A jury will decide how much former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani owes Georgia poll workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss for defaming them by falsely accusing them of election fraud, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled late Sunday.
In a sharply-worded ruling, Howell struck down Giuliani’s request for a bench trial rather than a jury trial, scolding him for making a “significantly tardy” motion—long past the October deadline she had set for pretrial motions.
Freeman and Moss, who are mother and daughter, are seeking between $15.5 million and $43 million from Giuliani for defamation, according to court documents.
In a 57-page opinion Judge Howell found Giuliani liable for defaming the pair back in August after he admitted on the record that he had lied about them and after he resisted turning over discovery evidence.
In June 2022, Moss testified during a televised hearing of the House Select January 6 Committee about how a mob of Trump supporters had targeted her and her mother, both online and in person, after consuming debunked conspiracy theories about their actions on Election Day 2020, to the point where Moss said she and Freeman felt safe “nowhere.”
Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City who was advising Trump on efforts to overturn the 2020 election, falsely claimed that Moss and Freeman could bee seen on video passing USB drives “like vials of heroin or cocaine” while counting ballots in Fulton County, Georgia.
Moss testified to Congress that what her mother was actually passing to her was “a ginger mint.”
In her Sunday opinion, Howell again cited Giuliani’s “discovery misconduct” as her reason for denying his request for a bench trial.
“This Court will not reward him for conduct that has ‘already resulted in significant prejudice to Plaintiffs,’” Howell wrote, quoting her earlier decision.
Along with the defamation suit, Giuliani is also a criminal co-defendant along with former President Trump and more than a dozen others in the Fulton County racketeering trial linked to efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
The jury trial to decide the damages Giuliani owes Freeman and Moss is scheduled for next Monday, December 11.