Rudy Giuliani to pay $148 million in Georgia election worker defamation case: Recap

Giuliani calls verdict amount an ‘absurdity’

In a written statement, Giuliani referred to the verdict’s amount as an “absurdity” and reiterated his intention to appeal the judgment.

“The absurdity of the amount is indicative of the absurdity and unfairness of the entire proceeding,” he said in the statement. “It bore no resemblance to a trial in a country with the rule of law. I wasn’t able to offer any evidence in my defense. We’ll have more to say and look forward to the appeal.”

Giuliani maintains his comments about election workers ‘are supportable’

Giuliani told reporters outside of the courtroom this evening that the comments he made about Moss and Freeman in the wake of the 2020 presidential election are “supportable.”

“I have no doubt, I have no doubt that my comments were made, and they were supportable and are supportable today,” Giuliani said when asked if he still believed the comments he made about the women were truthful.

“I just did not have an opportunity to present the evidence that we offered,” he added.

Moss and Freeman ‘thankful’ for verdict

In remarks outside the courtroom, Moss and Freeman expressed their gratitude for the verdict, while adding that Giuliani’s false claims had impacted all aspects of their lives.

“The flame that Giuliani lit with those lies and passed to so many others to keep that flame blazing changed every aspect of our lives, our homes, our family, our work, our sense of safety, our mental health,” Moss said.

Our greatest wish, Moss added, is that no election worker “ever experiences anything like what we went through.”

“You all matter, and you are all important. We hope no one ever has to fight so hard just to get your name back,” she said.

Freeman suggested that others who joined Giuliani in promoting lies about them needed to be held accountable.

“A jury stood witness to what Rudy Giuliani did to me and my daughter and held him accountable and for that I’m thankful,” Freeman said. “Today is not the end of the road. We still have work to do. Rudy Giuliani was not the only one who spread lies about us, and others must be held accountable, too.”

Moss and Freeman hug attorneys after verdict

Before the verdict was handed out, Freeman hugged attorney Meryl Governski, who had questioned her during the direct examination this week. Governski hugged Freeman tight and patted her on the back.

Giuliani did not look up from his iPad when the dollar amounts were read. There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the $75 million in punitive damages was read.

After Howell dismissed the court, Moss and Freeman took turns hugging each of their attorneys. Giuliani, meanwhile, stood alone and put his belongings in a bag without looking up.

Giuliani tries to distance himself from threats to the defendants

Asked by a reporter if he has any regrets over the comments the defendants received, Giuliani replied: “Of course.”

Then, he went on to defend himself. “Of course. The comments they received I had nothing to do with,” Giuliani said. “Those comments are abominable, they’re deplorable.”

He added that he receives “comments like that every day.”

Outside courthouse, Giuliani says he will appeal the verdict

Giuliani told reporters outside the courthouse that he intends to appeal the jury’s decision.

He insisted that when his case reaches a “fair tribunal,” the award to the plaintiffs will be reversed “so quickly it’ll make your head spin.”

Asked why he didn’t end up taking the stand to testify in his own defense, Giuliani said that he believed the judge was “threatening” him with “the strong possibility that I’d be held in contempt” or jailed.

Court adjourned

The court adjourned immediately after the jury delivered its verdict.

Breaking down the whopping $148 million verdict

The jury award to Freeman and Moss came in three different categories, with one relatively minor difference between the amounts to the mother and daughter.

Both were awarded a total $20 million each for emotional distress and a total of $75 million in punitive damages. Freeman was awarded $16,171,000 for the defamation claims, while Moss was awarded $16,998,000.

Jury hits Giuliani with $148 million verdict

The jury awarded Freeman and Moss a total of $148 million in damages.

Their attorney, Michael Gottlieb, had urged the jurors to return a verdict of at least $24 million each for the mother and daughter. Giuliani’s attorney did not recommend a specific figure, but told the jury it should be for less than the amount the plaintiffs were seeking.

Verdict reached in Giuliani defamation case

The jury has returned a note saying it has reached a verdict on damages, the judge told the courtroom.

The verdict is expected to be read shortly.

Giuliani waits in courtroom

Giuliani is now in the courtroom. The judge has not entered yet.

