Georgia election workers' defamation suit against Giuliani goes to trial
Giuliani is accused of targeting election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
Ruby Freeman and Wandrea "Shaye" Moss described living in a perpetual state of fear after Rudy Giuliani targeted the two Georgia election workers with conspiracy-fueled lies in the wake of the 2020 election.
This week, a jury will tally the cost of those lies when Freeman and Moss' defamation suit against Giuliani goes to trial in Washington, D.C.
A federal judge has already found the former New York City mayor liable for defamatory comments he made about the mother and daughter. The trial, slated to begin Monday, will determine the full scope of the damages and any penalties he will have to pay. Freeman and Moss are seeking between $15.5 million and $43 million.
"While nothing will fully repair all of the damage that Giuliani and his allies wreaked on our clients' lives, livelihoods, and security, they are eager and ready for their day in court, to continue their fight for accountability and amends," attorneys for the two women said in a statement ahead of the trial.
Giuliani, acting on behalf of former President Donald Trump, engaged in a sprawling misinformation campaign in late 2020 and early 2021 after Joe Biden secured the presidency, hopscotching across the country in search of evidence that the election was rigged.
He never found it. But in the process, his unfounded claims about Freeman and Moss -- that they had manipulated ballots in Fulton County, Georgia -- prompted a deluge of threats that ultimately drove Freeman from her home.
"I don't want to have to leave my home," Freeman told ABC News' Terry Moran in an exclusive interview last year. "I don't want this, but I have no choice. Because of what? The 'Big Lie.'"
The so-called "Big Lie" -- the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen -- remains a centerpiece of Trump's campaign to retake the White House in 2024.
During some of the most stirring testimony of last year's House Jan. 6 select committee hearings on Capitol Hill, Freeman and Moss described how Trump and Trump-aligned media outlets unleashed a torrent of accusations against the mother and daughter, falsely claiming they had engaged in election fraud.
During an appearance before the Georgia state legislature a month after the election, Giuliani told lawmakers that a video circulating online showed "Ruby Freeman and Shaye Freeman Moss ... quite obviously surreptitiously passing around USB ports, as if they're vials of heroin or cocaine."
Freeman later said the video showed her handing ginger mint candies to Moss, who was experiencing stomach pain at the time. In the ensuing months, the women faced accusations online, by phone, and in person.
"I just got so sad," Freeman told ABC News last year. "How dare you compare us to drug dealers? Oh, I was done."
Giuliani has said that, while he "does not contest the factual allegations" made by Freeman and Moss regarding his statements, the statements themselves were constitutionally protected."
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who will oversee the trial, has already levied harsh sanctions against Giuliani over his failure to comply with discovery requests, awarding Freeman and Moss more than $230,000.
According to Freeman and Moss' legal team, the range of $15.5 million to $43 million cited in court papers includes costs associated with Moss' loss of work and her "need to secure and relocate from her home."
Attorneys for Moss and Freeman said they expect their case to last two to three days, and they held out the possibility of calling Giuliani to the witness stand.
They also indicated in court papers that in order to help argue their case, they were planning to present physical evidence: a ginger mint.
ABC News Live
24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events