(NEW YORK) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is on trial in Washington, D.C., this week for defaming Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Giuliani, acting on behalf of former President Donald Trump, accused the mother and daughter of committing election fraud while the two were counting ballots on Election Day in Georgia’s Fulton County.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in August awarded a default judgment to the two women, leaving this week’s trial to determine the full scope of the damages and any penalties Giuliani will have to pay. Freeman and Moss are seeking between $15.5 million and $43 million.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Dec 14, 4:17 PM EST
Jury asks for expert witness report, but judge declines
After more than two hours of deliberation, jurors submitted a question to the judge seeking access to a report prepared by communications expert Dr. Ashlee Humphrey, who testified for the plaintiffs.
Judge Beryl Howell reported that the jury submitted a note requesting to see Dr. Humphreys’ complete report on the online reach of Rudy Giuliani’s defamatory claims, as well as a PowerPoint presentation that was used by attorneys for plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss during arguments.
Because attorneys for Freeman and Moss did not enter the report or the slides into evidence, the judge denied the jury’s request.
Jury members returned to their deliberations after the judge informed them of her response.
Dec 14, 2:10 PM EST
Keeping Giuliani off the stand was ‘smart move,’ says ex-prosecutor
As the jury deliberates how much Rudy Giuliani will have to pay for defaming former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, a former Georgia prosecutor says that Giuliani and his attorney may be trying to play the long game.
“Any time you concede liability in a trial to focus on damages, it’s a difficult situation,” said former Georgia prosecutor Chris Timmons, an ABC News contributor. “What they appear to be doing is suggesting the damages aren’t that serious — or at least aren’t seven figures.”
But Timmons suggested that a broader strategy might be at play — one that protects Giuliani from legal exposure in other criminal matters and leaves open the door for appealing the result of this trial.
“Strategically, keeping Mr. Giuliani off the stand was a smart move when you look at this case in the context of his overall legal exposure,” Timmons said. “If Mr. Giuliani had testified, his testimony would be admissible in all of his other cases,” including his criminal racketeering case in Fulton County, Georgia.
In his defamation case, Timmons said, “what they’re really counting on is a reversal by the court of appeals holding that Mr. Giuliani’s statements are ‘opinions,’ which aren’t actionable under defamation law.”
Dec 14, 1:57 PM EST
Jury deliberations underway
Judge Beryl Howell read from a lengthy jury instruction form that reminded jurors that their sole responsibility is to quantify the damages Rudy Giuliani will have to pay to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss for defaming them.
The judge emphasized that the court has already determined Giuliani’s statements to be defamatory and untrue.
She told jurors that, in assessing the full scope of damages, they must assume that Giuliani withheld financial records and other documents that Freeman and Moss were entitled to access during the discovery process.
Dec 14, 12:44 PM EST
‘Rudy Giuliani is a good man,’ his attorney says in closing
Wrapping up his closing statement, Giuliani attorney Joseph Sibley acknowledged that his client must pay something to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, but encouraged the jury to issue a measured punishment — in spite of how Giuliani has conducted himself this week.
“Rudy Giuliani is a good man,” Sibley told the jurors. “I know some of you may not think that, and he hasn’t exactly helped himself with some of the things that happened in the last few days.”
“I know he’s done things that are wrong,” Sibley said. “I know these women have been harmed. I’m not asking for a hall pass for that.”
Nevertheless, Sibley said, the damages must be “in some way tied to what the actual damages are” and “more closely related to the actual damage number.”
“Send a message to America that we can come together with compassion and sympathy,” Sibley said. “And I think we need that.”
Dec 14, 12:29 PM EST
Lawyer concedes Giuliani wrongdoing but decries penalty
“Irresponsible.” “Wrongful Conduct.”
Those are some of the descriptions of Rudy Giuliani’s behavior toward Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss that came from Giuliani’s own lawyer during his closing argument.
Attorney Joseph Sibley conceded to jurors that his client had wronged Freeman and Moss. He also applauded what he called the “genuine” and powerful testimony from the two women.
But he implored jurors to levy a more measured penalty against Giuliani than the “catastrophic” sum requested by the two plaintiffs.
When jurors consider the cost of Giuliani’s defamatory statements, Sibley said, they might say of Giuliani: “You should’ve been better. But you’re not as bad as they made you out to be.”
Sibley also implored jurors to discount the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses, framing their delivery as “rehearsed.”
“I almost wanted to look at the ceiling to see if the lawyers were puppeteering the witness,” Sibley joked.
