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Giuliani Opts Out of Testifying in Defamation Trial

Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City, found himself in the midst of a defamation trial in Washington, D.C. Accused of lying about two Georgia election workers in the 2020 election. The trial aimed to determine the damages Giuliani should pay for baselessly defaming Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.

Giuliani Found Liable for Defamation

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Giuliani had already been found liable for defaming Freeman and Moss, who sought damages between $15.5 million and $43 million. The accusations of election fraud led to the women facing harassment and threats after Trump’s loss to Biden.

Strategic Move: Giuliani Opts Not to Testify

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Giuliani’s defense decided against him testifying in the trial, a move considered strategic by legal experts. Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach, Florida, suggested Giuliani’s recent out-of-court statements influenced this decision.

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Giuliani’s Clash with Judge Howell

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Giuliani had angered U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell earlier in the week, prompting legal experts to view the decision not to testify as a wise move. The move aimed to prevent potential escalation of tensions with the judge and jury.

Legal Expert Insights

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Legal experts speculated that Giuliani’s desire to testify was curtailed due to concerns about his potential statements inflaming the judge and jury. Avoiding such risks became crucial for Giuliani’s defense.

Giuliani’s Bold Claim: No Regret for Defamatory Remarks

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After opening statements, Giuliani claimed he didn’t regret his defamatory remarks about Freeman and Moss, asserting he was telling “the truth.” Howell’s concerns about these statements raised the possibility of new defamation claims against him.

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Focus on First Amendment Defense: Giuliani’s Legal Strategy

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Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani suggested Giuliani’s decision aligned with a focus on appealing to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, relying on a strong First Amendment defense. This strategy influenced Giuliani’s approach to the trial. Rahmani said, “Giuliani also has significantly more exposure in the Georgia election fraud case, and he can’t risk saying something in the civil case to try to save some money that may be used against him in the criminal case and help send him to prison.”

Risk in Election Subversion Case

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Rahmani highlighted Giuliani’s potential risk in his election subversion case in Fulton County if he were to testify. The delicate balance between civil and criminal proceedings added complexity to Giuliani’s legal considerations.

Trump’s Similar Decision

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Drawing parallels with Trump’s decision not to testify in a civil fraud case, legal experts pointed out the shared caution when criminal charges were pending. Giuliani’s legal acumen was underscored in navigating these intricate legal landscapes.

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Professor’s Assessment: Not Testifying, a Wise Choice

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Anthony Kreis, a professor at Georgia State University College of Law, agreed that not having Giuliani testify was the best choice for his defense. The move was seen as a prudent legal strategy for protecting Giuliani’s interests.

Trial Progression: Closing Arguments Commence

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With Giuliani opting not to testify, the trial progressed into closing arguments. Freeman and Moss’s lawyer urged the jury to send a message and criticized Giuliani for being a “bully” towards the plaintiffs.

Giuliani’s Legal Strategies

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Giuliani’s decision not to testify marked a strategic move in a legal battle fraught with political and personal implications. The closing arguments set the stage for a verdict that could have ripple effects on Giuliani’s legal future.

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