The former Trump attorney may suffer major ramifications from the verdict.
In court in recent weeks, Giuliani admitted that he made false and defamatory statements about Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, two of the plaintiffs suing him for defamation related to his work for Trump after the 2020 election.
Giuliani claimed he struggled to maintain personal access to his electronic papers due to cost and did not completely respond to Moss and Freeman’s requests as the inquiry continued.
“Perhaps he has calculated that not complying with his discovery obligations in this case reduces his overall litigation risks,” noted US District Court Judge Beryl Howell Wednesday. “Whatever the reason, obligations are case-specific, and withholding required discovery has consequences.”
Wednesday’s court verdict against Giuliani cautioned that election workers may try to prove that his false 2020 election statements were designed to benefit himself, which might come up in the damages trial. Moss and Freeman are seeking specific monetary damages because Giuliani’s bogus assertions of Georgia vote rigging during the 2020 election caused them emotional and reputational harm and threatened their safety.
Howell said on Wednesday that Giuliani will face a trial to determine his damages later this year or early in 2024.
The losses might be hundreds or millions of dollars.
Giuliani has been fined roughly $90,000 for Freeman and Moss’ legal fees, and Howell expects more.
On Wednesday night, Moss and Freeman’s attorney, Michael Gottlieb, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that Giuliani has yet to pay their attorney’s fees and that they would sue him “over the coming months” for “tens of millions of dollars.”
“We expect it to be a significant damages case that we’ll present to the jury, and we’re confident in our ability to document and demonstrate it,” Gottlieb told “The Source.”
Giuliani has been struggling financially due to 2020 election legal proceedings, a Georgia election overturning criminal case, and other issues. In Georgia, he pleaded not guilty to felony charges and was released on bond.
Moss and Freeman thanked Howell for his choice.
“What we went through after the 2020 election was a living nightmare,” they stated. “Rudy Giuliani helped unleash an unanticipated wave of hatred and threats.” It deprived us of security and independence. Nothing can make up for what we’ve lost, but today’s decision is another unbiased conclusion that confirms what we’ve always known: that we did nothing wrong and that none of the charges against us were true.”
“The fight to rebuild our reputations and repair our lives is not over,” they stated.
Giuliani’s political strategist Ted Goodman called Howell’s ruling “a prime example of the weaponization of our justice system, where the process is the punishment.” Goodman said Giuliani was “wrongly accused” of not keeping his documents and wants Howell’s finding reversed.
According to Howell, Giuliani only supplied 200 relevant files, a single page of communication, legal replies, a “sliver” of financial records, and “blobs of indecipherable data,” acting as a cloak.
Giuliani said the FBI’s seizure of his computer equipment years ago made it hard to obtain his records and that he had experienced significant legal fees. Howell admitted that he should have kept his paperwork sooner for potential claims.
Giuliani whined to the court about being overwhelmed by litigation expenses. Still, he got Trump’s payment for his electronic legal fees, advertised his Manhattan co-op apartment for $6.5 million, and traveled to Fulton County, Georgia, for processing last week on a private jet.
Howell highlighted Giuliani’s decades of legal experience, including his service as Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, as proof of his “lackluster preservation efforts.”
“Giuliani has submitted declarations with concessions that have become slick under scrutiny and excuses to hide his discovery compliance.” “The bottom line is that Giuliani has refused to comply with his discovery obligations and has thwarted plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea’ ArShayeMoss’ procedural rights to obtain any meaningful discovery in this case,” Howell said in 62 pages.
“Donning a victimization cloak may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law, this performance has only subverted the normal discovery process in a simple defamation case, requiring repeated court intervention.”
Giuliani confessed late last month that he made defamatory remarks about Freeman and Moss, among numerous organizations suing him for defamation linked to his work for Trump after the 2020 election, and that he did not dispute their charges.
According to Freeman and Moss, Giuliani called them a ballot-stuffing criminal conspiracy. Giuliani also highlighted a Trump campaign video of them after the election that featured part of an Atlanta vote counting security tape. According to the defamation case and a state probe, Giuliani stated on social media, his podcast, and other broadcasts that the video showed bags of ballots when it really showed ordinary ballot processing.
Georgia election officials denied Giuliani’s ballot-counting fraud charges.
The mother-daughter duo has discussed how Trump and Giuliani’s electoral fraud charges impacted them.
I feel unsafe everywhere.” Nowhere. Know what it’s like to be targeted by the US president?” Freeman presented video testimony to a House select committee examining last year’s January 6, 2021, Capitol incident.
Moss said Giuliani breached her privacy by accusing her mother, Freeman, of sending her a USB drive like “vials of cocaine or heroin” as part of a sophisticated vote-stealing plot. It was a ginger mint. In his controversial phone call, Trump called Moss a “professional vote scammer” and a “hustler.” He also asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find votes to help him win in 2020.
I felt dreadful. “I felt like it was all my fault,” Moss testified last year. I felt guilty for placing my family in this predicament.”
She said she and her mother were afraid to go outside or to the groceries after getting threats “wishing death upon me, telling me that, you know, I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like – ‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.'”
The FBI encouraged Freeman to leave her residence during Giuliani’s Georgia election disinformation operation, according to the lawsuit.