy Giuliani told about me and my mommy after the 2020 presidential election have changed our lives and the past few years have been devastating,’ Moss said of she and Freeman.

The bombshell verdict dealt a catastrophic blow to the former New York mayor and was vindication for election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, who said his allegations caused a flood of threats that made their life hell

Giuliani criticized the decision, and said he would appeal and seek a new trial. 

‘The absurdity of the number merely underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding.’ 

He said he decided not to testify in the trial because ‘honestly, it wouldn’t do any good.’ 

Giuliani called his past comments ‘supportable’ but claimed he ‘did not have an opportunity’ to present evidence in the case.

The former New York mayor also blasted ‘deplorable’ comments the two women received from others in the wake of his accusations, but did not take responsibility for causing them.

Pressed on why he didn’t testify, he said: ‘I believe the judge was threatening me with the strong possibility of contempt or that I’d even be put in jail.’

The extent of the award sets up a likely appeal, and an expected legal battle over what the final number should be and how to ensure that Giuliani, 79, pays at least some of it. 

It comes after Giuliani doubled down on his accusations against Freeman and Moss outside the courthouse as recently as Monday.

During the trial Moss testified that her life had been ‘turned upside down’ by Giuliani’s false claims that she had engaged in election fraud. 

Her lawyer Michael Gottlieb asked the jury to ‘send a message’ by slapping the former New York mayor with a hefty financial judgement.

The Washington D.C. jury deliberated for 10 hours before they came back with a unanimous verdict to award the staggering sums

An expert witness, Ashlee Humphreys of Northwestern University, had told the court the two women should get between $18 million to $48 million to compensate for the loss to their reputations.

Giuliani repeatedly invoked Freeman and Moss while acting as a key figure in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election result.

In court this week, Humphreys said there was a massive burst in online misinformation about them after Giuliani and former President Donald Trump accused them of manipulating the vote count. 

Moss said she had been subjected to hundreds of racist messages and threats, including messages saying ‘we know where you sleep’ and telling her ‘you are dead.’

The court heard there had been 33 million online impressions of Freeman, who Trump at one point called a ‘professional vote scammer’ in a call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

The judge overseeing the case had already issued a default judgement against Giuliani, so the trial was mainly a matter of reaching an assessment on damages he must pay. 

Giuliani was already facing grave financial jeopardy even before the jury reached its verdict.

His defense lawyer Joseph Sibley argued in court Monday that the two workers were asking for the ‘civil equivalent of the death penalty.’ 

He put his Manhattan co-op on the market for $6.5 million, and his former lawyer Robert Costello and his law firm sued him this fall alleging $1.4 million in unpaid bills stemming from multiple probes.

There had been an expectation that Giuliani would appear in his own defense. But after saying Wednesday that he intended to do so, his lawyer ultimately did not call him. 

The former mayor of New York arrives for the hearing

The jury was deciding on damages to award to Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss, a former Georgia election worker, and her mother Ruby Freeman, right

Giuliani’s attorney, Joseph Sibley, had to resort to reaching back into Giuliani’s earlier biography. He invoked his role as mayor of New York City on September 11th and called him a ‘good man.’ In a sign of the evidence he was facing, he acknowledged that ‘my client has committed wrongful conduct’ against the defendants. He asked for a lower figure, even while admitting Moss and Freeman had been harmed.

There was a potential signal Thursday night after the jury went into deliberations, then asked the judge if they could review a presentation by Humphreys about her damage award calculations. 

The judge denied the request, and the jury ended up going home for the night. 

It came after a trial where Giuliani’s lawyer had to contend with a difficult set of facts and voluble client.

On Wednesday U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell cautioned Giuliani for appearing on a podcast where he where he called the case a ‘political hit job’ and attacked the integrity of the gaggle of lawyers arrayed against him.

He had said ‘there might be a few questions about exactly how political is this’ and mentioned money ‘coming from different directions.’

After getting admonished directly, Giuliani responded to the judge that ‘I thought I could make comments about counsel,’ but pledged not to do so in the future. 

The judge wasn’t buying it and said so. ‘There’s a lot of accidents going on here Mr. Giuliani,’ she said.

The verdict comes as Giuliani faces criminal liability after being charged as part of a conspiracy to overturn the election on behalf of Trump in that state. He has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.

Giuliani had claimed Moss and Freeman pulled ‘suitcases’ full of ballots during the count at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, and claimed they inserted a USB drive into voting machines. But the Georgia Secretary of State’s investigation found the claims circulating against them online ‘have no merit.’ 

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