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Giuliani appeals $148M defamation verdict in Georgia election workers’ lawsuit

Giuliani appeals $148M defamation verdict in Georgia election workers’ lawsuit

Rudy Giuliani appealed a jury’s verdict ordering him to pay $148 million to two Georgia election workers for defaming them following the 2020 election.

Giuliani filed for bankruptcy days after the verdict was handed down in December, freezing the election workers’ case and their efforts to collect the staggering sum from the former New York City mayor, who once represented former President Trump as his personal attorney.

Hours after his bankruptcy judge unfroze the defamation case and enabled Giuliani’s attorney to continue representing him, he formally filed his notice of appeal late Tuesday.

“We very much appreciate the judge’s expeditious consideration of this matter and look forward to proceeding accordingly,” Ted Goodman, political adviser to Giuliani, said in a statement earlier in the day after the bankruptcy judge’s ruling.

A jury comprising eight Washington, D.C., residents ordered Giuliani to pay $148 million to the two election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, after making them a focal point of the Trump campaign’s baseless claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Giuliani spread falsehoods that the mother-daughter duo engaged in mass voter fraud, accusations that largely revolved around video footage showing them working at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on election night.

The verdict followed a four-day trial at which both Freeman and Moss testified, telling the jurors at length about how their lives were turned upside down as they faced a torrent of racist and violent threats following the accusations from Giuliani and other Trump allies.

“We’re confident Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss’s verdict will not be overturned,” Freeman and Moss’s lawyers said in a statement.

Giuliani also renewed his motion for judgment as a matter of law Tuesday to the judge who oversaw the recent trial, insisting the statements in question were protected opinion under the First Amendment and weren’t made with actual malice.

The judge previously rejected those assertions as well as Giuliani’s argument that the election workers’ expert’s testimony was inadmissible.

“The Court should have stricken the testimony and instructed the jury to disregard it. Based on this error, the jury returned an exorbitant damages award for reputation injury based on expert testimony that should not have been admitted,” Joseph Sibley, Giuliani’s attorney, wrote in court filings.

Alternatively, Sibley asked that his client be given a new trial.

Prior to the trial, Giuliani was found liable by default in the case for failing to turn over discovery. The jury merely decided how much he must pay.

“The absurdity of the number really underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding,” Giuliani said after the verdict was handed down, also doubling down on his baseless claims about the two women.

It remains unclear how much money the mother-daughter duo would be able to recover from Giuliani, even if his appeal fails.

Freeman and Moss have the largest claim among a notable list of creditors in the ex-Trump attorney’s ongoing bankruptcy case.

The other creditors are largely other people and companies that have sued Giuliani. The list includes Hunter Biden, the president’s son; voting equipment companies Smartmatic and Dominion; and Giuliani’s ex-lawyers, who are suing him over unpaid legal bills.

Giuliani’s appeal Tuesday came after his bankruptcy judge approved a plan for Sibley to be paid in his continued representation of the former New York City mayor.

In a sworn declaration, Sibley said he agreed to be paid a flat rate of $50,000 from two third-party funds supporting Giuliani’s legal battles to handle the appeal. Giuliani himself is prohibited from coughing up the funds in order to preserve his assets for the election workers and the other creditors.

Updated at 3:59 pm.

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