Two election workers in Georgia who sued Rudy Giuliani over baseless claims that fuelled threats of violence against them have been awarded a default judgment following the long-running defamation case against him.
Donald Trump’s former attorney, who has also been criminally charged in connection with the former president’s attempts to upend the 2020 presidential election, is liable for defamation claims from Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, as well claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and punitive damages.
Mr Giuliani repeatedly sought to avoid further scrutiny in the case, and the judge overseeing the case previously reprimanded him for his “seemingly incongruous and certainly puzzling caveats” after he appeared to admit that he made false and defamatory statements about the two women in an effort to dodge the revelation of potentially damning evidence.
“Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery,” US District Judge Beryl Howell wrote on 30 August.
A trial will determine the amount of damages awarded, but Judge Howell’s order determines that Mr Giuliani is liable. He also is ordered to pay more than $132,000 in attorneys’ fees and other costs.
In their testimony to the House select committee investigating the events surrounding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Ms Freeman and Ms Moss revealed the depth of abuse they endured, forcing them from their jobs and making them feel unsafe after the former president and Mr Giuliani promoted debunked conspiracy theories involving them.
Those claims also are included in a federal indictment accusing Mr Trump of three criminal conspiracies and obstruction surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. One of the six unnamed co-conspirators in the indictment is believed to be Mr Giuliani.
Mr Giuliani is also charged alongside Mr Trump and 17 other co-defendants in a criminal case in Fulton County, Georgia,which details the pressure campaign targeting the two women.
During a committee hearing in Georgia’s House of Representatives on 10 December 2020, Mr Giuliani baselessly accused the women of “quite obviously surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine” and suggested that they were criminals whose “places of work, their homes, should have been searched for evidence of ballots, for evidence of USB ports, for evidence of voter fraud,” according to the federal indictment. Federal prosecutors added that women “received numerous death threats” after the hearing.
The Georgia indictment details how several co-defendants traveled from out of state to harass Ms Freeman and “intimidate her and solicit her to falsely confess to election crimes that she did not commit,” according to the indictment.
They later filed a defamation suit against Mr Giuliani as well as right-wing outlet One American News Network, which settled with the women last year.
A report from Georgia’s State Election Board following a year-long investigation also dismissed bogus claims of election fraud and cleared the allegations against the women.
The Independent has requested comment from a spokesperson for Mr Giuliani.
This is a developing story