Judge orders a trial on the amount of damages take place some time between November 2023 and February 2024
Washington, D.C. — Today, Federal Judge Beryl Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion and order entering default judgment against Rudolph W. Giuliani, holding him liable for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy to defame and inflict emotional distress on Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea’ ArShaye (“Shaye”) Moss.
In a sweeping victory for Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, the Court pierced through Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to evade discovery in their case while “[d]onning a cloak of victimization.” “[H]is goal [was] to bypass the discovery process and a merits trial — at which his defenses may be fully scrutinized and tested in our judicial system’s time-honored adversarial process — and to delay such a fair reckoning by taking his chances on appeal, based on the abbreviated record he forced on plaintiffs.” But “just as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks — even potential criminal liability — bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions, no matter what reservations a noncompliant party may try artificially to preserve for appeal.” To correct for Mr. Giuliani’s “willful discovery misconduct,” the Court entered default judgment for Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss on all matters of liability, and held that punitive damages are available. The Court directed the parties to provide three windows for a limited trial on the only remaining issue — the amount of damages — to take place between November 2023 and February 2024.
Ms. Moss and Ms. Freeman filed suit in December 2021 against Mr. Giuliani for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy arising from statements he made to intentionally undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. Protect Democracy, through its Law for Truth project, represents Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss in the case against Mr. Giuliani, in partnership with the law firms Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and DuBose Miller LLC. The Law for Truth project works to stop those who intentionally and recklessly spread false information that undermines our democracy through strategic litigation, issue-focused advocacy, and public education.
In response to today’s ruling, below is a statement from Ruby Freeman and Wandrea’ ArShaye (“Shaye”) Moss:
“What we went through after the 2020 election was a living nightmare. Rudy Giuliani helped unleash a wave of hatred and threats we never could have imagined. It cost us our sense of security and our freedom to go about our lives. Nothing can restore all we lost, but today’s ruling is yet another neutral finding that has confirmed what we have known all along: that there was never any truth to any of the accusations about us and that we did nothing wrong. We were smeared for purely political reasons, and the people responsible can and should be held accountable. Throughout all of this, we have kept the faith, secure in the knowledge that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. But faith without works is dead. That is why we did not lie down and go away in 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2023, but instead stood up and are still working to see justice done. The fight to rebuild our reputations and to repair the damage to our lives is not over. But today we’re one step closer, and for that we are grateful.”
More information about this litigation can be found here.
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