Defamation of election workers: Trump’s ex-lawyer Giuliani fined millions

Former US President Donald Trump’s former private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has been sentenced to damages and fines totaling more than $148 million (136 million euros) for defaming two election workers. A jury in Washington sentenced Giuliani on Friday to pay the two women around $37 million each for defamation and psychological consequences. There is also a fine of $75 million. Giuliani announced an appeal.

The former New York mayor was found guilty by a federal judge in August of defamation against 64-year-old Ruby Freeman and her 39-year-old daughter Wandrea Moss. Both worked at a polling station in the state of Georgia during the 2020 US presidential election.

Shortly after the election, Giuliani released a video of the two poll workers counting votes, in which he falsely accused them of voter fraud and made other unsubstantiated claims about them.

After Giuliani’s sentence was announced, Moss said the past few years had been “devastating” for her and her family. Giuliani’s “lies” had consequences “for our lives, our homes, our families, our work, our sense of security, our mental health.” During the trial, African-American women Freeman and Moss testified that Giuliani’s false accusations also made them the target of racist attacks.

Giuliani, however, called the verdict “absurd” and was confident that his announced appeal would be successful. If the case comes “before a fair court,” the verdict will be overturned, he told reporters.

The former New York mayor also seemed to stick to his allegations against the two women. He has “no doubt” that his statements about the two election workers “were valid and are valid today”. He just hasn’t had the opportunity to present his evidence yet.

After Trump’s election defeat against Democrat Joe Biden, Giuliani was a central figure in the elected incumbent’s attempts to overturn the election outcome using baseless allegations of fraud and thus stay in office.

Meanwhile, Giuliani has a whole series of legal problems. He was indicted along with Trump in a criminal case in Atlanta, Georgia, on allegations of election manipulation. Giuliani’s law license was suspended in New York and Washington because of his false election claims.

In earlier times, the Republican was highly regarded across party lines. Because of his calm reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York, the then mayor of the East Coast metropolis was celebrated as “America’s Mayor”. Giuliani later became Trump’s loyal companion – and has since become an attractive figure for Trump’s opponents.