WASHINGTON — A jury in Washington D.C. awarded $148 million in damages on Friday to two former Georgia election workers after they sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation. Giuliani’s false allegations caused the women to experience racist threats and harassment. Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, described the devastating impact of the conspiracy theory spread by Giuliani, who was attempting to keep former President Donald Trump in power following his loss in the 2020 election.
The damages included a $75 million award in punitive damages for Moss and Freeman, as well as approximately $36 million each in other damages. Giuliani, who had already been found liable in the case and admitted to falsely accusing the women of ballot fraud, showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Meanwhile, Moss and Freeman embraced their attorneys, avoiding eye contact with Giuliani as he left the courtroom.
Giuliani’s lawyer acknowledged his client’s wrongdoing but argued that he was not solely responsible for the women’s ordeal. The defense placed significant blame on a right-wing website that published a surveillance video of the two women counting ballots. This judgment compounds Giuliani’s legal and financial troubles, as he faces numerous lawsuits and investigations related to his representation of Trump.
The defamation case against Giuliani is just one aspect of his legal battles; he also faces criminal charges in Georgia, where he and others are accused of attempting to subvert the results of the 2020 election. Giuliani has pleaded not guilty, dismissing the charges as politically motivated.
During the defamation trial, jurors heard recordings of Giuliani falsely accusing the election workers of various election-related wrongdoings. Trump, too, amplified these baseless conspiracy theories through his social media accounts. To further support Moss and Freeman’s case, their lawyers played audio recordings of the graphic and racist threats the women received.
The women’s attorneys requested a minimum of $24 million each in defamation damages, in addition to compensation for emotional harm and punitive damages. Moss and Freeman testified about the fear they experienced, with Moss even resorting to altering her appearance to protect herself. Freeman recounted instances of strangers banging on her door and her need to flee her home due to safety concerns.
Giuliani’s defense attorney urged the jury to recognize his client’s contributions, while acknowledging the women’s entitlement to compensation. However, Moss and Freeman’s attorney emphasized that Giuliani continues to repeat the false conspiracy theory, demonstrating that he has no remorse and is likely to do so again in the future.
This ruling adds to Giuliani’s legal troubles, as the judge overseeing the election workers’ lawsuit has already ordered him and his business entities to pay substantial attorneys’ fees. The judge concluded that Giuliani had shown minimal compliance with his legal obligations and attempted to portray himself as the victim in the case.
The jury’s decision in this defamation lawsuit serves as a significant blow to Giuliani’s credibility and financial stability. It is a further indication of the consequences faced by those who spread unfounded conspiracy theories and engage in baseless attacks against individuals.