Rudy Giuliani is liable for defamation
Rudy Giuliani is liable for defamation, after he spread false allegations about election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss.
What was the allegation?
The original allegations were made by an anonymised individual. They complained to the Secretary of State Office that Ms Freeman and Ms Moss had committed election fraud by pulling illegal ballots and scanning ballot boxes multiple times. The individual provided pictures from Ms Freeman’s Instagram account showing the alleged illicit activities. Additionally, social media posts purportedly made by Ms Freeman indicated that she had intentionally committed said election fraud, with one post. It read: “Thank God my baby had a plan and today we put that plan in action after those Trump supporting and Fox News thought they won”.
Mr Giuliani publicly supported and spread these allegations. Ms Freeman and Ms Moss argued that, following the amplification of false allegations by Mr Giuliani, they had been harassed and received death threats. This led to them filing a defamation claim against him.
Following the initial complaint, the Secretary of State Office initiated an investigation into the allegations. First, the investigation cleared the Claimants of any wrong doing. Second, it found that the social media posts were made from a fake account which had posed as belonging to Ms Freeman. Third, although the Instagram photographs were real, they were decontextualised and the unlawful activities they purported to show were misleading and incorrect.
Mr Giuliani’s allegations were, therefore, proven to be baseless following the investigation. On 25 July 2023, Mr Giuliani entered a nolo contendere plea, as he no longer wished to contest the claim. As such, Mr Giuliani is now liable for defaming the Claimants.
Following Mr Giuliani’s plea, the factual elements of the claim are no longer disputed. However, a trial listed for July 2025 will allow a jury to determine the extent of damages that Mr Giuliani must pay to compensate the Claimants.
The Discovery Process
The Claimants however also argued that Mr Giuliani should be sanctioned for failing to properly comply with the discovery process (the disclosing of relevant material) throughout the claim. Judge Howell agreed and determined through default judgment that Mr Giuliani should be sanctioned, in accordance with Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Consequently, she ordered Mr Giuliani to pay the Claimants’ legal costs, totalling $89,172.50 plus any interest accrued from 25 July 2023 (the date of Mr Giuliani’s nolo contendere plea).
Judge Howell was damning in her opinion of Mr Giuliani’s conduct throughout the claim. For example, she proposed that his lack of co-operation with the discovery process may have been prompted by a fear that disclosing evidence could impact his numerous other lawsuits. In fact, she dismissed the relevance of this fear. Judge Howell commented that “obligations are case specific and withholding required discovery in this case has consequences”. She also likened his plea to having “more holes than Swiss cheese”.
Rudy Giuliani faces multiple legal actions
Mr Giuliani is confronting multiple legal actions following the 2020 election. As a result, he is facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills and sanctions. This recent judgment will only add to his pile. In addition to former President Donald Trump also facing criminal conspiracy charges, and following the recent $787 million Fox News settlement. In other words, the dramatic fallout of the 2020 election continues.
For more information:
For more information on defamation in the UK see our DEFAMATION section on Taylor Hampton Solicitors’ website or call us on 0207 427 5970