Sibley called the testimony of Dr. Ashlee Humphreys, who estimated that the cost to repair the reputations of Moss and Freeman is between $17.8 million and $47.4 million, “patently absurd,” especially given that “people who believe this stuff are still going to believe it no matter what.”
Dec 14, 11:51 AM EST
Attorney for Freeman, Moss asks jurors to ‘send a message’
Plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Gottlieb concluded his closing arguments with a plea for jurors to “send a message” with their verdict.
“Send it to Mr. Giuliani,” he said. “But send it to every other powerful figure … who is considering whether they’ll take this chance … to assassinate the character of ordinary people.”
Gottlieb said Giuliani “abused his notoriety” and “access to power” to “scapegoat Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss,” telling jurors “he has no right to offer up two civil servants to a virtual mob.”
“Facts matter,” he said in closing. “Truth is truth. And you will be held accountable.”
Giuliani attorney Joseph Sibley will present his closing arguments after a short break, after which the case will go to the jury.
Dec 14, 10:58 AM EST
Freeman, Moss entitled to $24M each, attorney argues
Michael Gottlieb, an attorney for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, asked jurors to award $24 million to each women — a total cost to Giuliani of $48 million — during his closing argument.
Gottlieb warned jurors that Joseph Sibley, an attorney for Giuliani, would call that sum an “outrageous and unfair amount.”
“But it isn’t,” Gottlieb said. That figure is “not even close” to the reputational damage prompted by Giuliani’s defamatory statements.
“This isn’t a mathematical calculation,” Gottlieb said. Jurors must “determine in dollars and cents” seemingly arbitrary factors such as the two women’s “standing in the community” and “reputational harm.”
Gottlieb said Freeman and Moss have experienced “what it’s like to become the targets of some of the most powerful men on the planet” and that they continue to know “full-well those men are still out there, saying the same things and making the same calls to action.”
Dec 14, 10:50 AM EST
In closing argument, lawyer uses Giuliani’s own words against him
In closing arguments, plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Gottlieb used Rudy Giuliani’s own words against him, playing video of the former mayor’s exchange with ABC News’ Terry Moran outside of court on Monday.
Giuliani told Moran, “Everything I said about them is true” and that the women “were engaged in changing votes,” referring to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
“That is a fiction,” Gottlieb told jurors. “And it ends today.”
Gottlieb also cited a passage from Giuliani’s best-selling book, “Leadership,” in which Giuliani said his father instructed him from a young age not to bully or attack vulnerable people.
“Those are wise words,” said Gottlieb. “If only Mr. Giuliani had listened.”
Dec 14, 10:43 AM EST
Defense rests its case without calling any witnesses
When jurors entered the courtroom, Trump attorney Joseph Sibley rested his case without presenting any witnesses or entering any records into evidence.
An attorney for Freeman and Moss then began his closing argument.
Dec 14, 9:49 AM EST
Giuliani was warned by judge about making additional claims
Prior to the unexpected announcement this morning that Rudy Giuliani will not testify in his own defense, the former mayor had repeatedly told reporters that he looked forward to presenting his side of the story at trial.
“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 told ABC News’ Terry Moran on Monday.
When court reconvened the following morning, a visibly frustrated Judge Beryl Howell admonished Giuliani, suggesting his remarks “could support another defamation claim.”
She reiterated the court’s prior ruling that Giuliani’s allegations against Freeman and Moss were untrue and warned him against raising arguments that she has already ruled on.
Dec 14, 9:09 AM EST
Giuliani won’t testify, attorney says
In an unexpected twist, Rudy Giuliani will not testify in his defamation trial, an attorney said as court convened this morning.
Giuliani told reporters on Wednesday that he “intends” to testify today in his own defense.
In a preview of what he might have said on the stand, Giuliani claimed he “had nothing to do with any of those” racist voicemails and emails shown in court.
Dec 13, 5:34 PM EST
Giuliani disavows racist messages
Leaving court, Rudy Giuliani said he had nothing do to with the racially charged messages to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss that were presented in court.
“I had nothing to do with any of those,” Giuliani told reporters.
“My name isn’t there. It doesn’t refer to me,” the former mayor said. “I don’t even know who those people are.”
Dec 13, 5:10 PM EST
Moss, Freeman rest their case
Ruby Freeman stepped down from the witness stand after almost 90 minutes of emotional testimony as the final witness in her and her daughter’s case against Rudy Giuliani.
The defense rested its case, and Judge Howell sent jurors home for the day.
Court was subsequently adjourned until tomorrow, when the defense is scheduled to present its case.
