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Giuliani faces jury trial to determine damages in defamation lawsuit by Georgia election workers

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Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, is set to face a jury trial to determine the amount of damages he must pay to two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss. The defamation lawsuit stems from false accusations made by Giuliani, as he propagated baseless election fraud claims on behalf of Donald Trump following the 2020 election.

Giuliani has already been found liable in the defamation case, wherein Freeman and Moss were subjected to threats and harassment due to a conspiracy theory endorsed by Trump and his allies. The trial’s sole focus is now on quantifying the damages Giuliani is obligated to pay, a process that will commence with jury selection in Washington’s federal court.

This legal battle adds to a series of challenges faced by Giuliani, once celebrated as “America’s mayor” post-9/11, who later emerged as a vocal proponent of Trump’s unfounded election narratives. Notably, Giuliani is also facing criminal charges in Georgia, accused alongside Trump and others of attempting to overturn the election results in the state. Maintaining his innocence, Giuliani insists he had the right to raise concerns about perceived election fraud.

In addition to legal woes, Giuliani was sued in September for allegedly only paying a fraction of approximately $1.6 million in legal fees related to investigations into his efforts to influence the election outcome. The presiding judge in the election workers’ lawsuit has previously ordered Giuliani and his business entities to pay substantial attorneys’ fees.

The origins of the case trace back to Giuliani and other Trump allies seizing on surveillance footage to propagate a debunked conspiracy theory involving fraudulent ballots. Despite Georgia election officials finding no irregularities in the ballot count, the false claims subjected Freeman and Moss to violent threats, with Freeman forced to flee her home for over two months.

During the trial, jurors will be reminded of Giuliani’s intentional failure to comply with legal obligations, as highlighted by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell. In her August decision holding Giuliani liable, Judge Howell emphasized his disregard for court orders and attempts to hide financial documents, indicating an intentional effort to deflate his net worth.

Giuliani conceded in July to making false public comments about Freeman and Moss committing fraud, asserting First Amendment protection for his statements while arguing against their defamatory nature. The trial’s outcome will provide clarity on the financial repercussions Giuliani will face for his role in spreading unfounded claims against the Georgia election workers.

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