Updated Dec 15, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Giuliani ordered to pay $148 million for defaming Georgia election workers

Rudy Giuliani outside of a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 11.

Rudy Giuliani outside of a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 11. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A jury ordered Rudy Giuliani on Friday to pay $148 million in damages for defaming two Georgia election workers as part of his alleged efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, per multiple reports.

Why it matters: The decision marks another multimillion-dollar penalty in a case related to lies about the 2020 election, and will add to Giuliani's mounting legal fees and financial troubles.

What he's saying: "The absurdity of the amount is indicative of the absurdity and unfairness of the entire proceeding," Giuliani said in a statement to Axios Friday night.

  • "It bore no resemblance to a trial in a country with the rule of law. I wasn't able to offer any evidence in my defense. We'll have more to say and look forward to the appeal," Giuliani said.
  • Giuliani also told reporters on Friday that he had "no doubt" his comments regarding the two election workers "were made and they were supportable and are supportable today."

Backstory: Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, the two Fulton County, Georgia, election workers, sued Giuliani and the right-wing media outlet One America News Network for repeating allegations that they committed ballot fraud.

  • OAN was dismissed from the lawsuit last year after settling with Freeman and Moss, while a federal judge in a partial summary judgment in August found Giuliani liable for defaming the election workers.
  • The trial was to determine how much in damages Giuliani would owe Freeman and Moss. The pair sought between $15.5 million and $43 million from Giuliani.
  • As part of the summary judgment, Giuliani was already required to pay the women $230,000 in legal fees and penalties for not complying with their legal team's discovery requests.

Zoom in: During the trial, Freeman described the onslaught of threats she and Moss faced in part from the things Giuliani said about them.

  • Freeman said they both received numerous racist messages, along with death threats.
  • "Pack your s–t. They are coming for you. I'm not far behind. I'm coming for you also. Trash will be taken to the street in bags," read one of the threats.
  • The trial ended without testimony from the ex-Trump lawyer, who had said he intended to speak under oath before backing out.

Of note: U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, the judge overseeing the case, warned that statements Giuliani made about Freeman and Moss before the trial could support another defamation case against him.

  • Howell also said Giuliani violated a court agreement by disparaging Freeman and Moss' lawyer on a live video broadcast while the trial was ongoing.

The big picture: The former New York City mayor faces several other civil and criminal cases as a result of his actions after the 2020 election while employed by the Trump campaign.

  • Giuliani is one of the over a dozen co-conspirators charged alongside former President Trump by Fulton County, Georgia, in its election interference criminal case.
  • He was also sued by voting machine manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems, which alleged he and other Trump campaign officials defamed the company by claiming it rigged the 2020 presidential election.
  • The company is seeking $1.3 billion in damages from him.

A lawyer for Freeman and Moss did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment Friday.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from Giuliani.

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