Giuliani is expected to take the stand.
Dec 13, 4:52 PM EST
Freeman tearfully testifies she left her home due to threats
Wiping away tears, Ruby Freeman described being forced to leave her house for two months — and ultimately having to move out — because of the threats she received after she was falsely accused of manipulating ballots.
Freeman said she was advised to leave her home by the FBI. She then stayed in different Airbnbs.
“I couldn’t stay at home,” Freeman said. “I was just too scared and my neighbors were having to watch out for me.”
Freeman sobbed as she recounted how she lost the ability to use her name in her new home. She said she is too scared to introduce herself to her neighbors.
“I have a home but I can’t do anything,” Freeman said.
Dec 13, 4:43 PM EST
Freeman calls Trump’s call to Georgia officials ‘mean’ and ‘evil’
Then-President Donald Trump invoked Ruby Freeman’s name more than a dozen times in his infamous phone call to Georgia officials on Jan. 2, 2021, when Trump implored Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to win him the state.
After an audio recording of the call was later made public, Freeman described hearing her name come out of the mouth of the “most powerful person on Earth,” as her attorney characterized Trump.
“Where’s Ruby?” Trump could be heard asking Raffensperger, referring to an expression that was then trending online.
“I just felt like, ‘Really?'” Freeman testified. “The president, talking about me? Me? How mean, how evil.”
“I just was devastated,” she said. “It made me feel like, you don’t care that I’m a real person.”
Dec 13, 4:29 PM EST
Jury shown lynching threats that ‘terrorized’ Freeman
Jurors were shown a smattering of the racially charged threats Ruby Freeman received after video of her and her daughter counting ballots at State Farm Arena on election night circulated online.
The emails flooded her inbox on the night of Dec. 3, 2020, with several invoking lynching and references to the Ku Klux Klan.
One email, from an account called Grand Wizard with the email name “kkk” said, “Safest place for you right now is in prison. Or you will swing from the trees.”
Another suggested the government hang her and her daughter from the “Capitol dome,” saying, “I pray that I will be sitting close enough to hear your necks snap!”
Several of the messages accused her of being a traitor or “SCUM.”
“I received so many on my phone that at one point my phone crashed,” Freeman testified. “I felt horrible. I felt terrorized. I was scared … people are coming to kill me. They have my address, they have my phone number, they know my name.”
Freeman testified that two days later, on Dec. 5, 2020, people began to show up at her house and she was forced to call the authorities.
While on the phone with police, Freeman said people were “banging” on her door.
“Not only am I getting phone calls and emails and stuff, now you’re actually coming to the house,” Freeman testified. “I was scared.”
Dec 13, 4:10 PM EST
Freeman gives judge infamous ginger mint at heart of allegations
When Rudy Giuliani accused Ruby Freeman of “surreptitiously” passing her daughter a USB drive while the two were counting ballots on Election Day at State Farm Arena — a central tenet of his false claims about the two women — what he actually saw, according to Freeman, was something far less sinister: a ginger mint.
As Freeman took the stand, her attorney entered a ginger mint into evidence — and Freeman passed the judge a ginger mint, too.
“I’m going to use this,” Judge Beryl Howell said.
Freeman explained that she always has the candies with her. She passes them out to clients of her clothing boutique and those in need.
“I felt that it was healthy,” she testified.
Freeman, who always went by “Lady Ruby,” said she can no longer use her nickname publicly or in business.
“I can’t use my name anymore, so I’m not Lady Ruby,” she said as her voice cracked. “Sometimes I don’t know who I am.”
Dec 13, 4:02 PM EST
Ruby Freeman takes the stand
Ruby Freeman, the mother of Shaye Moss and her former co-worker in the Fulton County elections office, has taken the witness stand.
Freeman introduced herself to the jury as “Lady Ruby” as questioning got underway.
Giuliani’s unfounded claims about the two women prompted a deluge of threats that ultimately drove Freeman from her suburban Atlanta home, she told ABC News’ Terry Moran in an exclusive interview last year.
Dec 13, 3:03 PM EST
Giuliani lawyer scrutinizes expert’s credibility
Giuliani attorney Joseph Sibley scrutinized the credibility of the communications expert whose report on the reach of Giuliani’s defamatory statements underpins the plaintiffs’ request for tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Dr. Ashlee Humphreys, an expert witness for plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, fielded questions about the methodology she used to compile a report on the reputational harm that was done to the mother and daughter. Sibley sought to poke holes in that research as part of an effort to cast doubt on her findings.
