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Rudy Giuliani Ordered to Pay $148.1M in False Election Claims Case

In a landmark verdict, Rudy Giuliani was ordered to pay $148.1 million for spreading false claims about election workers. The jury held him accountable for perpetuating baseless allegations that targeted Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Freeman and Moss’s Testimonies

During the four-day trial, Freeman and Moss provided harrowing details of the harassment and threats they faced. Giuliani’s false accusations not only tarnished their reputations but also led to severe emotional distress, forcing them to endure a life of fear and caution.

Breakdown of Damages: A Significant Financial Blow

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The awarded damages included nearly $16.2 million and $17 million in compensatory damages for Freeman and Moss. An additional $75 million in punitive damages reflected the jury’s determination to send a powerful message. Giuliani was also burdened with approximately $275,000 in legal fees.

Giuliani’s Defiant Response: Vows to Appeal

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Despite the overwhelming verdict, Giuliani remained defiant, vowing to appeal the decision. He dismissed the awarded sum as absurd, doubling down on his false claims and asserting his confidence in a swift reversal.

Read More: House Freedom Caucus Sends Warning to Speaker Johnson Following Failed Vote

Giuliani’s Financial Struggles

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Facing financial challenges, Giuliani pledged to use every legal maneuver to block the hefty payment. This reflects the latest chapter in his well-documented financial struggles.

Fighting Back with the Law

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This case is part of a broader trend where defamation law is employed to counter misinformation. Dominion’s $787 million settlement with Fox earlier this year exemplifies a similar legal response.

Lies as a Cornerstone: Giuliani and Trump’s Tactics

NEW YORK, USA – Sep 21, 2017: Meeting of the President of the United States Donald Trump with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in New York — Photo by palinchak

Giuliani’s false accusations against Freeman and Moss played a pivotal role in the broader efforts by Giuliani and Trump to overturn the election results in Georgia. On December 3, 2020, Giuliani tweeted a selectively edited video, falsely claiming it showed Freeman and Moss manipulating ballots. The debunked accusation, however, fueled a barrage of threats and harassment.

Also Read: Trump Supporter Requests Early Release, Citing Manipulation by Former President

Immediate Death Threats: Racist Messages Revealed

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Freeman and Moss were immediately bombarded with death threats through various channels, including mail, email, social media, and voicemail. The court revealed the racist nature of these messages, further emphasizing the severity of the threats.

Giuliani’s Refusal and Concession

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Giuliani refused to turn over documents during the case and, earlier, conceded to making false statements about the women. He said, “The absurdity of the number merely underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding, where I’ve not been able to offer one piece of evidence in defense, of which I have a lot.”

Legal Concessions

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Giuliani’s attorney conceded that his client had done something wrong by making false statements. However, during the trial, efforts were made to distance Giuliani from the resulting threats and harassment.

Read More: Appeals Court Orders Biden Administration to Proceed with Offshore Oil Lease Sale Without Environmental Restrictions

Giuliani’s Defense Reversal: Opting Out of Testifying

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Initially intending to take the witness stand, Giuliani reversed his decision, choosing not to testify. This strategic reversal could potentially impact the dynamics of his defense.

Repairing Reputations

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Lawyers for Freeman and Moss emphasized that the case aimed to repair their clients’ reputations. The verdict also sent a clear message to other powerful figures that false claims would have consequences.

Impact on Election Workers

Moss emphasized the need to make a statement to ensure election workers don’t face similar challenges. Hitting Giuliani in his pockets was seen as a strategy to send a strong message.

Read More: Ongoing Tax Probe Surrounding Hunter Biden Extends to California; James Biden Subpoenaed

Ongoing Legal Battles: Freeman and Moss’s Lawsuits

Freeman and Moss have a pending lawsuit against the Gateway Pundit, a far-right news outlet. This adds to a series of cases where defamation law is used against misinformation post-2020 election.

Settlements with Outlets

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In the past, Freeman and Moss settled with One America News and Dominion, setting precedents in using defamation law against media outlets spreading false claims. Civil rights groups increasingly use defamation law as a tool to combat misinformation. This marks a shift in legal strategies post-2020 election.

Calls for Broader Accountability

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Freeman emphasized that the work doesn’t end with Giuliani’s accountability. She called for holding others accountable who spread lies about them. Freeman stated, “Today is not the end of the road, we still have work to do. Rudy Giuliani was not the only one who spread lies about us, and others must be held accountable too. But that is tomorrow’s work”.

Read Next: Democrats Unite to Expel Santos, Signaling a Bleak Future in the House

Freeman’s Emotional Reflection: Money Can’t Heal All

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Freeman expressed gratitude for the jury’s decision but highlighted that money cannot fully resolve the problems caused. She emphasized the lasting emotional toll and the need for accountability beyond Giuliani. She reflected, “Money will never solve all my problems…. I miss my home, I miss my neighbors, and I miss my name”.

Future Challenges

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Freeman acknowledged that while today is a victory, there is still work to be done. She highlighted that others who spread lies about them must be held accountable, emphasizing the broader challenge ahead.

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