Following a week-long trial, a federal jury has ordered former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to pay nearly $150 million to former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea "Shaye" Moss for defaming them with false accusations that the mother and daughter committed election fraud while the two were counting ballots in Georgia's Fulton County on Election Day in 2020.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in August awarded a default judgment to the two women, leaving the trial to determine the full scope of the damages and penalties. Freeman and Moss were seeking between $15.5 million and an amount in the $40 million range.
- Jury awards Freeman, Moss $75 million apiece
- Freeman, Moss entitled to $24M each, attorney argues
- Giuliani won't testify, attorney says
- Freeman tearfully testifies she left her home due to threats
- Fixing plaintiffs' reputations will cost up to $47M, says expert
- Moss, through tears, describes life after Giuliani's accusations
- Georgia investigators dispel election fraud claims
- Judge blasts Giuliani for 'additional defamatory' remarks
- Expert describes racist content 'on a level we don't see'
Freeman, though thankful, says 'money won't solve all my problems'
Former election worker Ruby Freeman told reporters that "today is a good day," but cautioned that "money will never solve all of my problems" after Rudy Giuliani targeted her and her daughter with defamatory statements.
"I will always have to be careful about where I go and who I will be able to share my name with," Freeman said of her need to remain anonymous due to the fear of threats. "I miss my name."
"A jury stood witness to what Rudy Giuliani did to me and my daughter … for that I am thankful," said Freeman. But, she said, "I want people to understand this: Money will never solve all of my problems."
Freeman's daughter, Shaye Moss, said that "the flame Giuliani lit with those lies … changed every aspect of our lives."
"We hope no one ever has to fight so hard just to get your name back," Moss said.
"Our greatest wish is that no one … ever experiences anything like what we went through" Moss added.
Giuliani says he couldn't 'present evidence,' will appeal decision
Speaking to reporters outside court, Rudy Giuliani said he didn't have "an opportunity to present evidence" and that he plans to appeal the decision.
"Obviously we will move for a new trial, we will certainly appeal," Giuliani said.
When asked by reporters why he didn't testify, Giuliani said he believed the judge was threatening him with contempt.
"I didn't testify because the judge made it clear that if I made any mistake or did anything wrong, she was considering contempt," Giuliani said.
"I have no doubt that my comments were made and they were supportable and supportable today. I just did not have an opportunity to present the evidence that we offered," he said.
Judge Beryl Howell on Tuesday admonished Giuliani for making "additional defamatory comments" about Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss late Monday when he told ABC News' Terry Moran that he stands by his statements that the two women "were engaged in changing votes."
Those comments "could support another defamation claim," Howell told Giuliani, who subsequently elected not to testify in the case.
Giuliani shows no emotion when award is read
As a juror read that Rudy Giuliani will have to pay nearly $150 million in defamation damages, he showed no emotion.
Giuliani looked at the jurors while the verdict was being read and then turned his attention to his tablet.
On the other side of the courtroom, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss sighed heavily and shared a smile with their attorneys.
Award includes emotional distress, punitive damages
The jury awarded Ruby Freeman $16,171,000 and Shaye Moss $16,998,000.
In addition, jurors awarded each of the woman $20 million for emotional distress.
Finally, they awarded them a total of $75 million in punitive damages, for a total award of nearly $150 million.
The amount is approximately three times the $48 million the plaintiffs were seeking.