Giuliani should face “serious penalties” for “misconduct” in the 2020 defamation case, Georgia poll officials say

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Two Georgia poll workers late Tuesday asked a federal judge to impose “heavy sanctions” on former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani as part of their lawsuit accusing him of defamation of claims made after the 2020 election, arguing the attorney Should be fined after failing to turn around He defied the evidence in the case – even after being forced to pay more than $89,000 in charges.

May 19 in Washington, DCCopyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Important facts

Poll workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, who have become the subject of a far-right conspiracy theory about voter fraud, said in a court filing that Giuliani should be punished after he failed to take steps to preserve and turn over his electronic communications such as text messages and Emails as part of the investigation of the case.

The poll workers said communications they found through other means — such as requests for documents from people Giuliani messaged with — suggested Giuliani could release “many” documents relevant to the case, but he and his Lawyers have failed to provide them.

The sanctions motion was filed after the plaintiffs reached a settlement with Giuliani’s attorney over the evidence, but were then told Monday that Giuliani “did not agree” and therefore the settlement was “unachievable,” the statement said court record.

Giuliani had already been ordered to pay attorneys’ fees for failing to produce evidence in the case — which poll officials say totals $89,172.50 — but the new motion requires the court to impose additional penalties on him to impose.

Freeman and Moss asked the court to order a “default judgment” against Giuliani – meaning he would now be held liable for defamation based on his misconduct, rather than waiting until the case is closed – arguing Giuliani’s “conduct made the proceedings material.” handicapped”. The plaintiffs’ ability to represent their case in court is being restricted and the attorney has treated the court “disrespectfully” by ignoring his obligations to produce evidence.

If the case doesn’t go against Giuliani now, poll officials believe the court should at least rule that Giuliani “distorted evidence,” “acted with reckless disregard for the truth,” and for his own benefit disseminated false allegations about the plaintiffs. The court should Direct Giuliani to provide plaintiffs with his devices and online accounts or prevent him from using that evidence in his defense.

Giuliani’s attorney, Joseph Sibley, has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Crucial quote

“Defendant Giuliani’s failure to retain his electronic records despite repeated warnings and to be personally aware of his duties can and should be interpreted by this court as a deliberate attempt to withhold from plaintiffs essential evidence in this litigation,” Freeman’s attorneys say and Moss argue in the court filing. “The defendant Giuliani should know better. His behavior requires severe sanctions.”

main critic

Giuliani has denied defaming Freeman and Moss, and his legal counsel argued in court that he kept documents because he didn’t delete anything. Giuliani and his attorneys have also argued that he lost control of many of his documents after FBI agents seized his devices in April 2021. “You have it, but I don’t have access to it,” Giuliani told May in court about information about his devices that the government has seized, as cited in Freeman and Moss’ court filings. When asked if he was aware of the legal requirements involved in preserving and delivering evidence, Giuliani replied that he “understood.”[s], I’ve been doing this for 50 years; I understand the obligations.”

What to look out for

It’s unclear when the court will rule on whether Giuliani should be punished in the case, and if no judgment is returned in response to the sanction request, the case will proceed in court. Freeman and Moss are seeking unspecified damages from Giuliani if ​​the court finds that he defamed them.

Important background

Freeman and Moss first filed their lawsuit against Giuliani in December 2021 after Giuliani helped advance a far-right conspiracy theory linking the poll workers to Georgia voter fraud. Officials accuse Giuliani of staging “an ongoing smear campaign” against them that made them “objects of spite, threats and harassment” and, in addition to the slander allegations, accuse him of intentional emotional distress and civil conspiracy. The Georgia Secretary of State’s office, following an investigation, has found the allegations against the poll workers were “false and baseless.” Giuliani’s possible sanctions in the defamation case are part of a broader set of penalties the far-right lawyer has faced over his attempts to help former President Donald Trump overturn the 2020 election — an attempt that largely failed in court. The attorney has already been disbarred in New York, and a panel at the Washington, DC bar recommended Friday that Giuliani be barred from the district. He is also facing defamation lawsuits from voting machine manufacturers Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, also related to false voter fraud allegations, and has been told he is the target of a criminal investigation following the 2020 election in Fulton County, Georgia.

further reading

Rudy Giuliani to pay $89,000 in legal fees in 2020 defamation case (Forbes)

Ex-Trump Attorney Jenna Ellis Convicted For Helping He Crash 2020 Election – Here Are All The Former President’s Lawyers Now Facing Repercussions (Forbes)

Trump attorneys — including Sidney Powell and Giuliani — are reportedly under surveillance as part of a DOJ investigation into the 2020 election (Forbes)

DC panel recommends banning Rudy Giuliani over voter fraud allegations in 2020 (Forbes)

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I’m a New York-based senior reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I have previously covered politics and news for Vanity Fair and Mic, and as a theater critic I am a member of the New York Outer Critics Circle. Follow me on Twitter @alisond64 or contact me at

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