NATIONAL NEWS

Jury awards $148 million in damages to Georgia election workers over Rudy Giuliani’s 2020 vote lies

Dec 15, 2023, 2:28 PM

FILE - Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporters as he leaves his apartment buildi...

FILE - Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporters as he leaves his apartment building in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. A trial set to get underway in Washington on Monday, Dec. 11, will determine how much Rudy Giuliani will have to pay two Georgia election workers who he falsely accused of fraud while pushing Donald Trump's baseless claims after he lost the 2020 election. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A jury awarded $148 million in damages on Friday to two former Georgia election workers who sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation over lies he spread about them in 2020 that upended their lives with racist threats and harassment.

The damages verdict follows emotional testimony from Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who tearfully described becoming the target of a false conspiracy theory pushed by Giuliani and other Republicans as they tried to keep then-President Donald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 election.

Giuliani had already been found liable in the case and previously conceded in court documents that he falsely accused the women of ballot fraud. Even so, the former New York City mayor continued to repeat his baseless allegations about the women in comments to reporters outside the Washington, D.C., courthouse this week.

Giuliani’s lawyer acknowledged that his client was wrong but insisted that Giuliani was not fully responsible for the vitriol the women faced. The defense sought to largely pin the blame on a right-wing website that published the surveillance video of the two women counting ballots.

The judgment adds to growing financial and legal peril for Giuliani, who was among the loudest proponents of Trump’s false claims of election fraud that are now a key part of the criminal cases against the former president.

Giuliani had already been showing signs of financial strain as he defends himself against costly lawsuits and investigations stemming from his representation of Trump. His lawyer suggested that the defamation case could financially ruin the former mayor, saying “it would be the end of Mr. Giuliani.”

And Giuliani is still facing his biggest test yet: fighting criminal charges in the Georgia case accusing Trump and 18 others of working to subvert the results of the 2020 election, won by Democrat Joe Biden, in that state. Giuliani has pleaded not guilty and characterized the case as politically motivated.

Jurors in the defamation case heard recordings of Giuliani falsely accusing the election workers of sneaking in ballots in suitcases, counting ballots multiple times and tampering with voting machines. Trump also repeated the conspiracy theories through his social media accounts. Lawyers for Moss and Freeman, who are Black, also played for jurors audio recordings of the graphic and racist threats the women received.

The women’s lawyers asked for at least $24 million for each woman in defamation damages alone. They also sought compensation for their emotional harm and punitive damages.

On the witness stand, Moss and Freeman described fearing for their lives as hateful messages poured in. Moss told jurors she tried to change her appearance, seldom leaves her home and suffers from panic attacks. Her mother described strangers banging on her door and recounted fleeing her home after people came with bullhorns and the FBI told her she wasn’t safe.

“It’s so scary, anytime I go somewhere, if I have to use my name,” Freeman said, gasping through her tears to get her words out. “I miss my old neighborhood because I was me, I could introduce myself. Now I don’t have a name, really.”

Defense attorney Joseph Sibley told jurors they should compensate the women for what they are owed, but he urged them to “remember this is a great man.”

An attorney for Moss and Freeman, in his closing argument, highlighted how Giuliani has not stopped repeating the false conspiracy theory asserting the workers interfered in the November 2020 presidential election. Attorney Michael Gottlieb played a video of Giuliani outside the courthouse on Monday, in which Giuliani falsely claimed the women were “engaged in changing votes.”

“Mr. Giuliani has shown over and over again he will not take our client’s names out of his mouth,” Gottlieb said. “Facts will not stop him. He says he isn’t sorry and he’s telegraphing he will do this again. Believe him.”

The judge overseeing the election workers’ lawsuit had already ordered Giuliani and his business entities to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees. In holding Giuliani liable, the judge ruled that the former mayor gave “only lip service” to complying with his legal obligations while trying to portray himself as the victim in the case.

___

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Aaron Bushnell as seen from his LinkedIn profile. Bushnell set himself ablaze outside the Israeli E...

Michael Balsamo, Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide.”

13 minutes ago

An artist's impression depicts a dead white dwarf star and its magnetic field, which is usually inv...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Dead ‘cannibal’ star spotted with metal scar after consuming part of a planet

Astronomers have spotted an unusual sign that a dead star feasted on a fragment of a planet orbiting it: a metal scar on the star’s surface.

28 minutes ago

The Birmingham England Temple Rendering...

Michael Houck

Church releases location for the Vancouver Washington Temple and renderings for England, U.S. temples

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released the site location of the Vancouver Washington Temple and the artistic renderings for temples in England, Nevada, and Texas.

2 hours ago

FILE - A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at Kickclusive, a sneaker resale store, in Para...

Associated Press

Adidas sells another batch of Yeezy sneakers left over from breakup with Ye

Shoe and sports clothing maker Adidas says it has started a third sale of the Yeezy sneakers it was left with after severing ties with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.

3 hours ago

FILE - Asylum-seekers walk to a U.S. Border Patrol van after crossing the nearby border with Mexico...

Seung Min Kim, Colleen Long, Zeke Miller, and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

Biden and Trump are making dueling trips to the Mexico border in Texas on Thursday, AP sources say

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Thursday.

5 hours ago

Alexander Smirnov leaves court in Las Vegas on February 20, 2024. (CNN)...

Cheri Mossburg and Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN

Ex-FBI informant Smirnov will remain in jail while he awaits trial, judge rules

Ex-FBI informant Alexander Smirnov will remain in jail while he awaits trial, a federal judge in California ruled Monday.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Jury awards $148 million in damages to Georgia election workers over Rudy Giuliani’s 2020 vote lies