Rudy Giuliani must pay $148 million in compensation to two former Georgia election workers whom he defamed with false accusations of helping him allegedly rig the 2020 presidential election, Reuters reported.
A jury in federal court in Washington decided Friday that the former lawyer Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani must pay a total of $148 million in damages for defaming two Georgia election commission workers by accusing them of fraud elections in 2020.
As part of the verdict, Giuliani must pay a total of $36 million each to Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss for damage to their reputations and emotional harm, and an additional $75 million for moral damages.
The Freeman and Moss case was one of the most famous cases related to the 2020 election and the theories of voter fraud put forward by Giuliani and Trump. Using manipulated video from surveillance cameras, the former president’s lawyer accused women who counted votes at one of the committees in Atlanta of taking votes from suitcases under the table.
In another case, he claimed that a mother passed a USB drive to her daughter “like vials of heroin or cocaine,” when in fact the item being passed was candy. As a result, Freeman and Moss became negative characters in right-wing media and social media, and claimed that they received threats and were harassed.
Giuliani made false and defamatory statements
Federal judge Beryl Howell, who is handling the case, found Giuliani guilty of defamation in August after he admitted in a court declaration that he had made false and defamatory statements about the two women and refused to provide evidence to support his theories.
However, he claimed then that he had not caused any damage to the commission’s employees and was only using his freedom of expression. At the same time, on Monday, during a press conference, he announced that he would testify in court and prove that Moss and Freeman actually committed election fraud.
Ultimately, he didn’t, and Judge Howell warned him that his statement might qualify for another defamation lawsuit.
High financial penalty for Giuliani
The awarded damages are much higher than what the women sought (USD 24 million each), mainly due to the rarely used punitive damages of USD 75 million.
As former prosecutor John Yoo told Fox News, the verdict was astonishing, and such a large amount was intended to send a signal that Giuliani’s claims were completely false. Freeman and Moss previously received compensation from the right-wing television network One America Network (OAN) in an out-of-court settlement.
During the trial, Giuliani’s lawyer claimed that the punishment for his client would be “the end of Rudy Giuliani” and that he was struggling with financial problems, unable to pay the previously ordered fine of PLN 90,000. dollars.
The former mayor of New York has been sued by his former lawyer for failing to pay him and is also facing two more lawsuits from companies producing voting machines and software, which he also accused of participating in election fraud.
Main photo source: JIM LO SCALZO/PAP/EPA