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Giuliani Expected to Testify in $43m Georgia Election Worker Defamation Case

Rudy Giuliani could face a do-or-die moment Thursday when he’s expected to take the stand to fight a defamation lawsuit brought by two former Georgia election workers, who faced a deluge of threats after he and others baselessly accused them of committing voter fraud in 2020.

A Washington, D.C., jury is weighing the workers’ request for upwards of $43.5 million in damages, an outcome that the former New York City mayor’s attorney said would be the “civil equivalent of the death penalty” and “the end of Mr. Giuliani.”

But before the jurors start deliberations, they could first hear from Giuliani himself. Now the question becomes, what story will he tell?

Inside the courtroom, the former federal prosecutor has watched the duration of the trial, coming face-to-face with the election workers, who have testified against him. He regularly placed his hand over his forehead as he sat at the defense table, at times shaking his head. But outside to reporters, he’s at times been antagonistic. On Wednesday, he appeared to cast doubt on whether he would testify or not, as expected and as he said he would last week.

“I intend to, but you always leave them guessing,” Giuliani said when asked if he will testify Thursday.

The judge already ruled that Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, defamed the two workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The jury was convened only to decide how much Giuliani must pay.

But after the trial began, lawyers for the mother-daughter duo claimed Giuliani was continuing to spew lies, raising alarm that he may bring up already-decided issues when he takes the stand in front of the jurors.

“My client…likes to talk a lot, unfortunately,” Joseph Sibley, Giuliani’s attorney, acknowledged in court on Tuesday.

Former President Trump lost the election in Georgia and overall but continued to tout claims the contest was “rigged” against him, spurring a massive but unsuccessful campaign by Trump allies to try and undo the results. Giuliani, one of those allies who at the time was serving as Trump’s lawyer, claimed in 2020 Freeman and Moss scanned ballots hidden in suitcases under tables at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena to tip the election in favor of President Biden.

The allegations made the mother-daughter duo an epicenter of unfounded allegations of mass electoral fraud in the election. Both Freeman and Moss have described people showing up at their home and receiving thousands of threats, often with racist language.

Giuliani stipulated months ago that his claims about the workers were false and defamatory. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell later ruled Giuliani was liable by default, because he failed to turn over evidence.

Throughout the trial, Sibley has walked a fine line of showing sympathy while trying to lessen the amount his client must pay. The jurors also heard from Freeman and Moss directly.

“There’s really no question that these plaintiffs were harmed. They’re good people,” Sibley said during his opening statement on Monday. But Giuliani has continued to show antagonism, telling reporters hours later outside the courthouse that “of course” he doesn’t regret his claims against the election workers. Giuliani again insisted, without evidence, that his fraud claims were accurate.

“I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes,” Giuliani claimed. “Can he follow instructions?” Howell probed. “The answer, of course, is yes,” Sibley responded.

The testy exchange came after Freeman and Moss’s lawyers filed court papers raising concerns that Giuliani will make similar comments on the stand and reopen issues that the jury is supposed to accept as settled.

“Needless to say, were Defendant Giuliani to testify in a manner remotely resembling those comments, he would be in plain violation of the Court’s prior orders in this case conclusively affirming, and reaffirming, that all elements of liability have been established, including that Defendant Giuliani’s defamatory statements were false,” they wrote.

Since the scuffle, Giuliani has acknowledged a need to tame his comments. “I’m not gonna discuss the case,” he told reporters upon walking out of the courthouse on Tuesday. But Giuliani then proceeded to indulge questions.

He claimed Freeman and Moss’s lawyers were connected to Hunter Biden. In one response, as he noted the $43 million requested in damages, he let out a laugh. Moments later, he chuckled when a reporter asked him if he thought the judge was wrong to find him liable.

Giuliani also encouraged reporters to tune into his web show later that night. “If I feel like I can do it without getting the judge all upset, I’ll say a few more things. But I’ve got to think about it first, because there’s no point in getting her upset,” Giuliani said.

When he went live, Giuliani briefly addressed the case before moving onto other topics.

“I think I’ve made enough comments on it, so that, now that we’re down the last couple of days of the trial, discretion is probably the better part of valor, my lawyer tells me, and I shouldn’t go into any great detail of the substance of the case,” he said.

Source: Thehill