“Reputation repair campaigns such as this are common,” Humphreys said in response.
Sibley also highlighted Humphreys’ participation as an expert witness in other cases, including in the defamation lawsuit filed against former President Trump by the writer E. Jean Carroll, and a case involving the conservative media outlet Gateway Pundit.
Noting that her past expert witness work exclusively targeted right-wing figures, Sibley asked, “Is there a reason for that?”
“No,” she replied.
Dec 13, 12:39 PM EST
Fixing plaintiffs’ reputations will cost up to $47M, says expert
Communications expert Dr. Ashlee Humphreys, testifying for the plaintiffs, estimated that the cost to repair the reputations of Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman is between $17.8 million and $47.4 million.
Humphreys said that her assessment found that Giuliani’s defamatory statements about the two election workers had a “significant, negative and long-lasting” impact on Moss and Freeman’s reputations.
“To repair reputational harm is not easy,” Humphreys said.
A repair campaign for Moss and Freeman would include circulating statements in multiple media outlets, hiring influencers, and running media advertisements over a long period, Humphreys testified.
Dec 13, 12:26 PM EST
Plaintiffs’ expert says accusations reached wide audience
Dr. Ashlee Humphreys, an expert in sociology and communications, took the stand for the plaintiffs to testify about the reach of Giuliani’s false election fraud claims online and on social media.
Humphreys said that prior to December 3, 2020, “there was practically no search traffic” for Ruby Freeman. After that day, Humphreys said there was a “dramatic increase over a period of months.”
Humphreys said some of the search terms between December 2020 and January 2021 were “Ruby Freeman arrested,” “Ruby Freeman fraud” and “Ruby Freeman FBI.”
During her testimony, Humphreys walked through her analysis of the total number of times content had been displayed to uses, known as “impressions.” Her impression analysis of several videos and posts by Giuliani and former President Trump included a Dec. 23, 2020, podcast in which Giuliani mentioned Moss and Freeman, which Humphreys said received between 584,855 to 807,751 impressions.
An advertising post by the Trump campaign that falsely claimed Freeman and Moss stuffed ballots in suitcases received between 8 million and 18.2 impressions, Humphreys said.
Some of the statements Humphreys said she found in her research were from Giuliani’s “strategic communications plan” to challenge the election results, which included references to Moss and Freeman.
Dec 13, 10:58 AM EST
Judge asks Giuliani to explain latest remarks
Lawyers for Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman said they may rest their case today.
The attorneys expect Freeman to take the stand this afternoon following Dr. Ashlee Humphreys, an expert who will testify about the reach of Rudy Giuliani’s statements and the reputational impact of those statements on Freeman and Moss.
Before the jury was seated, Giuliani was asked by Judge Beryl Howell to explain remarks he made after court and online Tuesday night, after she admonished him earlier Tuesday about comments he made on Monday.
“I did,” Giuliani said about making Tuesday’s remarks, “but I don’t think they violated the order. If I did, it was accidental.”
“I will not do it in the future,” he said.
In a video streamed Tuesday night on X, formerly Twitter, Giuliani said, “They’re seeking $40 million. Oh yeah. They’re seeking $40 million for the damage that I allegedly did to them. One of them did testify that she has no money, they do have an endless number of lawyers in the courtroom, however, for people that don’t have any money.”
Dec 13, 9:05 AM EST
Plaintiffs to call expert on reputation repair
Day 3 of the trial is scheduled to begin with a witness deposition video, finishing up the series of deposition videos that was played in court yesterday.
Plaintiffs’ attorney are then expected to call an expert witness to the stand to testify about the impact of Giuliani’s statements.
The testimony is expected to address the estimated cost to repair the damage done to Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman’s reputations.
Dec 12, 5:51 PM EST
Giuliani refrains from commenting on case
After court was adjourned for the day, Rudy Giuliani told reporters outside court that he would not comment on the case after the judge slammed the remarks he made after court Monday.
“I’m not going to discuss the case anymore because it seemed to get the judge annoyed,” he told reporters.
Court will resume Wednesday morning.
Dec 12, 5:08 PM EST
Court adjourns for the day
Following Shaye Moss’ testimony and the playing of several video depositions, Day 2 of the trial adjourned for the day.
When court resumes on Wednesday, Michael Gottlieb, an attorney for Freeman and Moss, said he plans to show one final deposition video of poll observer Pamela Michelle Branton.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys also plan to call an expert witness to testify about the impacts of Giuliani’s false accusations, according to court papers filed in the case.
