Rudy Giuliani has been racking up legal issues at an impressive clip. The latest is that he can’t squirm out of a jury trial on damages in Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss’ defamation lawsuit. That trial, stemming from the ex-lawman’s 2020 election lies, is set for Dec. 11.
You might be wondering, Didn’t Rudy already lose this case?
Yes, he did.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell issued a default judgment in the civil case in August, with a lengthy, scathing opinion against the former U.S. attorney and Trump lawyer. Giuliani had failed to comply with discovery orders and practically conceded his liability.
The question now is how much he owes. The plaintiffs want damages on their claims of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy to commit those torts. The mother and daughter served as election workers in Georgia in 2020 and were terrorized thanks to Donald Trump and Giuliani falsely claiming that the pair had committed election fraud. (Trump and Giuliani are co-defendants in the Georgia criminal case over the 2020 election and have both pleaded not guilty.)
Ahead of the civil damages trial, Giuliani said there shouldn’t be a jury, an argument Howell rejected on Sunday.
“Over the course of this litigation, Giuliani raised no objection to plaintiffs’ jury demand,” the Barack Obama appointee recalled. The Washington judge noted that, “absent Giuliani’s willful discovery misconduct warranting the sanction of default, plaintiffs’ jury trial right would be fully protected under the Seventh Amendment. For a plaintiff to lose that protected jury right in these circumstances seems patently unfair.”
Howell further deemed Giuliani’s attempts to blame the plaintiffs for any prejudice resulting from a bench trial instead of a jury trial as “simply nonsense.”
And what about a jury trial could lead to prejudice against Giuliani? He argued that “a default sanction is inherently prejudicial” and that he would not “get a fair trial on damages with a jury who is being read the contents of” Howell’s sanction orders. To that, Howell responded in her ruling:
The irony of this assertion must be highlighted, given the many opportunities Giuliani was afforded to comply with his discovery obligations but to no avail, and the further opportunities Giuliani was afforded to be heard on any adverse instructions to be given to the jury, but he consented to those instructions. Giuliani’s own discovery misconduct necessitated the entry of default judgment against him, and this Court will not reward him for conduct that has “already  resulted in significant prejudice to Plaintiffs,” ...
That is, the civil defendant only has himself to blame. How much he has to pay for it could become clearer as trial gets underway next week.
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