Rudy Giuliani has lost a civil lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers after he failed to turn over discovery documents in the case, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge Beryl Howell issued a default judgment ordering the former Donald Trump attorney to pay nearly $133,000 in sanctions. In a 57-page opinion, Howell admonished Giuliani’s failure to turn over the documents as “willful discovery misconduct.”
“Perhaps, he has made the calculation that his overall litigation risks are minimized by not complying with his discovery obligations in this case,” the judge wrote. “Whatever the reason, obligations are case specific and withholding required discovery in this case has consequences.”
Fulton County election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss sued Giuliani in December 2021 after he claimed that the mother and daughter had helped commit supposed election fraud during the 2020 presidential race.
Giuliani conceded in a court filing earlier this year that he had made false statements against the pair, which he said were “defamatory per se.” Still, he argued that his statements were constitutionally protected.
The sanctions ordered by the judge must be paid by Sept. 20. They will cover legal fees that the women incurred while attempting to obtain financial documents and information related to Giuliani’s “Common Sense” podcast, Howell ruled.
The case will next go to trial to determine any damages in the case. Giuliani will again be given an opportunity to compel with discovery relevant to the determination of damages. If he does not comply, he faces additional discovery-related sanctions, noted the judge.
Giuliani must also hand over the financial documents that the women previously requested, which he was ordered to produce in June.