Patterico's Pontifications


Rudy Giuliani: Legally Liable In Harassed Election Workers’ Defamation Case

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

Holding Rudy Giuliani accountable:

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.

From the order:

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.”

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.


22 Responses to “Rudy Giuliani: Legally Liable In Harassed Election Workers’ Defamation Case”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (4020dd)

  2. Related:

    Jack Smith’s Team Grilled Witnesses About Rudy Giuliani’s Drinking
    ……….(A)ccording to lawyers and witnesses who’ve been in the room with special counsel investigators, Smith and his team are interested in this subject because it could help demonstrate that Trump was implementing the counsel of somebody he knew to be under the influence and perhaps not thinking clearly. If that were the case, it could add to federal prosecutors’ argument that Trump behaved with willful recklessness in his attempts nullify the 2020 election — by relying heavily on a lawyer he believed to be working while inebriated, and another who he bashed for spouting “crazy” conspiracy theories that Trump ran with anyway.

    And if federal prosecutors were to make this argument in court, it could undermine Trump and his legal team’s “advice of counsel” defense………

    Don’t light any matches near Rudy.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  3. I hope she takes his last dime.

    Barry Jacobs (2b0ba8)

  4. I’ve said this before, but I fail to understand how people like him get to this point.

    After 9/11, he was set. He could pull in huge contracts on his name for little more than showing up. Just act like a respectable patrician, give a speech once in a while, and spend his golden years however he liked.

    Except he apparently really liked giving interviews while drunk, farting up courtrooms (both literally and figuratively), and tormenting innocent people in the service of a failed casino operator’s autogolpe.

    I just do not understand some people.

    john (aff6cb)

  5. After 9/11, he was set. He could pull in huge contracts on his name for little more than showing up. Just act like a respectable patrician, give a speech once in a while, and spend his golden years however he liked.

    He was immensely popular then, too, but that didn’t satisfy his greed and ego. He needed more.

    Dana (4020dd)

  6. Giuliani did not originate the story of the ballots in suitcases, which he was still talking about on his radio show recently.

    I’m not clear what information he was supposed to preserve, and when he was told to do so.

    Is this because he had no good evidence, or because there was something he definitely had (like emails or text messages from other people) that he failed to produce?

    I remember he expected Sidney Powell to produce evidence of vote fraud – he relied entirely on her – and broke off contact with her when she didn’t. (Trump maintained conntactz0

    Sammy Finkelman (f37bf5)

  7. After 9/11, he was set.

    john (aff6cb) — 8/30/2023 @ 11:59 am

    Not only was he set. He was respected. He had made NYC safe again.

    Had he just enjoyed his retirement, like you said, his legacy would have been honorable.

    When I see how Trump has corrupted guys like Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee, I just shake my head. All of them are guys I would have voted for at one time.

    norcal (40e732)

  8. Giuliani conceded (or decided not to contest without admitting that he was definitely wrong) back in July that his statements about election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss “carry meaning that is defamatory” so the trial will be only about the amount of damages. He also has or had a legal defense that he wanted to preserve, that they were constitutionally protected statements or opinions.

    here was also the discovery issue about electronic records.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  9. Water main break. Yep. Keep going.

    NJRob (18aba0)

  10. The water main break could theoretically be only part of an attempt to steal votes. But they never produced anything about any other part, except maybe misrepresenting what those two election workers did.

    . And there are lots of cross checks.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  11. Trums lawyers tried to use Viktor Shokin:

    A federal judge removed a filing by former President Donald Trump’s legal team from the docket in his 2020 election interference case in Washington, DC, which apparently included an affidavit by Viktor Shokin — the Ukrainian prosecutor fired for allegedly investigating a natural gas company where President Biden’s son served on the board.

    US District Judge Tanya Chutkan denied the Trump attorneys’ motion to file the affidavit by Shokin — misspelled as “Victor Shorkin” — citing federal rules that prohibit amicus briefs in criminal cases as well as DC court guidelines.

    “At this time, the court does not find it necessary to depart from the ordinary procedures course by permitting this filing,” Chutkan said in her Tuesday order.

