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Giuliani ordered to pay $148 million in GA election defamation case

Jurors deliberated for hours Thursday and Friday at Washington’s federal courthouse before reaching a verdict.
Posted at 4:07 PM, Dec 15, 2023

A jury announced Friday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani must pay more than $148 million in damages to two Georgia election workers he defamed. 

The jury broke down the payments in three different categories: Giuliani must pay Wandrea “Shaye” Moss $16,998,000 and her mother Ruby Freeman $16,171,000 in compensatory damages.

In addition, Giuliani owes Moss and Freeman $20 million each for intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

The jury also ruled that Giuliani must pay Moss and Freeman an additional $75 million in punitive damages. Those judgments add up to $148,169,000.

Jurors deliberated for hours Thursday and Friday at Washington's federal courthouse before reaching a verdict. 

A judge already ruled that Giuliani defamed Moss and Freeman when he falsely alleged that they committed ballot fraud during Georgia's 2020 presidential election.

Freeman told jurors on Wednesday about the threatening and racist messages she had received. Some of the messages were played for jurors.

In their closing statements, attorneys for the women pointed out that Giuliani has repeated the false statements, even as recently as when speaking to reporters outside the courthouse while the trial was underway.

Giuliani had hinted he would testify in the case. On Wednesday he told reporters "I said the truth will come out; the truth will come out. I didn't say when, so it will come out and it will come out very, very shortly."

Giuliani ultimately decided not to take the stand.

Giuliani's attorney has insisted that he is not fully responsible for the public reaction the two women faced. The attorney said the damages the women are seeking are unfairly high.

The case comes as Giuliani faces other legal entanglements, including charges in Fulton County, Georgia, for his part in the scheme to overturn the 2020 election results there. Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has called them politically motivated.

"We have not been allowed to offer one single piece of evidence in defense, of which I have a lot," Giuliani told reporters after the verdict. "So I am quite confident when this case gets before a fair tribunal, it'll be reversed so quickly it will make your head spin. And the absurd numbers that just came in will help that, actually."

"I have no doubt that my comments were made and they were supportable, and are supportable today," Giuliani said, when asked about the comments that formed the basis of the case, which the judge had already ruled were defamatory. "I just did not have an opportunity to present the evidence that we offered. Did you notice, we were not allowed to put in one piece of evidence in defense."

"The past few years have been devastating," Shaye Moss said in a statement after the verdict. "The flame that (Rudy) Giuliani lit with those lies, and passed to so many others to keep that flame blazing, changed every aspect of our lives. Our homes, our family, our work, our sense of safety, our mental health; and we're still working to rebuild."

Moss continued, "As we move forward and continue to seek justice, our greatest wish is that no one — no election worker, or voter, or school board member or anyone else — ever experiences anything like what we went through. You all matter, and you are all important. We hope no one ever has to fight so hard just to get your name back."