Rudy Giuliani Defames Plaintiffs On The Courthouse Steps On The First Day Of Defamation Trial

Judge Howell was not impressed.

rudy giuliani

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Hurricane Rudy strikes again!

Rudy Giuliani’s persistent failure to comply with discovery already got him a default judgment in the defamation case brought by Atlanta poll workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, whom he falsely accused of ballot fraud. The only issue at this point is how much money the former president’s lawyer is going to fork over in damages. And yet …

The man stepped out of the courthouse in a defamation lawsuit and defamed the plaintiffs some more.

“Everything I said about them is true,” he fulminated. “I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”

He even appeared to promise that he’d testify about the plaintiffs’ supposed crimes on the witness stand — which might provide an explanation for his stated intention to testify when he’s currently facing criminal RICO charges in Georgia.


Here on Planet Earth, the fact that Giuliani’s statements were both false and defamatory is already the law of the case. He cannot testify about them. That is not a thing!

But perhaps Rudy can be forgiven for his confusion, since his lawyer Joseph Sibley IV seems to be under the mistaken impression that he’ll be able to present evidence of Giuliani’s financial condition to the jury.

“If you award them what they are asking for, it will be the end of Mr Giuliani,” Sibley told jurors in his opening statement yesterday.

Rudy refused to hand over his financials in discovery, despite being warned in August when Judge Howell issued the default order that, if he didn’t do it, she was going to grant even more adverse inferences in her jury instructions.

Later in his opening, Sibley suggested that he’d be presenting alternative theories of liability: “What happened to them is because of a controversy that involved a lot of people. It wasn’t just Mr. Giuliani.”


Freeman and Moss’s lawyers don’t appear to have objected during Sibley’s opening statement, but they immediately filed a motion in limine to “preclude further violations of the court’s orders.”

“During defense counsel’s opening statement and witness examination during the first day of trial, it became clear that Defendant Giuliani’s trial strategy revolves around several points that run directly contrary to the Court’s prior orders in this case,” wrote Michael Gottlieb of Wilkie Farr and Gallagher LLP.

They argue that: (1) Sibley’s plan to argue that the plaintiffs damages are attributable to other bad actors runs contrary to the plain meaning of the default judgment; (2) Giuliani is precluded from “making any argument, or introducing any evidence, stating or suggesting that he is insolvent, bankrupt, judgment proof, or otherwise unable to defend himself, comply with this Court’s orders, or satisfy an eventual judgment” by the court’s own order; and (3) The defendant defamed the shit out of the plaintiffs yesterday (slight paraphrase), and then announced his intention to do it again on the stand.

After two years of Rudy’s nonsense, Judge Howell had already had it up to here before the trial started. Labeling his comments to reporters “quite defamatory,” she questioned Sibley how he intended to keep his client from making barred claims on the witness stand.

Apparently, the “my guy is old” defense didn’t go over big with the court. Nor did a series of evidentiary objections Sibley filed last night, vaguely gesturing in the direction of FRE 402 and 403 without further explanation.

“Your objections have to be intelligible,” the judge scolded.

And that was all before the jurors were even called in.

This morning, Shaye Moss testified about the devastating toll Rudy’s lies took on her whole family. She’ll be back after lunch for cross examination by Sibley.

Judge rebukes Giuliani over ‘defamatory’ comments he made about Georgia election workers during defamation damages trial [CNN]
Freeman v. Herring Networks [Docket, via Court Listener]

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes the Law and Chaos Substack and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.