A federal judge on Wednesday found that Rudy Giuliani defamed former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, and is liable for damages after he failed to comply with discovery obligations in their lawsuit over baseless claims of fraud that he said they committed during the 2020 election.
A civil trial will be held to determine the amount of damages.
“The bottom line is that Giuliani has refused to comply with his discovery obligations and thwarted plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ArShaye Moss’s procedural rights to obtain any meaningful discovery in this case,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wrote in a lengthy opinion.
“Just as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks — even potential criminal liability — bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions, no matter what reservations a noncompliant party may try artificially to preserve for appeal,” she added.
Ted Goodman, political adviser to Giuliani, said his client has been “wrongly accused” in a statement.
“This 57 page opinion on discovery — which would usually be no more than two or three pages — is a prime example of the weaponization of the justice system, where the process is the punishment,” he said. “This decision should be reversed, as Mayor Giuliani is wrongly accused of not preserving electronic evidence that was seized and held by the FBI.”
Counsel for Freeman and Moss did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Giuliani conceded in a court filing last month that he made “false” statements about Freeman and Moss.
“Defendant Giuliani, for the purposes of litigation only, does not contest that, to the extent the statements were statements of fact and other wise actionable, such actionable factual statements were false,” Giuliani wrote in a signed stipulation that he said was intended to “avoid unnecessary expenses in litigating what he believes to be unnecessary disputes.”
Freeman and Moss, have said their lives were turned upside down when conspiracy theorists, as well as then-President Donald Trump and his then-lawyer Giuliani, claimed they had committed election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. A heavily edited, brief clip of security footage was widely circulated online and by Trump allies as supposed proof.
Giuliani had claimed that Freeman and Moss were “passing around USB ports like they were vials of heroin or cocaine.” In reality, as reflected in the Jan. 6 committee report, they were passing a ginger mint.