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Giuliani Ordered to Pay Damages for Slandering Georgia Election Officials

A federal judge on Wednesday found former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani liable for defaming two Georgia election workers as part of his efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.

Mr. Giuliani, who served as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, insisted that Rudy Freeman and Wandrea’ ArShaye Moss mishandled ballots in 2020. They responded by suing him in 2021.

U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled in favor of Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss by default after Mr. Giuliani failed to turn over documents and other evidence sought by their lawyers. A trial on determining damages is expected later.

“Perhaps, he has made the calculation that his overall litigation risks are minimized by not complying with his discovery obligations in this case,” Judge Howell said in her 57-page opinion. “Whatever the reason, obligations are case specific and withholding required discovery in this case has consequences.”

“Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery in a straight-forward defamation case, with the concomitant necessity of repeated court intervention,” she said.

Mr. Giuliani also was indicted in Georgia this month along with Mr. Trump and 17 others over their efforts to overturn the Georgia election results.

My perspective: It is crucial that public figures and lawyers uphold their professional and ethical responsibilities when discussing election results. Defamation lawsuits, such as this one involving Giuliani, highlight the importance of credible information and the potential consequences of spreading false claims. In a democratic society, it is essential to respect the integrity of election processes and trust in the work of election officials.

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