A federal judge appointed during the Obama administration has made a verdict stating that Rudy Giuliani is accountable for defaming two Georgia election workers.
On a recent Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell sided with the two Georgia election workers who had filed a lawsuit against Giuliani in 2021, alleging that he had falsely accused them of fraud.
Howell issued a default judgment against Giuliani, holding the former mayor of New York City responsible for defamation, civil conspiracy, and emotional distress.
This decision was made after Giuliani declined to meet his obligations related to providing requested discovery evidence.
Giuliani had been accused of not properly maintaining electronic records that were sought by the legal representatives of the election workers, namely Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
“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.
“Perhaps, he has made the calculation that his overall litigation risks are minimized by not complying with his discovery obligations in this case,” Howell continued.
“Whatever the reason, obligations are case specific, and withholding required discovery in this case has consequences.”
Giuliani will also be required to produce records relating to revenue generated by his podcast, Common Sense, and previously requested financial documents by September 20.
“[J]ust as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks — even potential criminal liability — bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions,” Howell wrote.
Giuliani cited the FBI’s confiscation of his electronic devices as a justification for his inability to retain and furnish the necessary information.
He highlighted that the expense of approximately $320,000 would be required to engage a vendor to access the stored records, as outlined in court documents.
Ted Goodman, a political consultant for Giuliani, remarked that the judgment “illustrates the manipulation of our legal system, where the procedure itself becomes the penalty,” according to a statement given to the Associated Press.
“This decision should be reversed, as Mayor Giuliani is wrongly accused of not preserving electronic evidence that was seized and held by the FBI,” Goodman said, according to AP.
Giuliani acknowledged the falsehood of the assertions he directed towards Freeman and Moss in a court filing made in July.
Nonetheless, he pointed out that this does not undermine his contention that the statements are shielded by constitutional protection.
Additionally, Giuliani is among the 19 co-defendants charged in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ legal action against President Donald Trump for purported attempts to disrupt the 2020 Georgia election.
As a former attorney for Trump, Giuliani is part of a group of allies of the 45th president who are also confronting legal action initiated by Democratic prosecutors.