Rudy Giuliani is not disputing that he made false statements about Georgia election workers
Jul 26, 2023, 6:49 AM
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani is not disputing that he made public comments about two Georgia election workers that were false, but contends his words are constitutionally protected statements, according to a court filing.
That assertion by Giuliani, who as part of Donald Trump’s legal team tried to overturn 2020 presidential election results in battleground states, came Tuesday in a lawsuit by Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss. The lawsuit accused the former New York City mayor of defaming them by falsely stating that they had engaged in election fraud while counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
The lawsuit says Giuliani repeatedly pushed debunked claims that Freeman and Moss — mother and daughter — pulled out suitcases of illegal ballots and committed other acts of fraud to try to alter the outcome of the race.
Though Giuliani acknowledges in the filing that the statements were false, he does not concede that they caused any damage to Freeman or Moss. That distinction is important because plaintiffs in a defamation case must prove not only that a statement made about them was false but that it also resulted in actual damage.
Giuliani’s statement was attached to a filing arguing that he did not fail to produce evidence in the case and should not be sanctioned as Freeman and Moss had requested.
“While Giuliani does not admit to Plaintiffs’ allegations, he — for purposes of this litigation only — does not contest the factual allegations,” the filing said.
Giuliani political adviser Ted Goodman said in an email Wednesday that the filing was made “in order to move on to the portion of the case that will permit a motion to dismiss.”
Michael Gottlieb, a lawyer for Freeman and Moss, said in an emailed statement that Giuliani is conceding “what we have always known to be true — Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss honorably performed their civic duties in the 2020 presidential election in full compliance with the law; and the allegations of election fraud he and former-President Trump made against them have been false since day one.”
Certain issues, including damages, still have to be decided by the court. Gottlieb said Freeman and Moss are “pleased with this major milestone in their fight for justice, and look forward to presenting what remains of this case at trial.”
Freeman and Moss filed a motion this month alleging that Giuliani had failed to preserve evidence. They asked U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell to impose sanctions.
In the court filing, a lawyer for Giuliani argued that Giuliani did not fail to preserve or destroy any electronic evidence “because all pertinent documents were seized by the government and were in their possession, custody, or control.”