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Rudy Giuliani is liable for defaming 2 Georgia election workers, a judge says

Rudy Giuliani speaks outside the Fulton County jail in Atlanta on Aug. 23, before he surrendered on 13 felony charges related to efforts to try to overturn the 2020 election.
Brynn Anderson
/
AP
Rudy Giuliani speaks outside the Fulton County jail in Atlanta on Aug. 23, before he surrendered on 13 felony charges related to efforts to try to overturn the 2020 election.

Updated August 30, 2023 at 1:15 PM ET

Rudy Giuliani is liable for defaming two Georgia election workers by repeatedly claiming the women were manipulating 2020 ballots, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, a nominee of former President Barack Obama, issued a "default judgment" against Giuliani, writing in an opinionWednesday that he "has refused to comply with his discovery obligations and thwarted plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ['Shaye'] Moss's procedural rights to obtain any meaningful discovery in this case."

The decision means Giuliani is liable for "defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and punitive damage claims," and a trial will be held to decide how much he may need to pay Freeman and Moss.

Freeman and Moss, a mother and daughter, sued Giuliani back in 2021 for unspecified damages.

Giuliani had targeted the two women as President Donald Trump and his allies spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. As part of the campaign in Georgia, Giuliani, Trump and others made Moss and Freeman the targets of debunked fraud claims.

One of Giuliani's false accusations included a claim that Moss handed her mother a thumb drive "like they were vials of heroin or cocaine" as the two worked at the State Farm Arena for the Fulton County Board of Elections in 2020. In reality, Moss has said her mother had just handed her a ginger mint.

Last month, Giuliani conceded in a court filingin this case that he did make false statements about the two women.

Giuliani surrendered a week ago in Fulton County, where he faces 13 felony counts as part of the sweeping racketeering indictment there.

The former federal prosecutor and New York City mayor has called the indictment "an affront to American Democracy."

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