When Rudy Giuliani enters federal court on Monday, the only mystery will be how severely he is sanctioned for lies about the 2020 election. U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell has already found him liable for defaming two Georgia election workers — Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss — who faced threats and harassment after Giuliani and Donald Trump falsely accused them of manipulating ballots after the 2020 election. Those lies fueled conspiracy theories that have festered to this day, Politico reports. Now, a jury in Washington, D.C., will be asked to determine the amount of damages Giuliani must pay for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and other punitive costs. Freeman and Moss haven’t specified a precise amount but are preparing to introduce expert testimony to estimate the harm they have experienced.
The damages trial is the latest form of accountability for those who aided Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election. While criminal proceedings against Trump, Giuliani and others have inched along, efforts to punish the perpetrators in other ways — from civil lawsuits to disbarment — have mo ved more briskly. Giuliani’s law license was suspended last year after D.C. bar authorities concluded he violated professional ethics in his efforts to throw out millions of Pennsylvania votes.
Freeman and Moss are key figures in two criminal cases against Trump — his federal conspiracy case in Washington, D.C., and his racketeering case in Georgia. Prosecutors in both cases have described how Trump amplified Giuliani’s lies about the women, including in an infamous phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021. Giuliani is identified as “co-conspirator 1” in the federal case, which is playing out in the same courthouse where he awaits punishment in the election workers’ civil trial. And Giuliani — along with several other Trump allies accused of seeking to harass and intimidate the workers — faces criminal charges with Trump in the Georgia case. Freeman and Moss, who were featured witnesses at a House Jan. 6 select committee hearing, have described a torrent of death threats and attacks that have followed them for the past three years, at times forcing them to leave their homes to remain safe. Trump has renewed his attacks on Freeman, a fact that federal prosecutors noted in a court filing describing their intent to introduce evidence of Trump’s more recent conduct in his criminal trial that is scheduled to begin March 4.