Judge finds Giuliani liable for withholding information in defamation case brought by Georgia election workers

September 1, 2023

On Wednesday, a federal judge found former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani liable in a defamation lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers who say they were falsely accused of fraud.

The judge ruled that Giuliani paid “only lip service” to his legal obligations while attempting to portray himself as the victim in the case, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The outcome was deemed necessary by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell who found that Giuliani disregarded his duty as a defendant to give over information requested by Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea' ArShaya Moss as part of their lawsuit.

Giuliani could be ordered to pay significant damages to the women, in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees he is already required to pay.

Giuliani, once one of former President Donald Trump's attorneys and a confidant of the former Republican president, was accused of defaming the employees by fraudulently claiming that they had committed fraud while counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta in 2020.

Plaintiff's Statements

In a Wednesday statement, one of the plaintiffs said they had endured a “living nightmare” and an unimaginable “wave of hatred and threats” because of Giuliani’s comments.

“Nothing can restore all we lost, but today’s ruling is yet another neutral finding that has confirmed what we have known all along: that there was never any truth to any of the accusations about us and that we did nothing wrong," the plaintiff said.

"We were smeared for purely political reasons, and the people responsible can and should be held accountable,” she added.

In addition to being one of 19 defendants accused this month in a racketeering case tied to plans to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, this judgment puts Giuliani in an even worse predicament.

The Judge's Take

Howell doubts Giuliani's assertions that he does not have the money to pay the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, because the former mayor recently put his Manhattan condominium up for sale for $6.5 million and was said to have gone to Atlanta in a private jet to turn himself in on criminal charges. He has entered a not guilty plea in that case.

“Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery in a straight-forward defamation case, with the concomitant necessity of repeated court intervention,” Howell wrote.

Based on Howell's assessment, the records Giuliani has given up amount to "a sliver of the financial documents required to be produced" and "a single page of communications, blobs of indecipherable data" beyond the original document output of 193 pages.

“Perhaps, he has made the calculation that his overall litigation risks are minimized by not complying with his discovery obligations in this case,” Howell said. “Whatever the reason, obligations are case specific and withholding required discovery in this case has consequences.”