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Judge upholds colossal defamation verdict against Rudy Giuliani

Disgraced ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bid to reverse a massive defamation verdict was rejected, leaving him owing $146m to two Georgia election workers that he defamed and possibly complicating his arguments in bankruptcy court.

US district court Judge Beryl Howell ruled on 15 April that the verdict, in which Mr Giuliani owes the titanic amount to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, still stands.

The judge wrote that the former mayor’s “threadbare arguments” fell “well short of persuading ‘the evidence and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom are so one-sided that reasonable men and women could not have reached a verdict in [plaintiffs’] favor.’”

Mr Giuliani filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December after a jury handed down the defamation verdict.

The man formerly known as “America’s Mayor” was seeking a “renewed judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative, a new trial” based on “five cursory arguments,” Judge Howell wrote in a scathing decision. The judge didn’t buy any of them.

The judge brutally dismissed one argument as “a critique delivered with obvious crocodile tears.”

Monday’s decision comes as Mr Giuliani sits in an “initial limited deposition” related to his bankruptcy case.

The Independent has reached out to Mr Giuliani’s spokesperson for comment.

This ruling could be damning for Mr Giuliani. His lawyers at a bankruptcy court hearing on 4 April hinged their arguments on the fact that the reversal of this defamation verdict could be altered.

Gary Fischoff, a lawyer for the former mayor, said that there was a “presumption by many in the case that the debtor owes $150m and that’s not going to change.”

He continued, “I don’t see why the debtor can’t be given the opportunity to propose a plan that deals with a much smaller universe of debt, and retains the Florida residence to live there at that time,” Mr Fischoff added.

Mr Fischoff’s argument opposed a motion from the Unsecured Committee of Creditors — a group of individuals and entities that Mr Giuliani owes — to compel him to sell his Florida condo. The lawyer also added that the former mayor is planning on spending the majority of his time in his Palm Beach condo rather than his Upper East Side apartment — his most valuable asset, documents show, and the one he intends to sell first.

A lawyer for the committee fired back that “in order for the Freeman judgment to become a non-player here, the judgment would have to be reduced by over 95 per cent.” But even in that scenario, the numbers still don’t work and “you have to sell the Florida condo.”

The bankruptcy court judge didn’t rule on the committee’s motion, but warned Mr Giuliani’s lawyers of potential “draconian” consequences to come compared to “simply marketing the Florida property.”


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