Rudy Giuliani admits making false statements about Georgia poll workers

Donald Trump's former lawyer Rudy Giuliani has admitted to making false statements about election workers who the former president claimed tampered with ballots during the 2020 presidential election count in Georgia.

In a court filing Tuesday, the former New York mayor acknowledged that he made the statements and released them to third parties, but said such an admission would not change his argument that they were “constitutionally protected” and that was also not the case had an impact on the affected employees.

Giuliani did not dispute that “such criminal statements of fact were false to the extent that the statements were statements of fact and were otherwise contestable.”

The Republican lawyer's statement came as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, who claimed they were harassed after Giuliani and Trump claimed they counted extra votes.

Rudy Giuliani is seen leaving US District Court in Washington, DC on May 19. Giuliani is being sued for defamation by campaign officials Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
Getty Images/Alex Wong

The two are said to have removed ballots from suitcases under tables after counting ended in Fulton County, Georgia.

State officials refuted the claims, saying mail-in ballots were removed from envelopes while counting was still ongoing, the Augusta Chronicle reported at the time.

“Giuliani’s ruling acknowledges what we have always known to be true – Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss discharged their civic duties in the 2020 presidential election honorably and in full accordance with the law,” said Michael J. Gottlieb, partner at Willkie, Farr & Gallagher and partner in the legal team of Freeman and Moss, Newsweek said. “And the allegations of election fraud that he and former President Trump made against them were false from day one.”

Ted Goodman, political adviser to the former mayor, told Newsweek that Giuliani “did not acknowledge the falsity of the statements but did not dispute them in order to move on to the part of the case that allows for a motion to dismiss.”

“This is a legal question, not a factual question,” he said. “Those who seek to smear the mayor ignore the fact that this provision is intended to address the legal issues of the case.”

Trump continues to claim that the 2020 election was tainted by fraud – claims that have not been substantiated.

The lawsuit is one of several disputes involving Giuliani, including a disqualification case over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

President Joe Biden narrowly won the state of Georgia in 2020 – by just 11,779 votes out of more than 5 million cast – securing the 16 Electoral College votes.

In Fulton County, Biden had a vote share of nearly 73 percent in a predominantly Democratic region.

According to CNN, Freeman and Moss accused Giuliani of scapegoating them for the defeat and said the lawyer's comments put them in danger and caused severe emotional distress. They are demanding unspecified damages.

A final report released in March by Georgia's secretary of state said interviews with poll workers present that evening – including Freeman and Moss – provided consistent accounts of the processing of mail-in ballots and were “consistent with actions observed on video surveillance.” footage.

It was also noted that two poll watchers who were members of the Georgia Republican Party had written affidavits that made similar statements to the poll workers.

CNN reported in early July that Freeman and Moss' attorney disclosed that Giuliani's team had approached them “to discuss a possible negotiated settlement,” which they described as close to an agreement.

Gottlieb said Wednesday: “While certain issues, including damages, remain to be determined by the court, our clients are pleased with this important milestone in their fight for justice and look forward to presenting the remainder of this case in court.”

Update 7/26/23, 7:10 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to add additional details.

Update 7/26/23, 9:40 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to add a comment from Ted Goodman and a new headline.

Update 7/26/23, 11:30 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to add comment from Michael J. Gottlieb, an attorney for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.

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Newsweek strives to challenge conventional wisdom and find connections in the search for common ground.