Dec 12, 4:55 PM EST
Attorneys play video depositions from Giuliani aides
Attorneys for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss played excerpts from previously recorded video depositions with Trump associate Bernie Kerik and attorneys Christina Bobb, and Jenna Ellis in part to demonstrate Giuliani’s leading role in efforts to uncover evidence of systemic election fraud.
They never found it.
Kerik, the former police commissioner in New York City, described a document in the team’s legal playbook, which included a section about Freeman. Bobb, a onetime attorney for then-President Trump, described the makeup of Giuliani’s legal team.
In the recording of Ellis, a former Trump attorney, she repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as attorneys for the two women peppered her with questions about her work with Giuliani in the aftermath of the election.
Dec 12, 4:20 PM EST
Shaye Moss concludes testimony
Shaye Moss concluded her testimony after several hours on the witness stand.
Excerpts from a taped video deposition with Giuliani associate Bernie Kerik, the former police commissioner of New York City, is next on the docket.
Kerik worked with Giuliani to try overturn the results of the 2020 election. He received a pardon from then-President Trump earlier that year on felony fraud charges dating to 2009.
Dec 12, 4:01 PM EST
Moss describes ‘homework’ from therapist
Shaye Moss grew so fearful for her life after threats poured in that she stopped going out in public, and only recently, she testified, did she build up the courage to leave her home alone, without security.
She did so at the behest of her therapist.
“That was actually her homework for me,” Moss said of her therapist’s request that she visit a public place by herself.
“I did once,” Moss said.
She testified that she drove alone to a local restaurant, where she found a quiet seat located at the end of the bar.
“I was so terrified. I felt extremely nauseous,” she said. “I was very proud of myself. But unfortunately I have not been able to do that again.”
Dec 12, 3:38 PM EST
Moss breaks into tears under cross-examination
Shaye Moss broke into tears under a line of questioning from defense attorney Joseph Sibley about the adverse health effects she attributes to Giuliani’s defamatory statements about her.
Sibley asked Moss to repeat the names of two mental health diagnoses she received from therapists since the 2020 election. When Moss intimated that she had additional ailments that could be tied to Giuliani’s conduct, Sibley asked, “What other issues do you have?”
Moss’ attorney objected to the question. As the judge consulted privately with counsel from both parties, Moss held her hands to her face and could be seen wiping tears from her cheeks.
Shortly before this exchange, Moss said her mental anguish had been exacerbated by her inability to work. She described conversations with her therapist about taking time to heal before jumping back into a job.
“Before, I had purpose, at least,” Moss said. Now, she said, “most days I pray God won’t wake me up and I disappear.”
Dec 12, 3:16 PM EST
Moss says spread of election lies akin to Olympic torch relay
Under cross-examination by Giuliani attorney Joseph Sibley, Shaye Moss was asked how she could be sure that it was his client’s remarks that inspired throngs of strangers to level racist and vile threats against her and her family.
Moss said those strangers “were parroting his exact words.”
She testified that right-wing news outlet Gateway Pundit and the Trump campaign used language similar to Giuliani’s in smearing her.
“It was like the torch for the Olympics,” she said. “They pass it from person to person to person.”
Dec 12, 2:57 PM EST
‘I want to receive some type of justice,’ Moss testifies
Shaye Moss returned to the witness stand after the midday break to be questioned by Giuliani attorney Joseph Sibley, who asked her about her efforts to rehabilitate her reputation — probing what steps she has taken to mend her name online.
Moss said she had pays a service $140 per year to monitor her name online and protect her identity, but that “it’s incredibly difficult” to repair her reputation “when powerful people keep spewing lies about us.”
“How could you work in law if people were saying, like, that you were a horrible lawyer?” Moss asked Sibley.
“You’d be surprised,” Sibley quipped.
Asked how much money she believes she is owed for Giuliani’s lies, Moss said, “I’m relying on the experts.”
“I want to vindicate myself,” she said. “I want to receive some type of justice.”
Dec 12, 12:59 PM EST
Moss says she felt like ‘worst mom’ for exposing son to racist threats
It wasn’t just Moss and Freeman who bore the brunt of Giuliani’s false fraud accusations, Shaye Moss testified. Her grandmother and son also suffered after the former mayor falsely accused Moss and Freeman by name.
“I feel like it’s my fault. Maybe if I was satisfied being in the mail room … then maybe it would not have happened,” Moss said regarding her promotion to election worker.
Moss said her 16-year-old son struggled in school after being exposed to racist threats against their family — and went from a comic-obsessed “bookworm” to flunking the ninth grade.
