A federal judge has found former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani liable for defamation after spreading conspiracy theories about two Georgia election workers.
The court additionally found that Giuliani failed to comply with the legal requirements of evidentiary discovery, ruling that he “refused to comply with his discovery obligations and thwarted plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss’ procedural rights to obtain any meaningful discovery in this case.”
“Giuliani has submitted declarations with concessions turned slippery on scrutiny and excuses designed to shroud the insufficiency of his discovery compliance,” Judge Beryl A. Howell wrote.
“Just as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks—even potential criminal liability—bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions, no matter what reservations a noncompliant party may try artificially to preserve for appeal,” she added.
The judge further admonished Giuliani for failing to comply with an order to reimburse the plaintiffs for $89,172.50 worth of legal fees, as well as withholding records related to his personal finances and failing to preserve materials related to the investigation. The judge concluded that additional sanctions would be considered during a trial to determine damages owed by Giuliani to Freeman and Moss.
“What we went through after the 2020 election was a living nightmare. Rudy Giuliani helped unleash a wave of hatred and threats we never could have imagined. It cost us our sense of security and our freedom to go about our lives,” Moss wrote in a statement responding to the ruling, adding that “today’s ruling is yet another neutral finding that has confirmed what we have known all along: that there was never any truth to any of the accusations about us and that we did nothing wrong.”
In a statement provided to Rolling Stone, Giuliani adviser Ted Goodman called the ruling “a prime example of the weaponization of our justice system, where the process is the punishment.”
“This decision should be reversed, as Mayor Giuliani is wrongly accused of not preserving electronic evidence that was seized and held by the FBI,” Goodman added.
In December, Rudy Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss sued Giuliani, alleging that the attorney had falsely accused them of participating in vote manipulation in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
During testimony before the Jan. 6 committee, Moss recounted how she and Freeman, her mother, were publicly accused by Giuliani of having exchanged a “USB drive” full of votes. When asked what her mother had actually passed to her Moss replied that the object was “a ginger mint.”
Moss also detailed the many threats made against her by Trump supporters, noting that they were told they should “hang for committing treason.” According to Moss, people went to her grandmother’s home and attempted to “burst down the door and conduct a citizen’s arrest of my mom and me.”
Several of the defendants indicted in the Georgia RICO case against Trump and 18 of his allies were charged with offenses related to intimidation attempts against Freeman.
Giuliani was amongst those charged with intimidating Freeman, but his legal troubles extend well beyond Georgia. As reported by Rolling Stone, Special Counsel Jack Smith has been questioning witnesses in a federal investigation of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election on Giuliani’s drinking during and after the 2020 election.
Giuliani has been confirmed as one of the co-conspirators in Smith’s indictment of Trump over the effort to overturn the election.