Judge orders Rudy Giuliani to start paying Georgia election workers $146 million

Former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss can immediately seek enforcement of their $146 million financial judgment against Rudy Giuliani because there is good reason to assume he will not comply, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

“Giuliani’s failure to ‘satisfy even more modest monetary awards entered earlier in this case,’ provides good cause to believe that he will seek to dissipate or conceal his assets during the 30-day period,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wrote in her order.

The decision allows Freeman and Moss to go after Giuliani’s assets in New York and Florida.

An eight-person jury in Washington, D.C., awarded Freeman and Moss over $148 million in damages last week after the judge found Giuliani liable for repeatedly defaming them by falsely accusing them of carrying out election fraud in Georgia during the 2020 presidential election. In her order Wednesday, Howell reduced the verdict by roughly $2 million to reflect damages the pair were paid in a settlement last year with the other defendant in the case, the TV network OAN.

Giuliani had argued that Howell should not “abnormally shorten” the automatic 30-day stay after the verdict, but she wrote that under the circumstances of the case, “there is nothing ‘abnormal’ about plaintiffs’ request” and it was “appropriate and warranted” given Giuliani’s behavior in the case.

Howell found Giuliani liable as a punishment for repeatedly snubbing court orders requiring him to turn over evidence — including evidence about his finances — to Freeman and Moss. He also ignored orders that he pay their attorneys over $200,000 in legal fees for trying to enforce the orders.

“Giuliani cannot and does not dispute that he has continued to disregard the Court’s orders directing payment of plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and costs in connection with plaintiffs’ successful discovery motions,” Howell wrote.

She also cited Freeman and Moss’ concerns that “Giuliani has numerous and mounting debts” but indicated she was skeptical that he is as broke as he has portrayed himself to be because of his “persistent refusal” to turn over his financial information.

“Such claims of Giuliani’s ‘financial difficulties’—no matter how many times repeated or publicly disseminated and duly reported in the media—are difficult to square with the fact that Giuliani affords a spokesperson, who accompanied him daily to trial,” Howell noted, and “Giuliani has failed to show that he cannot pay the [amount] he owes.”

Giuliani’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

Giuliani has called the size of the verdict “absurd.”

In her order Wednesday, Howell wrote that she did not consider the amount excessive.

“The amount of compensatory damages for defamation awarded by the jury was nearly $10,000,000 less than the amount requested by plaintiffs for reputational harm,” she noted, while also pointing out the jury’s $75 million award for punitive damages was much less than it could have been.

It was roughly the same total amount the pair had been awarded for reputational and emotional harm, and the jury had been instructed that it could multiply that amount by four if it thought it was necessary, Howell pointed out.

Giuliani still can appeal the judgment but would need to post a bond of the full amount owed to Freeman and Moss — $146 million. If he cannot put up a bond of that amount, he would have to persuade Howell to waive or lower the bond.

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