Judge does not dismiss election officials’ lawsuit against Giuliani

Kate Blumback | The Associated Press

ATLANTA — A federal judge on Monday refused to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed against former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani by two women who served as election workers in Georgia in November 2020.

In a lawsuit filed last December, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shay” Moss falsely claimed Giuliani was involved in election fraud while counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. In an attempt to change the outcome of the Georgia presidential election, Giuliani alleged that a mother-daughter pair pulled out a suitcase of illegal ballots and He repeatedly made unsubstantiated allegations that he had committed other fraudulent acts.

In a statement accompanying Monday’s order, U.S. District Court Chief Beryl Howell in Washington described the situation after the November 2020 election. At this time, the vote totals in several major states were so close that the results were not immediately apparent.

“When election officials across the state worked diligently and long hours to ensure election accuracy, the Trump campaign and its allies, including Giuliani, engaged in media attacks to question their work at best. , at its worst,” Howell wrote.

Moss has been with the Fulton County Elections Office since 2012, overseeing absentee ballots for the 2020 election. Her mother, Freeman, was a temporary election worker who verified signatures on absentee ballots and prepared them for counting and processing.

After false allegations about them spread online, the two women said they faced intense harassment, both in person and online. Moss detailed her experience in her emotional testimony before a U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The commission also played video testimony from Freeman at the hearing in June.

Moss, who is black, said he got the message. I am told that I will go to jail with his mother. And he says things like, ‘I’m glad he’s in 2020 instead of 1920.’ ”

“A lot of them were racist,” Moss said. “A lot of them were just disgusting.”

In court filings in June, Giuliani argued that the case should be dismissed because the allegations against him were unsatisfactory and were hampered by First Amendment protections against free speech. Howell dismissed these allegations and allowed the case to proceed.

“Despite state officials and private groups repeatedly ranting against the Trump campaign’s allegations of voter fraud in the Georgia elections, Giuliani has pushed the very claim and, in the process, directly attacked the plaintiffs. began attacking them,” Howell wrote.

A lawyer representing Giuliani in the defamation lawsuit did not immediately respond to an email Monday seeking comment on the ruling.

“Shay Moss and Ruby Freeman served their community and country. In return, Rudy Giuliani and his allies and others told a vicious lie that turned their lives upside down.” said one of their attorneys, von Dubose, in a news release.

Giuliani’s dissemination of unsubstantiated allegations about Freeman and Moss caught the attention of Fulton County District Attorney Fanni Willis, who accused Trump and others of illegally influencing the 2020 Georgia election. Willis told Giuliani’s lawyer that he could face criminal charges in the investigation.

The defamation lawsuit originally named right-wing cable news channel One America News Network and its owners, as well as the White House’s chief correspondent, for pushing unsubstantiated allegations. They were dismissed from the lawsuit in May after reaching an undisclosed settlement with Moss and Freeman.

The two women also filed a defamation lawsuit against The Gateway Pundit, its owner Jim Hoft, and his brother Joe Hoft, a contributor to the conservative website. is pending in Missouri.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/10/31/judge-wont-dismiss-election-workers-suit-against-guiliani/ Judge does not dismiss election officials’ lawsuit against Giuliani

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