“Racism is real. And it comes out,” Moss recalled telling him. “I felt like the worst mom ever to allow him to have to hear this, to experience this day after day after day.”
Moss also said she harbors guilt for the treatment of her grandmother. Strangers would repeatedly send pizzas to her house under fake, racist names, Moss testified. The delivery person would expect payment upon arrival, she said.
“My grandmother has lived through all this racist crap. I mean, we’re from Georgia … miles and miles of cotton fields as we drive to the beach,” Moss said. “It’s history, but we have to go through this.”
Dec 12, 12:48 PM EST
Ordeal left her with ‘major depressive disorder,’ says Moss
In emotional testimony, Shaye Moss described how, following the 2020 election, her mental health spiraled out of control over the course of 2021 — a period during which she said her life fell into a rhythm of “Cry, eat, sleep. Cry, eat, sleep.”
“I’m like a hermit crab now. Obviously, I look totally different,” she said. “I’ve gained 70 pounds. I realize I stress-eat.”
“I don’t trust anyone,” she added.
After seeking therapy, she told her therapist about her nightmares — that a mob would arrive at her house “with nooses, with pitchforks and signs,” and that her son would find her hanging.
“The look of shock on [the therapist’s] face, the look of disbelief — it kind of scared me,” she said. “I felt bad for releasing all that on the therapist.”
Moss says she was diagnosed with “acute stress disorder.” Months later, she met with a different therapist who made a more serious diagnosis: “major depressive disorder with acute distress,” Moss said.
Dec 12, 12:17 PM EST
Job prospects deteriorated after accusations, Moss testifies
One interlude from the aftermath of the 2020 election demonstrates how Moss’ career prospects deteriorated, she testified.
Moss said she felt so disillusioned with election work by mid-2021 that she sought work elsewhere. She applied for a job at a Chick-fil-A restaurant and secured an interview.
“I was dressed up. I had my notebook with my resume. I was excited, I was ready,” Moss said.
The interview “went great,” she said, even though she realized that, without relevant experience, she would be asked to do menial tasks.
“I had made up my mind that, oh well, I’ll have to start at the bottom,” she testified. “And if I can work my way up at [voter] registration, I can work my way up here.”
Before leaving, however, the interviewer showed her an article on his laptop and said, “Tell me about this. Is this you? Is this true?”
The article featured an image of her face with the word “Fraud” plastered across it.
“The more he was talking, the more I just tuned it out,” Moss said. “I was so shocked, I was so embarrassed … I just had to leave. I just left.”
Dec 12, 11:58 AM EST
Moss, through tears, describes life after Giuliani’s accusations
Shaye Moss felt dejected and fearful after Rudy Giuliani’s defamatory statements and accusations about her proliferated online — prompting the veteran election worker to change her appearance and leave her job.
John Langford, an attorney for Moss, displayed emails and messages she received on social media in late 2020, as her name circulated online in right-wing media. One read, “Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.”
The chilling message, which she said made her “afraid for my life,” prompted her to assume a new physical identity.
“I went into my hair salon and I asked my stylist to make it so the same person she saw walk in here is not the person who leaves,” Moss recalled.
Her stylist, she said, “dyed it a strawberry blond color.” A selfie Moss took the following day showed her with a “puffy face from crying all night.”
Though her hair changed, Moss said she returned to work after “the worst Christmas” of her life, determined to return to normalcy.
“My goal was still to make sure that everything was ready for our next election, that everything ran smoothly,” she testified.
Instead, she recalled, “Things ain’t never returned to normal.”
Moss left the Fulton County elections office in April 2022 after she was passed over for a promotion.
“It felt like a slap in the face,” she said, because she sensed that her superiors thought it would look bad for the county.
“I wanted to retire a county worker, like my grandma — make her proud, make my mom proud — but…” she said, trailing off in tears.
Rudy Giuliani, seated at the defense table, showed little emotion as Moss wept on the witness stand. Leaning with his elbow on the table, the former mayor took intermittent notes as she testified.
Dec 12, 11:30 AM EST
Moss says seeing election fraud claims made her ‘immediately fearful’
A visibly upset Shaye Moss described what happened on Dec. 4, 2020 — the day her boss informed her about the deluge of “nasty, hateful, violent” messages directed at her from online users accusing her of election fraud.
Moss said when her supervisor summoned her to his office, she thought she might be in line for a promotion. Colleagues smiled and gave her a thumbs up as she waded through their cubicles, she recalled.
Instead, Moss testified, she was shown social media posts accusing her of manipulating ballots.
