ATLANTA (AP) – A jury has awarded $148 million in damages to two former Fulton County election workers in a defamation suite against Rudy Giuliani, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump. The verdict came after emotional testimony from Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who were falsely accused by Giuliani of participating in a ballot fraud conspiracy.
The trial revealed that Giuliani had already been found liable in the case and had admitted to falsely accusing the women. Despite this, he continued to spread baseless claims against them even as the jury deliberated on damages. Giuliani’s defense team attempted to shift blame onto a right-wing website that published surveillance footage of Moss and Freeman counting ballots in Fulton County. The footage was used by Giuliani to promote false narratives about suitcases filled with ballots and tampering with voting machines.
During the trial, Moss and Freeman, who are Black, played audio recordings of the graphic and racist threats they received following the baseless claims made by Giuliani. Freeman described instances of strangers banging on her door and the need to flee her home for safety. The FBI also warned her about potential threats.
The jury’s decision not only holds Giuliani accountable for his defamatory statements, but also sends a strong message that the spreading of baseless conspiracy theories has real-life consequences. The damages awarded to Moss and Freeman reflect the harm they suffered as a result of Giuliani’s false accusations.
Giuliani is currently facing criminal charges in Georgia, alongside Trump and 18 others, for attempting to thwart the 2020 election results. This recent verdict further undermines Giuliani’s credibility and raises questions about his involvement in the election controversies. The case serves as a reminder of the importance of ethical conduct and responsible speech, especially from public figures and those in positions of power.