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Former Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani could face up to $43.5 million in damages when a defamation lawsuit filed against him by two Georgia campaign workers goes to trial in Washington, DC on Monday
The showdown between the cash-strapped Giuliani and the two temporary election officials he baselessly accused of election manipulation in 2020 will mark the culmination of a major court battle over false claims that is crucial to former President Donald Trump's efforts to stay in power , was of central importance and is now the focus of two criminal proceedings against him.
U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell has already found Giuliani liable for more than a dozen defamatory statements against mother and daughter Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, leaving an eight-member jury just to decide how much He should pay compensation for violent threats and harassment the couple received. Howell had previously ordered Giuliani to pay the women $230,000 in legal fees and sanctions for failing to turn over relevant information. She said those failures, combined with Giuliani's own admissions, forced her to decide without a trial that he defamed both women, intentionally inflicted emotional distress on them as part of a civil conspiracy and owed punitive damages.
At a recent preliminary hearing at which Giuliani failed to appear, Howell condemned defense attorney Joseph D. Sibley IV for failing to appear. She warned that by making allegations that it had already rejected after Giuliani dismissed the plaintiffs and agreed not to deny that he had made false and defamatory claims about them, the defense was heading into “crazy land.” will slip.
Howell has suggested that Giuliani was trying to avoid disclosing information that could harm him in other civil and criminal cases, and legal experts said the bill may work for the former Manhattan U.S. attorney and host of his YouTube show “America's.” Mayor Live” is due.
“I don’t want to make this too complicated. Words have consequences, including for Mr. Giuliani,” said legal analyst Chuck Rosenberg, a former top FBI and Justice Department official. “We are all responsible for what we say and do. Mr. Giuliani doesn’t get a pass.”
The prospect of a humiliating or debilitating financial verdict is just the latest legal risk for Giuliani. He faces federal prosecution in Georgia for, among other things, spreading false claims about Freeman and Moss. He is also considered an unindicted co-conspirator in Trump's indictment on federal charges of interference with the 2020 election. He and one of his lawyers are being sued by Hunter Biden for allegedly mishandling the president's son's laptop, and that lawyer is accusing Giuliani of failing to pay legal bills. Giuliani is also being sued by a former employee who accuses him of wage theft and sexual harassment.
Giuliani pleaded not guilty in the Georgia criminal cases and denied all allegations of wrongdoing in all cases.
In a statement, Giuliani adviser Ted Goodman said: “The Rudy Giuliani you see today is the same man who defeated the Mafia, cleaned up New York City and comforted the nation after 9/11.”
Goodman added: “In time, this will be viewed as a dark chapter in our country's history as those in power seek to destroy their partisan opposition in ways that cause great, irreparable damage to the U.S. justice system…While.” It may be President Trump, Mayor Giuliani and others with whom you disagree politically today, but tomorrow it could be you and the people who share your beliefs.”
Giuliani will sit at the defense table on Monday, sharing a courtroom just feet from Freeman and Moss, who say they received death threats and were forced into hiding after Giuliani in the weeks after the election In 2020, they repeatedly claimed that misleading security video footage showed they brought death threats in “suitcases” full of fake votes for Joe Biden. Those claims were quickly refuted by election officials in Georgia, who said the so-called suitcases were regular ballot drop boxes and that nothing unusual happened at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
According to court documents, Giuliani alerted other Trump advisers to the Georgia video, and Trump referred to it in meetings with senior Justice Department officials and in a phone call with Georgia's secretary of state. During the call, the president asked the state official to “find 11,780 votes.”
Freeman and Moss are expected to testify in the case, and the defense has signaled that Giuliani could take the witness stand in his defense, although Howell Sibley warned of the risk of his client incriminating himself.
In court filings, attorneys for the Georgia workers suggest they may present new evidence about the extent of the alleged conspiracy between Giuliani, Trump and members of his legal and campaign teams. According to prosecutors in Georgia, three Trump supporters tried to pressure Freeman to agree to the false claims, including by showing up at her home.
Attorney Michael J. Gottlieb said the plaintiffs plan to show jurors relevant video clips of statements made under oath by Trump lawyers including Jenna Ellis and Ray S. Smith III, even though the pair have invoked the right of fifth trial hundreds of times Constitutional amendment claimed not to answer questions. The plaintiffs said other possible video evidence could include statements from Giuliani adviser Bernard Kerik and attorney Christina Bobb, who volunteered for Trump's legal team after the 2020 election and reported for the conservative cable news channel One America News.
“I have lost my name, I have lost my reputation,” Freeman testified before the House special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks. “I have lost my sense of security – all because a group of people, starting with Number 45 and his ally Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye to spread their own lies about how the presidential election was going to happen was stolen. ”
In Giuliani's defense, Sibley argued that election officials had not proven that his client's statements had caused so much harm and that it would be unfair for “other people's damaging statements” to be attributed to him.
“Our argument is that the causal connection to the damages claims must be related to the specific allegations in the lawsuit,” Sibley said, adding in court papers that Giuliani reserved the right to ask Howell to review her orders and appeal the case to insert.
One America News was a co-defendant in the case, but reached a settlement with Moss and Shaye and was earlier dismissed from the lawsuit. OAN then reported that state officials concluded that “there was no widespread voter fraud by poll workers counting ballots at the State Farm Arena,” suggesting that Freeman and Moss “did not commit voter fraud or criminal misconduct.”
Once known as “America's Mayor” for his leadership of New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Giuliani has now turned to Trump for financial support. The former president held a $100,000-a-person fundraiser for Giuliani in September, but Trump advisers say the pair no longer speak as often as they once did.