“I am shown these videos, these lies, everything that’s been going on that I had no clue about,” Moss recalled. “I was confused, I was immediately fearful.”
After returning to her desk, Moss said she “couldn’t concentrate” for the rest of the day.
Dec 12, 11:20 AM EST
Shaye Moss describes election job as ‘winning the golden ticket’
Taking the witness stand, Shaye Moss described the pride she felt as an election supervisor in Fulton County — the position she held on Election Day in 2020.
Moss began her career in elections in 2012 as a temporary worker in the Fulton County elections office mail room. Five years later, she said she secured a promotion to permanent work.
“I worked really hard for that position. I was so excited I literally dropped to my knees and cried,” Moss said. “It was like winning the golden ticket with Willy Wonka. I was so proud of myself.”
Moss said she felt proud to work in elections and took particular delight in helping the elderly and others who found it difficult to cast their ballots. She said her grandmother inspired her to pursue a career in elections.
“No, I did not like my job — because I loved my job,” Moss recalled. “It would make my grandmother proud … my grandmother enjoyed telling her friends … that her grandbaby runs the election.”
Dec 12, 10:32 AM EST
Georgia investigators dispel election fraud claims
Two state investigators who examined allegations that Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss conspired to manipulate ballots on Election Day explained in video depositions how those claims were probed and found to be untrue.
Frank Braun and Frances Watson, both investigators with the Georgia Secretary of State at the time, explained that Freeman, Moss and their colleagues returned to State Farm Arena late on Nov. 3, 2020, after the secretary extended hours for counting ballots, to help expedite the process — not, as Rudy Giuliani and others suggested, to rig votes.
“There was no evidence that suggested they did anything wrong, except show up to work and work hard,” Braun said in his video deposition.
Watson, the chief investigator at the time, said that Giuliani’s remarks about manipulated ballots at State Farm Arena were “not accurate.”
Dec 12, 9:51 AM EST
Judge blasts Giuliani for ‘additional defamatory’ remarks
Judge Beryl Howell admonished Rudy Giuliani for making “additional defamatory comments” about Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss late Monday when he told ABC News’ Terry Moran that he stands by his false statements about the two women.
Giuliani told Moran as he departed the courthouse Monday that “everything I said about them is true” and that the women “were engaged in changing votes.”
Those comments “could support another defamation claim,” Howell told Giuliani’s attorney, Joseph Sibley, as court resumed Tuesday morning. “How do you reconcile those comments?”
“I wasn’t there,” Sibley said. “I don’t know how that’s reconcilable.”
When Howell asked if Giuliani denied making those comments, Giuliani rose his voice and said, “Of course I did.”
The trial has “taken a toll on him,” Sibley said. “He’s 80 years old … I can’t control everything he does.”
Howell then questioned Giuliani’s age, capacity and acuity — and whether that might be an issue in the case. “Can he follow instructions?” she asked.
“The answer, of course, is yes,” Sibley replied, adding again that “sitting through a multi-day trial” has been hard for Giuliani.
The judge appeared visibly frustrated while chastising Giuliani and his attorney over his remarks. Giuliani, reclining in his chair at the defendant’s table, shook his head at times.
Dec 12, 9:19 AM EST
Moss expected to testify this morning
Shaye Moss is expected to take the witness stand this morning on the second day of her defamation damages trial against Rudy Giuliani.
At the trial’s first day yesterday, an attorney for Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, described how Moss “started to have nightmares” as hundreds of strangers flooded her phone and social media with threats of violence and racist remarks — including “nightmares of her son finding her hanging from a tree alongside her mom.”
Moss “will explain the humiliation she felt” trying to apply for another job at a Chick-fil-A restaurant, the attorney added, where her interviewer found an article about scrutiny of Moss after the election and asked her, “Is this you?”
A day after Giuliani was slammed by plaintiffs’ attorneys for remarks he made to the press following yesterday’s proceedings, the former mayor ignored questions from reporters as he made his way into the courtroom this morning.
Dec 11, 11:03 PM EST
In filing, plaintiffs’ attorneys slam Giuliani’s remarks to press
In a filing late Monday, attorneys for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss are accusing Rudy Giuliani and his attorney of crafting arguments at trial that run afoul of the court’s prior ruling that Giuliani’s defamatory statements about the mother and daughter were false.
The filing cites ABC News’ reporting on correspondent Terry Moran’s exchange with Giuliani as the former mayor departed court, during which Giuliani said that he “told the truth” about Freeman and Moss “changing votes,” and that he should not be held accountable for the conduct of “other people overreacting.”
