Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani lost a defamation lawsuit by default Wednesday in Washington, D.C. In a 57-page ruling, United States District Judge Beryl Howell shredded Giuliani for not producing evidence in the case filed by election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. She then ordered a default and the payment of the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees totaling tens of thousands of dollars as well as punitive damages.
Giuliani insisted that his failure was due to the fact that the government seized all of his files in an earlier raid. That clearly did not convince Judge Howell. The court ordered trial proceedings solely on the amount of damages.
The fact is that the lawsuit was quite strong on the merits, so the default may not have altered the outcome. Freeman and Moss were called out publicly by Trump and others as engaged in voting fraud. There was no such evidence but Freeman and Moss were relentlessly attacked and abused. These were not opinions, but false factual allegations made against them after the election.
It was clear that Giuliani was not seriously contesting the claims given a two-page statement filed earlier in the case. He stated that he “does not contest” that his statements were “false” and “carry meaning that is defamatory.”
The lawsuit is an important victory for those who find themselves pulled into the vortex of this age of rage. These were workers who were suddenly placed into the national spotlight and found their lives disrupted by what were clearly false allegations.