By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
A federal jury found Rudy Giuliani liable in the civil defamation case that election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss brought. The trial, presided over by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, centered around false claims Giuliani made about the two Georgia women in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
After four days of trial testimony, jurors deliberated, ultimately awarding Freeman and Moss $148.17 million in damages. The plaintiffs had initially sought at least $24 million each for Giuliani’s defamatory statements accusing them of election fraud.
Howell had previously ruled that Giuliani’s remarks were defamatory, setting the stage for the trial. Despite earlier indications that he would testify, Giuliani reversed course, opting not to take the stand. He had previously claimed that his testimony would “definitively clear” any doubts about the truthfulness of his statements.
In a written statement following the verdict, Giuliani referred to the awarded amount as an “absurdity” and expressed his intention to appeal the judgment. “The absurdity of the amount is indicative of the absurdity and unfairness of the entire proceeding,” Giuliani stated. “I wasn’t able to offer any evidence in my defense. We’ll have more to say and look forward to the appeal.”
Outside the courtroom, Freeman and Moss expressed gratitude for the jury’s decision, emphasizing the profound impact of Giuliani’s false claims on their lives. Moss highlighted the far-reaching consequences, stating that the lies “changed every aspect of our lives, our homes, our family, our work, our sense of safety, our mental health.”
“Our greatest wish is that no election worker ever experiences anything like what we went through,” Moss added.
Freeman echoed this sentiment, calling for accountability beyond Giuliani. She suggested that others who had spread false information about them should also be held responsible. “Today is not the end of the road,” Freeman stated. “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.”
The jury’s award to Freeman and Moss was broken down into three categories. Both plaintiffs received a total of $20 million each for emotional distress and a combined $75 million in punitive damages. Freeman was awarded $16,171,000 for defamation claims, while Moss received $16,998,000.