Election workers' lawyer says Giuliani's damages should send a message

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A lawyer for two former Georgia election workers told jurors in federal court Thursday that they should send a message when considering how much Rudolph W. Giuliani should have to pay for spreading defamatory lies about them as part of his effort to three years. to keep President Donald J. Trump in office.

“Send it to Mr. Giuliani,” attorney Michael J. Gottlieb said in his closing argument. “Send it to any other powerful figure with a platform and an audience who is considering whether he will take the opportunity to seek profit and fame by murdering the moral character of ordinary people.”

Poll workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, who were counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Fulton County, Georgia, on Nov. 3, 2020, are seeking at least $24 million each from Mr. Giuliani for baselessly accusing them of cheating. Mr. Trump was left without votes and broadcasting that lie to millions of followers on social media.

Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court in Washington already found that Giuliani, who served as Trump's personal attorney and helped lead the effort to overturn the 2020 election result, defamed the women. The jury in the civil trial is only asked to determine what damages Mr. Giuliani must pay.

In a last-minute decision, Giuliani decided not to testify Thursday as planned. His attorney and Judge Howell had for days expressed concern that Giuliani would repeat his baseless claims of election fraud from the stand, as he did outside court Monday when he again attacked Freeman and Moss.

Giuliani's attorney, Joseph Sibley IV, also asked the jury to send a message by falling short of a “catastrophic” dollar figure.

“I ask you to be reasonable and fair,” Mr. Sibley said.

Sibley said Giuliani admitted he was wrong, but that the torrent of abuse directed at Freeman and Moss after his statements about them was not entirely his fault.

Sibley argued that Giuliani didn't say all the horrible, racist things or encourage violence against women, and that no amount of money could realistically repair women's reputations in the eyes of people who believe the lies. Giuliani, he said, knows the smear is wrong because he believes he has been smeared by President Biden.

Sibley also asked jurors to remember Giuliani for the reputation he had 20 years ago, after serving as mayor of New York City and as a federal prosecutor who took down the mob.

“Rudy Giuliani should not be defined by what has happened recently,” Sibley said. “This is a man who did great things.”

During the trial, Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, mother and daughter, gave emotional testimony about how the falsehoods spread by Mr. Giuliani ruined their lives.

They told jurors they had received hundreds of threatening and racist messages from people who believed Mr Giuliani's claim, causing them to lose their livelihoods, move from their homes and suffer emotional distress.



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