Judge Rejects Rudy Giuliani’s Plea For A Reversal In Defamation Case From Ex-Election Workers

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Federal Judge Beryl Howell has upheld nearly $150 million in financial penalties imposed on longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani by a jury working on defamation claims from former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The mother and daughter challenged Giuliani in court after they were named in debunked conspiracy theories that the ex-mayor helped propagate.

Freeman and Moss faced serious threats to their safety in connection to right-wingers spreading false claims specifically accusing them of involvement in (imaginary) systematic election fraud in 2020. The claims were part of the ongoing denial in some Trump circles of the documented legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and, specifically, Joe Biden’s victory in it. Trump — himself long a leader in spreading those election theories — has gone after Freeman after leaving the White House entirely.

And a jury decided on $148 million in penalties for Giuliani over his role in developments. “Giuliani’s renewed motion urging this Court to reverse its prior findings and rulings and to override the jury’s considered verdict on the basis of five threadbare arguments falls 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,”” Howell said in her ruling, quoting earlier legal precedent.

Predictably, Giuliani’s team evidently intended to appeal, per Forbes, though there’s no clear indication that they’re suddenly going to get a reversal of Howell’s stance. She herself originally established Giuliani’s liability in this case, issuing a default judgment against him after he failed to comply with pre-trial processes for sharing materials tied to the proceedings. The eventual trial jury decided only how much to make Giuliani pay rather than the underlying question of his responsibility. Giuliani, meanwhile, is also criminally charged in Georgia for alleged participation in election-targeting schemes and facing other serious financial hurdles.