Rudy Giuliani’s trial to determine damages in defamation case begins

WASHINGTON — A trial began Monday to determine how much Rudy Giuliani will have to pay after he admitted to falsely accusing two Georgia election workers of fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

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Jury selection began Monday in Washington D.C. Eight jurors have since been seated, with opening statements slated to begin later in the afternoon, according to The Guardian and Politico.

The trial is expected to run through at least Thursday, court records show.

In August, a federal judge ruled that the attorney and former New York City mayor defamed Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, and ordered him to pay tens of thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees. Earlier, he admitted to making false statements about the pair, who volunteered to count votes at State Farm Arena in Atlanta during the 2020 election, according to WSB-TV.

After Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, Giuliani accused Freeman and Moss of hiding illegal ballots in suitcases, counting ballots multiple times and barring access to poll watchers, among other things. During a hearing last year before the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the mother and daughter said they endured years of harassment due to Giuliani’s allegations, which were spread by former President Donald Trump.

“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation,” Freeman said during the hearing. “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?”

Court records show Freeman and Moss are expected to testify about threats and harm they suffered because of Giuliani’s false claims. Giuliani is also expected to testify and to talk about statements he made and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

Lawyers for Freeman and Moss have said they plan to ask for compensatory damages upward of $43 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. They also plan to ask for punitive damages “as a punishment for (Giuliani’s) outrageous conduct and to deter him and others from engaging in that kind of conduct,” attorneys said in court records.

Giuliani will argue that there was a minimal relationship between the harassment and other harms that Freeman and Moss endured after the 2020 presidential election and his comments about them, according to court records.

His trial comes as court proceedings continue in Georgia, where he and 18 others — including Trump — were indicted over the summer on allegations that they racketeered in order to keep the former president in power following his 2020 presidential election loss.

Giuliani, who headed the legal team for the Trump reelection campaign, has pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen charges stemming from the case.

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