In a landmark ruling, a federal jury in Washington, D.C., has directed Rudy Giuliani, former attorney to ex-President Donald Trump, to pay nearly $150 million in damages to Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss. The two Georgia election workers were defamed by Giuliani in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential elections.
Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court in Washington had already established that Giuliani had committed defamation against the plaintiffs. The verdict was finalized on Friday by an eight-person jury that distinctly apportioned the compensation.
Ruby Freeman was awarded a sum of over $36 million – $16,171,000 for defamation and $20 million for emotional distress. Her daughter, Shaye Moss was allocated slightly more for defamation at $16,998,000 and an equal amount for emotional distress. The jury further ordered the payment of $75 million in punitive damages to both plaintiffs.
Commentators, including CNN, noted that Judge Howell was visibly surprised by the large sum of the compensation. Nevertheless, Giuliani remained unrepentant, both inside the courtroom and in the public sphere. Speaking to the media, he adamantly defended his actions, expressing no regrets and signaling his intentions to appeal. He openly questioned the ruling, branding it as “absurd” on his online platforms.
Does this liberal judge need to be investigated for ABUSE of power?
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell is the Democrat Soros & Obama appointed judge that decided Rudy Giuliani was guilty. The guilty verdict was decided by her and her alone, not by a jury. This is the judge with a… pic.twitter.com/u4w0NTXlIr
— Giordano Bruno (@GioBruno1600) December 17, 2023
Elie Honig, a legal analyst, posited that the substantial figure might be a potent message to Giuliani and the public. Honig said, “When we think about an extraordinarily powerful, remorseless liar like Rudy Giuliani, compared to these women or civil servants, they never signed up for this. Their lives were turned over and I think that’s why you see such a high number here from the jury.”
A sense of justice and resolve pervaded the words of the triumphant plaintiffs, who gave statements after the verdict. Freeman expressed solace in the jury’s discernment of the impact Giuliani’s actions had on them. However, she viewed the victory as only part of a larger battle, asserting that others who propagated misinformation about them should also face accountability.
Moreover, her daughter, Shaye Moss, revealed how the ordeal caused by Giuliani’s false allegations had upturned every facet of their lives. She noted with a hint of regret that unlike her grandmother, she won’t be able to retire peacefully from her county job. Despite this, she expressed hope that their significant stride towards justice would fill her grandmother with pride.
Guiliani’s unprecedented condemnation casts a revealing light on the ongoing issue of election misinformation and its potential consequences. The monumental amount awarded to the plaintiffs not only serves as a stern warning but is also a tangible instance of justice being served to those who have suffered at the hands of defamatory falsehoods.
In the wake of the ruling, it remains to be seen how Guiliani navigates this setback, his intended appeal, and the wider implications on discussions surrounding election integrity.
Meanwhile, the tenacity and resilience shown by Freeman and Moss offer an important lesson for civil servants and citizens alike, affirming that truth can indeed hold sway in the face of powerful adversaries.
Enduring character, it seems, truly is the ultimate victor — an encouraging reminder that despite the tumult and turmoil of politics, the democratic process retains its capacity for justice.