Two former Georgia election workers who successfully sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation over his false claims of election fraud are suing him again, alleging that he is continuing to use the very same rhetoric and errant assertions that led to their initial lawsuit.
Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, two election workers in Georgia who are also mother and daughter, won the defamation suit against Giuliani and were awarded $148 million in damages late last week. The two women successfully argued that Giuliani, who was a former lawyer of former President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential election, made false allegations that the two engaged in election fraud, causing their reputations to be ruined with horrifying consequences.
The two election workers, who are Black, were on the receiving end of harassment, racist attacks and even confrontations at their residences from Trump loyalists, who believed Giuliani’s claims and sought to punish Freeman and Moss for election fraud that they never actually committed.
Giuliani’s assertions have been widely debunked — yet he has continued making them, even after the financial judgment was issued against him last week. In a December 11 press conference after the judgment, for instance, Giuliani stood behind his accusations against the two election officials.
“Whatever happened to them — which is unfortunate about other people overreacting — everything I said about them is true,” the former New York City mayor said, claiming, once again and without any legitimate evidence to back up his words, that Freeman and Moss “were engaged in changing votes.”
Giuliani has also appeared on Newsmax programs after the $148 million financial award was given to the two election workers, where he insisted that he was the real victim.
“They basically — they are suing me in order to lie,” Giuliani said in one segment.
Within the new lawsuit, Freeman’s and Moss’s lawyers note that they’ve asked Giuliani, even after the most recent judgment, to stop spreading lies about them.
“Before filing this lawsuit, Plaintiffs’ counsel asked Defendant Giuliani to enter into an agreement to stop publishing these and any similar false claims about Plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states. “Defendant Giuliani refused. Defendant Giuliani’s statements, coupled with his refusal to agree to refrain from continuing to make such statements, make clear that he intends to persist in his campaign of targeted defamation and harassment. It must stop.”
The lawsuit also seeks to have Giuliani immediately pay court fees owed to Freeman and Moss and the $148 million judgment, citing his “unwillingness to comply with judicial process” in the past.
“There is especially good reason to believe that Defendant Giuliani intends to evade payment of the judgment by any means he can devise,” the legal filing states.
The new suit doesn’t ask for specific damages if he continues to spread false claims, but requests a “targeted injunction barring” Giuliani from defaming them any further. Such an injunction, if violated, could result in Giuliani being held in contempt of court, which could lead to a jail sentence of up to 18 months.
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig believes that the suit could run into problems, and may not be as successful as the first civil action Freeman and Moss took against Giuliani.
“The problem is, our Constitution, the First Amendment, is very, very resistant to impose prior restraints,” Honig, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, said, adding that, while the election workers can continue to sue Giuliani for damages after he says something damaging to them, courts are usually unwilling to restrict a person’s speech before they engage in similar defamatory behavior.
But former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, speaking on MSNBC on Tuesday morning, disagreed, calling the two election workers’ lawsuit “really clever.”
“What they really want is for Rudy to shut the hell up,” McQuade said, noting that the threat of a jail sentence “may be what they’re seeking here.”
“The ability to hold that over his head [could] provide some disincentive” for Giuliani to finally “stop spreading these lies,” McQuade added.