Make your home page

Rudy Giuliani defamation damages trial set to begin in DC

Rudy Giuliani, former lawyer to Donald Trump, arrives to federal court in Washington, DC, on May 19, 2023. Giuliani's defamation damages trial was set to begin on Dec. 11, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Provided Photo/CNN/ Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Rudy Giuliani’s defamation damages trial is set to begin Monday as the court considers the monetary damages the former Donald Trump attorney must pay two election workers.

The trial, which is expected to last four days, marks the last step in a monthslong legal battle between Giuliani and former Georgia election workers Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and Ruby Freeman, ​​who accused Giuliani of smearing them after the 2020 election, when he served as the head of Trump’s legal team.

The trial also will put on public display for the first time before a Washington, DC, jury the actions of Trump’s lawyers and campaign, months before the ex-President is set to go to trial in the same courthouse on criminal charges related to the 2020 election subversion effort. Giuliani’s efforts also factor into the criminal allegations Trump faces, and Trump, his legal team and campaign are legally considered co-conspirators in the defamation case.

Giuliani has already been found liable for defamation and he owes Freeman and Moss over $230,000 after failing to respond to parts of their lawsuit. The mother and daughter are now seeking tens of millions of dollars, claiming that they have suffered emotional and reputational harm as well as having their safety put in danger after Giuliani singled them out when he made false claims of ballot tampering in Georgia.

The former New York City mayor is expected to testify in his own defense, but his lawyer didn’t know during a hearing last week if Giuliani would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights on the stand.

On the other hand, Moss and Freeman’s team plans to show clips to the jury of other Trump campaign figures like attorney Jenna Ellis taking the Fifth when declining to answer questions at her deposition.

While Giuliani conceded in July that he did make defamatory statements about Moss and Freeman, he attempted to argue that his statements did not cause any damage to the two women and that his comments about voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 election were protected speech.

But Giuliani lost the lawsuit in August after Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court in Washington, DC, determined that he failed to provide information sought in subpoenas.

Howell rejected down Giuliani’s complaints of being buried in litigation costs, which she called “a cloak of victimization.”

CNN has previously reported that Giuliani is struggling with the costs of the numerous legal challenges he faces related to his work for Trump following the 2020 election, and in a court filing in August, Giuliani said he’s effectively out of cash.

To ease some of the financial strain, Giuliani listed his 3-bedroom Manhattan apartment for $6.5 million, which Howell pointed out to make the case that Giuliani could pay the damages, along with a reimbursement he received from Trump and his travel on a private plane when he was processed in Fulton County in the Georgia election subversion case.