A jury trial began on Monday in DC to determine damages former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani owes Georgia poll workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss for defaming them by falsely accusing them of election fraud.
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 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.”
Giuliani admitted on the record in July that he had lied about Moss and Freeman.
A week ago, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell denied 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.
In September Howell fined Giuliani and his businesses more than $132,000 for failing to hand over discovery to the poll workers’ legal team, and an additional $104,000 to Freeman and Moss for their legal expenses. The defamation damages, once determined by the jury will be levied on Giuliani on top of Howell’s fines.
The Giuliani trial will also put on display for a DC jury for the first time the actions of former President Trump and his attorneys in their efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. Trump is set to go on trial in the same courthouse on March 4 on four criminal counts in a federal trial related to his alleged election interference.