Rudy Giuliani, the former personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, is being accused of hijacking the lives of election workers in Georgia.
Lawyers who are representing two election workers in the state said as much to a jury in Washington, D.C., on Monday. They said the baseless claims that Giuliani made about them have completely destroyed their reputations.
The workers are Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, who is her daughter.
At issue in this trial is how much Giuliani must pay them following a ruling from a judge that he was liable for not turning over evidence in that case. According to court filings, the election workers are seeking damages that total as much as $43.5 million.
Von DuBose, who is the attorney representing the women, started his opening statement of the trial by playing clips to jurors of hundreds of threatening voicemails that were left for his clients following the 2020 presidential election. Many of those voicemails contained racist statements.
DuBose put the blame on those actions squarely on Giuliani, saying that people would sometimes show up at Freeman’s house “acting on what Mr. Giuliani told them.”
As DuBose said about the threats his clients received:
“It was swift, it was racist, and it was vicious.”
Even Giuliani’s own lawyer, Joseph Sibley, admitted in court that Moss and Freeman “didn’t deserve” the actions that were taken against them. He said:
“There’s really no question that these plaintiffs were harmed. They’re good people.”
At the same time, though, Sibley tried to make the argument that Giuliani shouldn’t be held responsible for all the threats that were levied against the election workers. He argued:
“This was something that other people did independent of Mr. Giuliani.”
The problem for Giuliani is that after the 2020 presidential election, he singled out these two women and based his unfounded claims of electoral fraud in Georgia on them.
He, as well as others, claimed that Freeman and Moss scanned ballots that were hidden under tables in suitcases at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. They did this, he claimed, so that Democrat Joe Biden would win Georgia, which he ultimately did.
Giulliani tried to back up his claims by playing videos that he said showed Moss and Freeman passing a USB drive between them so that the purported hidden ballots could be scanned. In reality, though, what they were passing between each other was a mint.
After these claims went public, and after all the threats rolled in, Moss and Freeman filed a lawsuit against Giuliani for defamation and intentionally inflicting emotional distress on them, while also engaging in a conspiracy to do that with others.
Eight jurors were selected earlier on Monday to sit for the trial, and it’s expected to take about four days to decide.
The judge in the case ordered that Giuliani had to be physically present for the entirety of the case. He missed the pre-trial conference last week and was late to trial on Monday.