Courtroom reopens and parties return

The judge’s courtroom has been opened and the parties’ lawyers are heading inside, meaning there could be a note from the jury.

Giuliani takes a burger break as jury mulls his financial fate

As jury deliberations stretched into the late afternoon, a Giuliani adviser delivered him a late lunch — a cheeseburger and fries from Z-Burger.

The jury — which has been deliberating for over nine hours in total since yesterday — had their lunch delivered earlier in the afternoon.

What the jury is weighing in the case

While the judge found Giuliani liable for defaming Freeman and Moss in August, the eight-person jury has been tasked with coming to a consensus on three types of damages: defamation, emotional distress and punitive damages.

An expert testifying for Freeman and Moss argued it would cost them between $17.8 million and $47.8 million to repair their reputations. Their attorney, Michael Gottlieb, asked the jury to award them $24 million each on the defamation claim while leaving it up to the jurors to decide the amounts on the emotional distress and punitive damages claims.

Giuliani’s attorney Joseph Sibley contended the jury should award less than Gottlieb was asking for. He said the verdict should send the message, “You should have been better, but you’re not as bad as the plaintiffs are making you out to be.”

Lawyers, judge discuss how to handle future defamatory comments

After the jurors were sent to resume their deliberations, Howell discussed the next steps in the case, including how to handle any future defamatory comments Giuliani might make about Freeman and Moss.

Freeman’s lawyer John Langford said they plan to ask for a court order barring Giuliani from making any more defamatory statements about the mother and daughter.

Howell asked how he would expect her to enforce that order, and if they’re assuming she’ll do so for the rest of her or Giuliani’s life. 

“On its face, I can tell you right now I’m very skeptical of that,” Howell said, adding that she doesn’t want to bring Giuliani back to court every time he makes a defamatory statement.

“I don’t think Mr. Giuliani wants to appear in front of me any more than I want to see him,” she joked. 

Stefanik files complaint against judge in Giuliani, Trump cases

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., filed a complaint today alleging judicial misconduct by a federal judge who has overseen various Jan. 6-related cases.

Stefanik, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and member of the House GOP leadership, formally requested an ethics investigation into Howell over what the New York Republican called a “highly inappropriate political speech” by the judge in November.

Howell is also overseeing Giuliani’s trial.

The complaint, submitted to D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan and first reported by NBC News, pertains to Howell’s remarks Nov. 27 when she accepted an award at a Women’s White Collar Defense Association gala. Stefanik argues that Howell’s remarks were “hardly apolitical” and that the judge’s remarks were “plainly inappropriate, consisting of partisan statements, election interference, and improper extrajudicial statements while criminal cases are pending.”

Read the full story here.

Trial resumes: Here’s what’s at stake

It’s Day 5 of Giuliani’s civil defamation trial. Jurors continue to deliberate this morning on the amount of damages he will have to pay for defaming Freeman and Moss. Deliberations started yesterday at 1:35 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m.

Jurors need to decide on three numbers — the amount of damages Giuliani has to pay for defaming the women, the amount of damages he has to pay for causing them emotional distress and the amount of punitive damages.

Lawyers for Freeman and Moss asked jurors to award each woman $24 million in defamation damages but left the other amounts up to the jury. 

Giuliani arrives, deliberations begin soon

Giuliani arrived at the courthouse at 8:26 a.m.

The jury is expected to return at 9:00 a.m. and continue deliberations.

Jury deliberations are set to resume in Giuliani’s civil defamation trial related to false claims he made about two former election workers in Georgia. NBC News’ Ryan Reilly reports on why Giuliani didn’t take the stand and what to expect from a verdict.

What happened yesterday

Yesterday was the first partial day of jury deliberations after both sides concluded their closing arguments in the early afternoon.

Giuliani was initially expected to testify but ended up not taking the stand.

The lawyer for Freeman and Moss asked the jury to award the plaintiffs at least $24 million each.

During closing arguments, Giuliani’s lawyer told the jury that his client “is a good man.”

Jury deliberations expected to resume this morning

The jury is expected to continue its deliberations today starting at 9 a.m.

Jurors began deliberating yesterday around 1:35 p.m. after closing arguments in the case.