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Rudy Giuliani’s $148 Million Defamation Bill For False Georgia Voter Fraud Claims Upheld By Judge

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Updated Apr 16, 2024, 10:38am EDT

Topline

A federal judge rejected Rudy Giuliani’s request to reverse a massive defamation judgment owed to two Georgia election workers, ordering the former Trump lawyer to pay $148 million to a mother and daughter whom Giuliani falsely accused of voter fraud in 2020.

Key Facts

A ruling from D.C.-based District Judge Beryl Howell upheld a jury’s verdict from December that found Giuliani, an ex-attorney for former President Donald Trump, had to pay two Georgia election workers—Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss—for defamation, emotional stress and punitive damages.

Giuliani’s lawyers filed a motion in February asking to reverse the court’s finding or grant a new trial on the premise that, among other things, the emotional harm statements were time-barred, there was no competent evidence of distress and that some of the testimony should have been stricken.

But Howell wrote the motion from Giuliani’s team fell “well short of persuading that ‘the evidence and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom are so one-sided that reasonable men and women could not have reached a verdict in [plaintiffs’] favor.’”

Crucial Quote

“We're not at all surprised this judge didn't reverse her own prior ruling. This is the expected outcome from a judge who put partisan politics ahead of justice,” Giuliani and his spokesperson, Ted Goodman, told Forbes in a statement. “We look forward to our appeal with the D.C. Circuit Court, where, if given a fair hearing that isn't politically motivated, there's no question the absurd amount of awarded damages will be reversed.”

Key Background

In December, a jury ruled Giuliani had to pay the Georgia election workers more than $148 million for defaming them by spreading a false conspiracy theory tying them to election fraud. The mother and daughter sued him in 2021 and alleged he “orchestrated a sustained smear campaign” against them that made them the “objects of vitriol, threats, and harassment” by linking them to the conspiracy, which was found to be “false and unsubstantiated” by the Georgia secretary of state. The theory alleged that the pair was shown on camera passing a USB port to each other—which they testified was a mint—in an effort to rig the counting of votes against Trump. One day after the judgment, Giuliani filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, which paused the civil litigation he was in, giving him time to appeal the judgment. At the time, Giuliani’s spokesperson Ted Goodman said the bankruptcy filing should not have been a surprise as “no person could have reasonably believed that Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be able to pay such a high punitive amount.”

Further Reading

ForbesGiuliani Must Pay $148 Million In Damages For Defaming Georgia Election WorkersForbesRudy Giuliani Files For Bankruptcy Following Order To Pay $148 Million To Defamed Election Workers
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