Giuliani's Statements Turned Against Him in Defamation Trial of Election Workers

Rudy Giuliani continuously pledged that he would utilize his defamation trial to clarify why he falsely alleged that two Georgia poll workers assisted in stealing the 2020 election. However, he remained silent in court. Nevertheless, jurors still heard the words of the former personal attorney for Donald Trump, ranging from the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to as recent as this week. "Never target someone smaller than you. Never be a bully," stated Michael Gottlieb, an attorney for the plaintiffs, quoting from a memoir written by the former New York mayor after the World Trade Center attacks. It is a lesson Giuliani claimed to have learned from his father. "These are wise words," Gottlieb remarked. "If only Mr. Giuliani had heeded them." Instead, Gottlieb asserted that Giuliani continued to fabricate stories about Ruby Freeman and Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, mother and daughter election workers who testified that they faced an onslaught of vicious threats and racist insults after he falsely accused them of aiding in faking the Georgia election results to the detriment of Republican incumbent Trump. Gottlieb delivered a closing statement on Thursday after Giuliani, who had previously expressed his intention to testify in his defamation damages trial, declined to take the stand. Outside of court on Monday, Giuliani told reporters that "everything I said about them is true." He had agreed before the trial not to contest that his claims about the two women were false; Judge Beryl A. Howell determined in August that his comments were defamatory. The jury, which began deliberating on Thursday and will continue on Friday, is only being asked to determine how much Giuliani owes Freeman and Moss for the torrent of vitriol that disrupted their lives. The pair is seeking up to $47 million in damages from a federal jury in D.C. Gottlieb mentioned that when Giuliani wrote his memoir, the former U.S. attorney "recognized that civil servants are generally decent people who strive to improve our country." However, Gottlieb argued that Giuliani now only cares about himself, profiting from election lies through appearances on right-wing media. In response, defense attorney Joseph D. Sibley IV stated that Giuliani chose not to testify out of respect for two women who "have endured enough." He maintained that nothing inappropriate occurred during the Georgia vote count. However, Sibley contended that Giuliani should not be required to pay a "catastrophic" amount of money to them because other individuals were equally or more responsible for spreading the false claims. He also argued that imposing a hefty penalty on Giuliani would not bring about any greater good. "People who believe this stuff will continue to believe it regardless," Sibley asserted. He acknowledged that Giuliani was one of those individuals. "Mr. Giuliani is a decent man," he stated, while acknowledging that "he hasn't exactly helped himself with recent events." Sibley added, "I have no doubt that Mr. Giuliani's statements caused harm. There is no question about it." However, he claimed that the true "Patient Zero" was the far-right website Gateway Pundit, which named Freeman and Moss shortly after Giuliani and Trump's campaign disseminated deceptively edited videos of the two women counting votes. Gateway Pundit is also facing a defamation lawsuit. Lawyers representing publisher Jim Hoft have argued in court filings that the site "reported on the claims made by third parties, such as Trump's legal team." "Gottlieb stated that Rudy Giuliani could have prevented all of this," Gottlieb said. He referred to his clients as "heroes" who stood up to a bully and added, "Unlike some other individuals, they testified." Defendants rarely take the risk of testifying at trial. In Giuliani's case, he is already facing criminal charges in a Georgia 2020 election case and has been identified as an uncharged "Co-Conspirator 1" in Trump's federal election obstruction case, which means he may have had to repeatedly invoke his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination during cross-examination.

The trial commenced on Monday, and both women provided emotional testimony before the plaintiffs concluded their case on Wednesday evening. Jurors began their deliberations after lunch on Thursday, around 1:30 p.m. Earlier during the week, Freeman detailed her comfortable lifestyle as an autonomous business executive in her residence of 20 years. However, on December 4, 2020, her life took a turn for the worse when she started receiving vile and racist messages after Giuliani falsely claimed that she had submitted thousands of fraudulent ballots for Joe Biden in the presidential election. These threats arrived through various means such as voicemails, emails, text messages, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. One person wrote, "You are dead," while another accused her and her family of being criminals and traitors to the country. They even mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement and expressed their desire for the police to be eliminated so they could carry out their violent intentions. The situation escalated further when individuals began showing up at Freeman's house with bullhorns. This terrified her as she feared for her life, unsure if they were coming to harm her. Consequently, she had no choice but to abandon her cherished home. In the subsequent months, she found herself constantly moving from one place to another, carrying her belongings in her car. She couldn't help but weep as she described feeling homeless and lost. Freeman attested that these false allegations destroyed her reputation and shattered her dreams of expanding her clothing boutique named "Ruby's Unique Treasures." She recalled wearing a "Lady Ruby" T-shirt while working as an election official in Atlanta on November 3, 2020, which made it easy for people to identify her once Giuliani shared a video featuring her. As a result, she can no longer use her name or advertise her store. Through tears, Freeman expressed the devastating impact this has had on her life. "I don't have my name anymore," she said. "That's the only thing in life. The only thing you have is your name. My life is just messed up, all because of somebody putting me out there on blast, tweeting my name out." Moss, on the other hand, shared her aspirations of retiring as a county government worker, following in her grandmother's footsteps. However, due to panic attacks and depression, she was forced to quit her job at the county election office, which she had once compared to winning a golden ticket from Willy Wonka. Fighting back tears, she admitted, "I didn't make it. I was afraid for my life. I genuinely believed that someone would come to hang me, and there was nothing anyone could do to prevent it." During the trial, a marketing professor from Northwestern University testified that Freeman and Moss had been subjected to 16 defamatory mentions across various online platforms and media outlets since December 2020. These mentions had reached approximately 35 million views. To restore their reputations through a comprehensive media campaign, with each message repeated five times for maximum impact, would cost $47 million, as stated by Ashlee Humphreys. In his closing arguments, Sibley contended that Giuliani could not have foreseen the violent and racist response to his claims. Gottlieb refuted this claim in his rebuttal argument, which served as the final statement the jurors heard before receiving instructions from Howell on how to reach a verdict. Gottlieb reminded the jurors that Giuliani had repeatedly referred to the two women as drug dealers and criminals, insinuating that they possessed USB sticks capable of altering election results and vials of drugs. Moss testified that the item her mother handed her during the vote count was actually a ginger mint. Gottlieb argued that the reaction from Trump supporters to Giuliani's words was predictable and inevitable.
طلحة عبد الكريم
By : طلحة عبد الكريم
مدير و محرر مدونة الموقع التقني.