[guest post by Dana]
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Rudy Giuliani is legally liable for defaming two Georgia election workers who became the subject of conspiracy theories related to the 2020 election that were amplified by Donald Trump in the final weeks of his presidency.
In an unsparing, 57-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell said Giuliani had flagrantly violated her orders to preserve and produce relevant evidence to the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, resulting in a “default” judgment against him. She also ordered him to pay Freeman and Moss “punitive” damages for failing to fulfill his obligations.
ORDERED that default judgment will be entered against defendant Rudolph W. Giuliani on his liability for plaintiffs’ defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and punitive damage claims, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 37(e)(2)(C) and 37(b)(2)(A)(vi);
As a reminder, this is what Shaye Moss said happened to her as a result of Giuliani (and Trump’s) reprehensible lies and vile harassment of her:
At the urging of her boss, Moss said she checked her Facebook messages and there “were just a lot of horrible things there.” They included “a lot of threats, wishing death upon me, telling me that I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like, ‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.’”
“A lot of them were racist, a lot of them were just hateful,” Moss said.
She said her son also received threats and that at one point, people went to her grandmother’s house and tried to make a “citizen’s arrest.”
As a result of the harassment and for her safety, the FBI then instructed Ruby Freeman to leave her home. Here is a snapshot of her response to the events:
“It was horrible,” Freeman said. “I felt homeless. I can’t believe this person [Trump] has caused this much damage to me and my family, to have to leave my home.”
Freeman said she lost her reputation and a sense of security because Trump and Giuliani “decided to scapegoat me and my daughter to push their own lies about the election being stolen.”
“There is nowhere I feel safe, nowhere,” Freeman said. “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American — not to target one. But he targeted me — Lady Ruby, a small-business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who stand up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”
"I've lost my name, and I've lost my reputation. I've lost my sense of security — all because a group of people… scapegoat[ed] me and my daughter, Shaye, to push their own lies about how the Presidential election was stolen."
– Ruby Freeman, former Georgia election worker pic.twitter.com/jEVvW85ZJX
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 21, 2022
Judge Beryl Howell wrote:
“Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery in a straight-forward defamation case, with the concomitant necessity of repeated court intervention.”
Howell said that aside from an initial document production of 193 pages, the information Giuliani had turned over consisted largely of “a single page of communications, blobs of indecipherable data” and “a sliver of the financial documents required to be produced.”
The order is here.
Only the best people…right.