Election worker suing Rudy Giuliani to testify Tuesday in defamation trial against him

A former Georgia election worker will testify Tuesday in a trial to determine how much Rudy Giuliani will have to pay her and her mother after he was found liable for defaming them with baseless claims that they committed fraud in the 2020 election.

Wandrea “Shaye” Moss will take the stand as the fourth plaintiffs’ witness in the case. She and her mother, Ruby Freeman, sued Giuliani over the bogus claims, which they say turned their lives upside down.

Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, former federal prosecutor and Donald Trump ally, was found to have defamed the two women, including by falsely claiming they were handing around what he alleged were USB drives “like they were vials of heroin or cocaine” while the vote count was being taken. But in reality, they were exchanging a ginger mint.

Attorneys for the election workers asked U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell on Monday night to block Giuliani from saying anything that would violate court orders after he again said his baseless claims of fraud were true following opening statements earlier in the day.

The judge in the case found Giuliani “civilly liable on plaintiffs’ defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and punitive damage claims” because of his “willful discovery misconduct” and his purposeful “shirking of his discovery obligations.”

Giuliani conceded in a court filing in July that he had made “false” statements about Freeman and Moss.

In opening statements Monday, one of Freeman and Moss’ attorneys, Michael Gottlieb, told jurors that Freeman and Moss received an “overwhelming” amount of “vile, racist, hateful comments” that were “fueled” by Giuliani and his co-conspirators. For a staggering number of Americans, their names have become synonymous with crime and fraud, Gottlieb said.

Von DuBose, Gottlieb’s co-counsel, said the pair will testify and “will explain as best they can what it’s like to have their lives hijacked in an instant, through no fault of their own.”  

In remarks to reporters outside the courthouse Monday, Giuliani said he did not regret his lies and claimed he “told the truth” about Freeman and Moss.

“When I testify, you’ll get the whole story, and it will be definitively clear what I said was true,” he said.

Giuliani’s comments contrast with those of his attorney Joseph Sibley, who said in opening remarks that there’s no question that Freeman and Moss were harmed and tare “good people,” but that the “punishment must match the crime.” He maintained that Giuliani never promoted racism or violence and that the millions of dollars Freeman and Moss are seeking would be the “civil equivalent of the death penalty.”

“It would be the end of Mr. Giuliani,” Sibley added.

The judge found Giuliani liable for damages this year after he repeatedly defied court orders to turn over evidence in the case to the pair.

“Just as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks — even potential criminal liability — bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions,” Howell ruled in August.

Eight jurors were selected Monday. Potential jurors were asked questions such as whether they believe Joe Biden’s election was illegitimate and whether they have ever used a slogan associated with QAnon conspiracy theorists.

Freeman and Moss’ lawyers have said their testimonies will discuss the “threats, harassment, and harm” they experienced as a result of the false claims. The mother and daughter “will explain as best they can what it’s like to have their lives hijacked in an instant, through no fault of their own,” DuBose told the jury.

The pair is seeking “a sum ranging from $15.5 million to $43 million, inclusive of special damages,” their lawyers wrote in a court filing. Freeman and Moss will “ask the jury to award compensatory damages for the severe emotional distress caused by Defendant Giuliani and his co-conspirators between 2020 through the present in an amount to be determined by the jury, including based on Plaintiffs’ mental pain and suffering, fear, inconvenience, nervousness, indignity, insult, humiliation, or embarrassment that Plaintiffs suffered directly because of Defendant Giuliani and his co-conspirators’ conduct,” they wrote.

Freeman and Moss will also ask the jury “to award punitive damages against Defendant Giuliani as a punishment for his outrageous conduct and to deter him and others from engaging in that kind of conduct, in an amount to be determined by the jury, including based on the relevant legal factors and adverse inferences entered in this case,” their attorneys said.

“The only issue remaining in this trial will be for a jury to determine how much Defendant Giuliani owes to Plaintiffs for the damage his conduct caused,” they wrote.

Giuliani will testify at trial, as well, Sibley told jurors.

Following opening statements, one witness, Regina Scott, a team leader and law enforcement expert at the global consulting company Jensen Hughes, was called for the plaintiffs’ side.

Scott discussed the contents of a report that summarized her organization’s findings on “safety concerns and negative information” in case of Freeman and Moss.

The report found 710,000 social media mentions of variations of Freeman’s and Moss’s names between Nov. 21, 2021 and May 1, 2023 across multiple platforms such as Reddit and Twitter, with overwhelmingly negative sentiments against the mother and daughter. There were also 318,000 mentions between May 1, 2023 and August 18, 2023, and 320,000 between August 18, 2023 and Nov. 22, 2023 — all trending negative in sentiment based on Jensen Hughes’ methods of tracking.

During questioning, DuBose asked Scott to read aloud some of the more sensitive posts, including the contents of a user-generated “wanted” poster with Freeman’s face on it. Scott said she was not used to seeing such “racist and graphic material,” especially in this volume. 

Sibley also questioned Scott on the integrity of the report’s creators. Asked if the firm is being paid for its services in creating the report, she said yes, but did not know the amount. Sibley then asked if they keep billing records and what her individual hourly rate is for the case. Scott said her hourly rate “varies” but that this case was billed based on time spent. Sibley also questioned whether the analysts evaluating the social media posts have special training, digging further to ask if they have college degrees and what those degrees are in.

Howell burst into laughter, asking Sibley, “Are you looking for resumes?” 

Sibley asked Scott how many of the thousands of posts that were found mentioned Giuliani by name, and whether particular news events could be responsible for the spikes in mention of Freeman and Moss.

When DuBose returned, he asked Scott whether, regardless of what she’s been paid, she would testify untruthfully — referring to Sibley’s earlier question, and she replied that she would not.

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