Giuliani: $43 Million in Damages Would Be ‘Death Penalty’

On day one of Rudy Giuliani’s trial to determine how much he’ll owe a pair of Georgia poll workers he defamed, his attorney claimed that forcing him to pay the $43 million in damages requested by his victims—or anywhere near it—would be a “death penalty” to Giuliani.

The bizarre claim came in defense attorney Joseph Sibley’s opening statement to jurors on Monday afternoon, in which he claimed Giuliani wasn’t the direct reason Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss received death threats and crippling harassment after the 2020 election—despite a federal judge ruling in August that Giuliani was liable.

“If you award them what they are asking for, it will be the end of Mr. Giuliani,” Sibley said.

It’s unclear how much Giuliani will be able to pay in damages. The former New York mayor—and Donald Trump grifter—has had his financial struggles widely documented this year, with outstanding payments and legal fees that extend well into the hundreds of thousands.

Freeman and Moss, who are both Black women from Atlanta, are seeking between $15 and $43 million in compensatory and punitive damages from Giuliani, whose false statements about them forced them to live in fear and have their lives upended, their attorney Von A. DuBose said Monday.

The harassment came in the wake of Trump’s 2020 defeat, which included Joe Biden carrying Georgia in his sweeping electoral college victory.

DuBose said Giuliani’s defamation influenced callers to leave vile voicemails for the women, which included one message where a man called them traitors who deserved to be hanged from trees near the U.S. Capitol—close enough to people so that the public could hear “their necks snap.”

“Your name is the most important thing you own,” DuBose said in his opening statements. “You will hear how Mr. Giuliani and his co-conspirators stole the lives of Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss by destroying their names.”

DuBose said enraged Trump supporters also showed up at the women’s homes, accusing them of election fraud. He said the harassment included people ringing Freeman’s doorbell in the middle of the night, forcing her to move and search for a new job.

DuBose claimed the harassment didn’t stop there, however. He said Freeman once walked out of a job interview at Chick-Fil-A with her head down after a hiring manager pulled up an article about her online and asked if she was the women who committed election fraud.

Giuliani told a reporter from The Guardian during a lunch break Monday that he has a “few surprises” lined up for his trial, which is being held in a Washington, D.C., courtroom, and is expected to last a week.

Multiple journalists who attended day one of the trial, which wrapped up jury selection in mere hours, reported that Giuliani at one point remained seated when the courtroom deputy asked everyone to rise for the judge ahead of a break.

In another instance, POLITICO reported that Giuliani made “minimal” eye contact with Freeman, Moss, the judge, and anyone else in the courtroom.

Sibley acknowledged that Giuliani acted wrong, saying a court already determined that he said lies about the women. But Sibley insisted that the violent threats and racist remarks received by Freeman and Moss weren’t because of Giuliani’s words, but were because of a collective of MAGA-induced hate after the election.

“There’s no question these claimants were harmed,” he said. “They didn’t deserve what happened to them. But what happened to them happened because of a controversy involving a lot of people, not just Rudy Giuliani.”

However, as he was leaving court, Giuliani couldn’t help but badmouth Freeman and Moss, telling ABC News’ Terry Moran that he has “no regrets” while likely continuing to defame the pair.

“When I testify, the whole story will be definitively clear that what I said was true, and that, whatever happened to them–which is unfortunate about other people overreacting–everything I said about them is true,” Giuliani said. “Of course I don’t regret it. I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”

When pressed that there is no proof to verify Giuliani’s claims, he replied, “You’re damn right there is. Stay tuned.”

Editorss note: The headline of this story was changed to correct Giuliani’s quote from “death sentence” to “death penalty.”

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