Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election, inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Giuliani Ordered to Pay $148 Million to Defamed Georgia Election Workers

"Today's verdict not only vindicates Freeman and Moss but also serves as a reminder that we must protect the unsung heroes of democracy—our dedicated poll workers," said the head of one watchdog.

A Washington, D.C. jury on Friday ordered Rudy Giuliani to pay $148 million for falsely accusing two former Georgia election workers of engaging in a non-existent conspiracy to "steal" the 2020 U.S. presidential election from then-President Donald Trump.

After deliberating for roughly 10 hours over two days, the jury sided with Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, whom the former New York City mayor and Trump attorney accused of taking part in a fake ballot harvesting scheme while they worked as election officials in Fulton County, Georgia.

Giuliani accused the women of "surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine" while they tallied ballots. In reality, the surveillance footage reviewed by Giuliani that informed his baseless claim showed Freeman handing Moss a ginger mint.

In August, Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found Giuliani liable for defaming Freeman and Moss, and tasked a jury with determining monetary damages for the women, who endured death threats and harassment from Trump supporters.

"Today's a good day," Freeman said outside the courthouse after the decision was announced, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "A jury stood witness to what Rudy Giuliani did to me and my daughter, and held him accountable."

"I can never move back into the house that I called home. I will always have to be careful about where I go and who I choose to share my name with," Freeman continued. "I miss my home. I miss my neighbors. And I miss my name."

"Rudy Giuliani was not the only one who spread lies about us, and others must be held accountable, too," she added. "But that is tomorrow's work."

Moss said, "We hope no one ever has to fight so hard just to get your name back."

Christina Harvey, executive director at the government corruption watchdog Stand Up America, said that "today's verdict not only vindicates Freeman and Moss but also serves as a reminder that we must protect the unsung heroes of democracy—our dedicated poll workers."

"Sadly, 1 in 6 local election workers has faced threats while carrying out their duties, reflecting the country's increasingly hostile political landscape," Harvey added. "Working the polls shouldn't mean putting your safety or reputation at risk. Congress should do more to protect poll workers, and that starts with including robust election infrastructure funding in the upcoming appropriations package."

Giuliani vowed to appeal the decision.

"The absurdity of the number merely underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding, where I've not been allowed to offer one single piece of evidence in defense, which I have a lot," he said outside the courthouse. "I am quite confident when this case gets before a fair tribunal, it'll be reversed so quickly it will make your head spin."

Giuliani, Trump—who is the GOP's 2024 presidential front-runner—and others face felony criminal charges in Fulton County for trying to steal the 2020 presidential election.

In July, an attorney discipline panel ruled that Giuliani has "forfeited his right to practice law" and should be disbarred in Washington, D.C. for leading Trump's legal team as it tried to overturn the election results.

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