On Wednesday, a federal judge issued a ruling stating that Rudy Giuliani had defamed Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, former Georgia election workers. The judge found Giuliani liable for damages as he did not fulfill his discovery obligations in their lawsuit. In this lawsuit, Giuliani had made baseless claims of fraud by Freeman and Moss during the 2020 election.
A civil trial will be conducted to determine the extent of damages.
Judge Beryl Howell, of the U.S. District Court, noted in a comprehensive opinion that Giuliani had disregarded his duty to comply with discovery rules, thereby infringing upon the plaintiffs’ procedural rights to access meaningful discovery in the case.
She also emphasized that just as taking shortcuts to secure an election can lead to risks, even potential legal consequences, evading the discovery process also results in significant penalties, regardless of the attempts by a non-compliant party to protect their interests for a potential appeal.
Ted Goodman, a political adviser to Giuliani, responded by stating that his client had been wrongly accused. Goodman criticized the lengthy nature of the opinion, which he claimed weaponized the justice system, making the process itself a form of punishment.
Giuliani had previously admitted in a court filing that he had made false statements about Freeman and Moss. In a stipulation signed by Giuliani, he conceded that any factual statements he made were false for the purposes of the litigation.
Freeman and Moss had their lives upended when conspiracy theories, endorsed by then-President Donald Trump and his attorney Giuliani, along with other supporters, alleged that they had engaged in election fraud during the 2020 presidential election. This accusation was based on a heavily edited video clip that misrepresented their actions.
Giuliani had wrongly claimed that Freeman and Moss were involved in suspicious activities with USB ports, likening it to illegal substances. In reality, as established by the Jan. 6 committee report, they were handling a ginger mint.
In response to the recent ruling, Freeman and Moss conveyed that their post-election experience had been a “living nightmare,” but the ruling provided them with hope for rebuilding their lives. They pointed out that Giuliani’s actions had caused them immense suffering and threats.
They stated that nothing could fully restore what they had lost due to the false accusations, but the ruling affirmed that the accusations against them were baseless. They emphasized that they were unfairly targeted for political reasons and held the responsible parties accountable.
While acknowledging the importance of faith, they also stressed the necessity of action. They vowed to continue working towards justice and restoring their reputations despite the challenges they had faced since 2020.
Notably, former President Trump, Giuliani, and other allies, including Mark Meadows, had recently been indicted on felony charges related to their attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Giuliani, who had amplified Trump’s unsupported claims of election fraud, turned himself in to face racketeering charges linked to his involvement in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. The indictment alleges that he played a crucial role in a criminal conspiracy, pressuring election officials despite being informed that the fraud claims were false.
Giuliani and his co-defendants are scheduled for arraignment on September 6. Giuliani has consistently denied any wrongdoing.