WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal jury in Washington awarded $148 million in damages on Friday to two former Georgia election workers who sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation over false claims he made about them in 2020. The lies spread by Giuliani led to racist threats and harassment against the two women. The jury deliberated for about 10 hours before reaching their verdict.
Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, testified emotionally during the trial, describing the devastating impact of the conspiracy theory pushed by Giuliani and other Republicans. The jury awarded each woman roughly $36 million in damages, with an additional $75 million in punitive damages for each.
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, showed no emotion as the verdict was read in the federal courthouse. He had already been found liable in the case and admitted in court documents that he falsely accused the women of ballot fraud. Despite this, Giuliani continued to repeat his baseless allegations about them to reporters.
Giuliani’s lawyer argued that while his client was wrong, he should not be held fully responsible for the harassment the women faced. The defense tried to shift blame to a right-wing website that published surveillance video of the women counting ballots.
The defamation case adds to Giuliani’s legal troubles, as he already faces criminal charges in Georgia for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election results. He has pleaded not guilty in that case and has characterized it as politically motivated.
During the trial, recordings were played of Giuliani falsely accusing the election workers of various election fraud activities. The women’s lawyers also presented audio recordings of the racist threats they received. Moss and Freeman described living in fear, with Moss changing her appearance, rarely leaving her home, and suffering from panic attacks.
The jury’s verdict is a significant blow to Giuliani, who has been facing financial strain from multiple lawsuits and investigations related to his representation of former President Donald Trump. The judge overseeing the case had previously ordered Giuliani to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.
In conclusion, a federal jury awarded $148 million in damages to two former Georgia election workers in their defamation case against Rudy Giuliani. The jury found Giuliani liable for spreading false claims about the women, resulting in threats and harassment. The verdict further compounds Giuliani’s legal challenges and financial troubles.