WASHINGTON — Rudy Giuliani is set to go to trial Monday to determine how much he will have to pay two former Georgia election workers whom he was found liable for defaming with baseless claims that they committed fraud in the 2020 election.
Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss sued Giuliani over his false claims against them. The former New York City mayor and former federal prosecutor was found to have defamed the duo, including by falsely claiming they were handing what he alleged were USB drives around “like they were vials of heroin or cocaine,” when in reality they were exchanging a ginger mint.
Freeman and Moss are expected to testify at the trial, which will begin with jury selection. Their lawyers have said they will discuss the “threats, harassment, and harm” they experienced as a result of the false claims against them.
“Plaintiffs will seek a sum ranging from $15.5 million to $43 million, inclusive of special damages,” their lawyers wrote. Freeman and Moss will “ask the jury to award compensatory damages for the severe emotional distress caused by Defendant Giuliani and his co-conspirators between 2020 through present in an amount to be determined by the jury, including based on Plaintiffs’ mental pain and suffering, fear, inconvenience, nervousness, indignity, insult, humiliation, or embarrassment that Plaintiffs suffered directly because of Defendant Giuliani and his co-conspirators’ conduct,” their attorneys wrote.
Freeman and Moss will also ask the jury “to award punitive damages against Defendant Giuliani as a punishment for his outrageous conduct and to deter him and others from engaging in that kind of conduct, in an amount to be determined by the jury, including based on the relevant legal factors and adverse inferences entered in this case,” their attorneys said.
“The only issue remaining in this trial will be for a jury to determine how much Defendant Giuliani owes to Plaintiffs for the damage his conduct caused,” they wrote.
The proceedings got off to a rough start last week after Giuliani missed a pre-trial hearing he was supposed to attend.
During the pre-trial hearing, U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell asked Giuliani attorney Joseph Sibley where his client was. Sibley replied that Giuliani was in New York, prompting Howell to remind him that her standing order instructed all counsel and parties to be present for the hearing.
“How could you have missed that? Or did you miss it?” Howell asked Sibley, saying it “sets the tone, doesn’t it, for the whole case.”
Sibley told Howell he misread the order and blamed himself for Giuliani’s absence. Asked by Howell whether he was “falling on his sword” for Giuliani, Sibley denied the notion.
“I should have been aware,” Sibley said. “It’s my fault.”
Howell later instructed Sibley to submit in writing that Giuliani won’t object to any decisions reached at the pretrial conference.
A day before Giuliani failed to show up to the pre-trial hearing, Howell slammed what she called a “nonsense” claim by Giuliani in recent court filings saying that damages should be made by a judge, not a jury.
In a filing, Howell said Giuliani has been on notice about the jury trial demand for nearly two full years.
“Giuliani’s position that the long-standing jury demand in this case was extinguished when he was found liable on plaintiffs’ claims by default, is wrong as a matter of law,” Howell wrote. One of Giuliani’s claims — which Howell dismissed as an attempt “to shift blame onto plaintiffs for any prejudice resulting from a potential conversion from a jury to a bench trial” — is “simply nonsense,” Howell wrote.
Howell had found that Giuliani is “civilly liable on plaintiffs’ defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and punitive damage claims” because of his “willful discovery misconduct” and his purposeful “shirking of his discovery obligations.”
Giuliani conceded in a court filing in July that he had made “false” statements about Freeman and Moss.
“Defendant Giuliani, for the purposes of litigation only, does not contest that, to the extent the statements were statements of fact and other wise actionable, such actionable factual statements were false,” Giuliani wrote in a signed stipulation, which he said was intended to “avoid unnecessary expenses in litigating what he believes to be unnecessary disputes.”
In emotional testimony last year, Freeman and Moss told the House Jan. 6 committee that they have been targeted and harassed relentlessly after Giuliani, then-President Donald trump and conspiracy theorists baselessly claim they committed fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
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