Jury Slaps Rudy Giuliani With $148 Million In Damages For Defamation Against 2020 Election Workers – Deadline

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A federal jury Friday awarded two Georgia election workers a total of $148 million in their defamation case against Rudy Giuliani, as they said they were subject to harassment and death threats over false claims that they were involved in rigging the state’s results in the 2020 presidential election.

The election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, sued Giuliani over the statements. The trial was largely to determine damages. They had previously testified before the January 6th Committee about the threats that they faced.

CNN and MSNBC went to breaking news of the huge verdict, while Fox News initially stuck with Neil Cavuto’s interview with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who has endorsed Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential race. Cavuto went to the story once that interview wrapped up.

The verdict was well above the $48 million in damages sought by by Freeman and Moss. The jury awarded Freeman $16.2 million for defamation, $17 million to Moss for defamation and $20 million each for emotional distress. They also awarded $75 million in punitive damages.

“The absurdity of the number really underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding,” Giuliani told reporters outside the courthouse. “I have not been allowed to offer one single piece of evidence in defense, which I have a lot. So I am quite confident when this case gets before a fair tribunal, it will be reversed so quickly that it will make your head spin.”

Giuliani said that he did not testify in the trial “because the judge made it clear that if I made any mistake or did anything wrong she would consider it in contempt. The judge does have a reputation for putting people in jail and I thought, honestly, it wouldn’t do any good.”

Giuliani does not have such sums, his attorney argued during the trial, per CNN, as he called the verdict sought “the civil equivalent of the death penalty.”

Later, Freeman and Moss gave short statements to reporters after the verdict.

“Our greatest wish is that no one, no election worker or voter or school board member or anyone else whoever experiences anything like what we went through,” Moss said. “You all matter, and you are all important. We hope no one ever has to fight so hard to get your name back.”

Freeman said, “I want people to understand this: Money will never solve all my problems. 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. I miss my home, and I miss my neighbors, and I miss my name.”

In August, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell found Giuliani liable for defaming Freeman and Moss, and ordered a trial on damages.

Herring Networks, the parent company of One America News Network, was named as another defendant in the defamation case, but reached a settlement with Freeman and Moss last year. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Following the settlement, OAN tweeted out a clip from a broadcast in which the network said that Georgia officials “have concluded that there was no widespread voter fraud by election workers who counted ballots at the State Farm Arena in November 2020. The results of this investigation indicate that Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss did not engage in ballot fraud or criminal misconduct while working at State Farm Arena on election night.”

The trial was the latest defamation case over the claims made by Donald Trump and his allies that the election was rigged. In April, Fox News and Fox Corp. agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems, which sued the network over election-rigging claims amplified by its on-air personalities and guests. Another elections systems company, Smartmatic, also has litigation against Fox, with the case currently in the discovery phase.

Dominion and Smartmatic also have claims against Giuliani and another attorney, Sidney Powell, who were frequent guests on right-leaning outlets in the aftermath of the 2020 campaign.

Giuliani had accused Moss of handing Freeman a USB drive full of votes, citing security camera footage of the vote counting. In a video shown to the committee, Giuliani claimed that the drives were passed around like “vials of heroin or cocaine.” But at a January 6th Committee hearing last year, Moss said that the object was a ginger mint.

Moss said that she received death threats and racist messages, including one who told that she should be glad it was 2020 and “not 1920,” a period when lynching was rampant. She said that a lot of the messages “were racist, a lot of them were just hateful.”

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