Judge hits Rudy Giuliani with ‘immediate’ enforcement of blockbuster verdict in defamation case

Pointing to his history as an “uncooperative litigant” and concerns that he will try to “conceal his assets” during any appeals, a federal judge has ordered that Rudy Giuliani must “immediately” pay $148m to a mother-daughter pair of election workers who sued him for defamation.

Last week, an eight-member jury found Mr Giuliani owes Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss $16.2m and $16.99m respectively in compensatory damages, an additional $20m each for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a further $75m in punitive damages.

The women then asked the court to dissolve a 30-day pause in the order, fearing that Mr Giuliani “will use whatever time he has to alienate or dissipate what assets are available to satisfy even a small portion” of the judgment awarded to them.

“If Giuliani had intentions of absconding with or fraudulently transferring assets, he has ample time to do it,” Mr Giuliani’s attorney wrote in response.

In a devastating order on Wednesday, US District Judge Beryl Howell – who has been repeatedly frustrated by Mr Giuliani’s attempts to evade evidence throughout the case – struck down his arguments, and criticised his apparent ability to hire a spokesperson while avoiding his obligations to the court and the plaintiffs.

“Giuliani’s position thus appears to be that just as he has shielded his true financial status from examination by refusing to comply with discovery rules and court orders, he could have already effectively used that shield to hide his assets to avoid paying plaintiffs’ judgment against him,” she wrote.

“Notably, though he regularly speaks publicly about this case, Giuliani has never denied that he has taken steps to hide his assets from judgment creditors, and has offered no affirmative pledge that he will take no steps to do so, including in the next 30 days,” she added.

His defence “only bolsters” the concerns outlined by Ms Freeman and Ms Moss, according to the judge.

Mr Giuliani’s claims that he has experienced “financial difficulties” are “difficult to square with the fact that Giuliani affords a spokesperson, who accompanied him daily to trial,” the judge wrote.

Judge Howell had already found Mr Giuliani liable for defamation in a damning pretrial ruling earlier this year. Last week’s four-day trial in Washington DC sought to determine how much he owed.

Ms Moss, who was a clerical worker in a county election office, and Ms Freeman, her mother, who had taken a temporary job to help count ballots, were subject to relentless abuse, threats and racist attacks in the volatile aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

During their emotional testimony on the witness stand, they detailed their pain, nightmares and overwhelming anxiety after Mr Giuliani falsely claimed they wheeled a suitcase loaded with fraudulent ballots into a vote-counting centre in Atlanta, Georgia and then used a flash drive to manipulate the results to ensure Joe Biden’s victory.

The jury’s verdict delivers a massive legal and financial blow to Mr Giuliani, a prominent amplifier of conspiracy theories about election fraud who is now at the centre of two criminal indictments stemming from attempts to overturn 2020 results.

The verdict adds to a mountain of other legal obligations, including the election interference case in Atlanta that also involves the same lies about the women he now owes tens of millions of dollars.