    Attorneys for the former president did not respond to a request for comment.

    Chutkan also struck down six other petitions from Trump’s legal team, including other requests to submit amicus briefs — one from former judges and senior justice officials — a motion to intervene and a writ of habeas corpus.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  12. Yep, water main break, around 6am on Election Day, which delayed counting for a couple hours. The GOP-run Secretary of State’s chief investigator filed an affidavit that affirmed the incident and also concluded that there were no breaks in the chain of custody at State Farm Arena.

    There’s some overlap between the Alex Jones and Rudy Giuliani defamation cases. Leaving aside Rudy’s too-clever-by-half stipulation, they were both found liable by default because they refused to comply with discovery requests by the court. My guess is that, for both slanderers, producing discovery materials would’ve been worse for their cases than stonewalling.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  13. Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 8/30/2023 @ 2:44 pm

    LOL! Everything except the kitchen sink.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  14. “Donald Trump will betray his supporters on every issue.” Ted Cruz, April, 2016. The last honest thing he ever said.

    Barry Jacobs (0eed2b)

  15. Ouch! The following describes the judge’s probable instructions to the jury that will be seated to find the amount of damages (and punitive damages) now that the facts of the case have been settled by the default judgement:

    ORDERED that, as a sanction for defendant’s failure timely to reimburse plaintiffs’ $89,172.50 in attorneys’ fees by July 25, 2023, the jury will be instructed that they must, when determining an appropriate sum of punitive damages, infer that he is intentionally trying to hide relevant discovery about his financial assets for the purpose of artificially deflating his net worth, unless he produces fulsome responses to plaintiffs’ RFP Numbers 40 and 41 by September 20, 2023, in which case, the mandatory instruction may be converted to a permissive one.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  16. Everything Trump Touches Dies.

    Trump IS the anti-Christ.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  17. producing discovery materials would’ve been worse for their cases than stonewalling.

    He is also hiding his assets from the court.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  18. I’ll give Trump a pass (of sorts) on this one.

    Giuliani was never a good person. Trump did not corrupt him; he was already corrupt. They just drifted into each other’s orbits like binary brown dwarfs.

    nk (ef2db6)

  19. They just drifted into each other’s orbits like binary brown dwarfs.

    I agree that Rudy has his own agency in this, but I think it’s more like binary white dwarfs, one of which thinks it’s a good idea to glom onto (i.e., accrete mass from) the other. Inevitably the accreting star detonates in a supernova while the companion star sits chuckling and refuses to pay the corpse star’s legal bills.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  20. Well, actually only one of those stars is a white dwarf. The other is a big, beautiful, dominant supergiant that all the other stars admire. Until it goes boom. Later people come and strip the corpse of the dwarf for its valuables.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  21. norcal (40e732) — 8/30/2023 @ 12:43 pm He was respected. He had made NYC safe again.

    Bloomberg continued his approach ad the city got safer and safer (not completely safe -it could always get better)

    It got so good that the jail population dropped.

    The crime rate is always heading toward an equilibrium – factors making it go up (criminals have friends and acquaintances)
    and factors that make it go down (interrupting their career or disincentivizing crime)

    Most of the time things are getting worse or better. There is no permanent crime rate or permanent percentage of the population of whom we can say they belong in jail.

    When it gets better, it contracts geographically and when it gets worse dangerousness expands geographically.

    They like to say that we haven’t reverted back all the way to the beginning of Giuliani, It ;s still better than Giuliani’s time! (it started getting better after or 1990 – Dinkins was the first one to appoint ray Kelly police commissioner and we shouldn’t knock the effect of HIV which began infecting drug addicts around 1987 and enabled law enforcement to catch up. New York had the highest AIDs rate and New York had the greatest drop in crime. HIV was a death sentence until 1995.

    The crime rate continued dropping until about the second year of de Blasi Then progressives did many things to raise the crime rate — and prevent reversal. And I don’t think that all people involved were stupid. One day, maybe we’ll find out about this conspiracy – probably some people were bribed by drug dealers.

    Sammy Finkelman (f37bf5)

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