A lawyer for two Georgia election workers accused Rudy Giuliani on Monday of “destroying” his clients' reputations by falsely accusing them of helping to rig the 2020 U.S. presidential election against Donald Trump. This is the first day of a civil defamation case in which a federal judge has already ruled that the former New York mayor and Trump lawyer is liable for defaming Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a voter registration officer, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, a contract worker for the choice. The jury could order Giuliani to pay millions of dollars in damages.
Moss and Freeman accused Giuliani of orchestrating a “sustained smear campaign” by falsely accusing them of election fraud as Giuliani sought evidence to support Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. The couple are expected to testify at the trial, which is scheduled to end this week. Von DuBose, an attorney for the two women, told jurors in his opening statement that Giuliani and other Trump allies “stole the lives of Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss by destroying their names.”
DuBose played a selection of recorded messages Freeman and Moss received following the election that were filled with racist and sexist slurs and accusations that the couple had committed “treason.” The lawyers said they would seek tens of millions of dollars in damages at the end of the trial. Giuliani, who sat in the courtroom during opening arguments, could also appear as a witness. His lawyer, Joseph Sibley, acknowledged that Giuliani “did something wrong” but said there were “a lot of people involved” in the attacks on Freeman and Moss.
“You will see a lot of evidence of harm, but not a lot of evidence that Mr. Giuliani was the cause,” Sibley told the jury in his opening statement. If the jury gives Freeman and Moss what they're looking for, Sibley said, “that will be the end of Mr. Giuliani.”
According to court documents, Giuliani pointed to surveillance footage that he falsely claimed showed workers hiding “suitcases” full of illegal ballots under tables at an Atlanta election processing center and counting the ballots multiple times. He accused her of secretly passing around a USB stick. The alleged computer drive was actually a ginger mint, the two later said.
A state investigation found that the two had their votes properly and lawfully counted. Moss and Freeman, who are Black, claimed they were subjected to a barrage of racist insults and violent threats. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who is overseeing the case, has already determined that Moss and Freeman are entitled to damages based on their claims of defamation, infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.
The judge ruled in August that Giuliani had made it harder for them to prove their case in court by failing to provide necessary evidence. The jury's verdict could worsen the financial woes of Giuliani, who faced a series of legal and professional problems after the election because of his work for Trump.
Giuliani was indicted in August in a sweeping case of extortion of Trump and several of his allies in Georgia, including over his alleged targeting of Freeman and Moss. Giuliani pleaded not guilty. Reuters first reported details of the ordeal suffered by Moss and Freeman in December 2021, when they reported threats of lynching and racist insults, as well as alarming visits from strangers to their homes.
Moss and Freeman settled defamation suits with the right-wing One America News Network last year for an undisclosed sum.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)