“According to public news reports, upon leaving the courthouse, Defendant Giuliani stopped to say to an assembled group of the press: ‘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,'” the filing says, quoting ABC News’ report.
“Needless to say,” attorneys for Freeman and Moss write, “were Defendant Giuliani to testify in a manner remotely resembling those comments, he would be in plain violation of the Court’s prior orders in this case conclusively affirming, and reaffirming, that all elements of liability have been established, including that Defendant Giuliani’s defamatory statements were false.”
Judge Howell in August awarded a default judgment to the plaintiffs, leaving the current trial to determine the amount of damages and any penalties Giuliani will have to pay. In their late Monday filing, the plaintiffs’ attorneys urged Howell to “instruct counsel for Defendant Giuliani that he has violated and is prohibited from further violating the Court’s orders by making arguments contrary to its prior evidentiary rulings.”
Dec 11, 6:31 PM EST
Giuliani insists Freeman, Moss were ‘changing votes’
Departing court after the first day of the trial, Rudy Giuliani told ABC News’ Terry Moran that he has no regrets about his treatment of Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss — and he doubled down on his core allegations about them.
“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 told reporters.
“Do you regret what you did to Ruby and Shaye?” Moran asked.
“Of course I don’t regret it,” Giuliani said. “I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”
“There’s no proof of that,” Moran responded.
“You’re damn right there is,” Giuliani retorted. “Stay tuned.”
Court will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET.
Dec 11, 4:51 PM EST
Expert describes racist content ‘on a level we don’t see’
Plaintiffs’ first witness in the case is a social media monitor who testified about the deluge of “racist and graphic material” targeting Freeman and Moss that appeared online after Giuliani began accusing them by name.
Regina Scott, a retired Chicago Police Department official who now works as a security and risk analyst, testified that negative mentions about Freeman and Moss surfaced online at a prodigious rate.
A report Scott prepared identified more than 710,000 mentions of Freeman and Moss between November 2020 and May 2023, and 320,000 mentions between Aug. 18, 2023, and Nov. 11, 2023.
“The type of violent and racist and graphic material, that’s on a level we don’t see at all in our work,” Scott said.
-ABC News’ Laura Romero
Dec 11, 3:49 PM EST
Damages sought are ‘civil equivalent of death penalty,’ says attorney
Joseph Sibley, an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, implored jurors to withhold judgment of his client and consider a “fair and proportionate” monetary penalty when the trial concludes, framing the $43 million sought by Freeman and Moss as a “truly incredible” figure.
“What the plaintiffs’ counsel are asking for in this case is the civil equivalent of a death penalty,” Sibley told jurors in brief opening remarks.
Sibley, in making his case to the jury, ceding before arguments even began that Giuliani made defamatory comments about Freeman and Moss — but he refuted the notion that his comments led to the abuse that followed.
“There’s really no question that these plaintiffs were harmed,” Sibley said. “They’re good people, they didn’t deserve what happened to them.”
But Sibley urged jurors to consider only “what can actually be attributed to Mr. Giuliani.”
“He never promoted violence against these women, never made racist statements about them,” Sibley said of Giuliani. “That was other random people.”
Dec 11, 3:38 PM EST
Damage to plaintiffs should cost Giuliani ’10s of millions’
Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss suffered a “perpetual nightmare,” their attorney Michael Gottlieb told the jury during his opening remarks, saying that the damage they suffered warrants an “award in the tens of millions of dollars.”
Gottlieb told jurors his clients suffered three types of damages — reputation, emotional and punitive — due to Giuliani’s “defamation campaign.”
In addition to the costs to “repair their reputation,” Gottlieb told jurors that Freeman and Moss’ award should account for lost wages, forced relocation, security expenses, and more.
-ABC News’ Laura Romero
Dec 11, 3:00 PM EST
Giuliani used accusers as ‘cornerstone’ of conspiracy, says lawyer
Rudy Giuliani sought to use Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss “as a cornerstone” of his campaign to denigrate the 2020 presidential election, prompting his followers to turn their ire toward the two election workers, their attorney, Von DuBose, told the jury in his opening remarks.
DuBose described how Giuliani slandered Freeman and Moss to his “massive national audience” and accused the mother and daughter of rigging ballots in President Joe Biden’s favor.
“None of that — none of that — is true. But the millions of people who heard the lies didn’t wait for confirmation,” DuBose said. “And the response from those Giuliani called to action was swift. It was racist.”
Dubose played audio recordings of several voicemails left on Freeman and Moss’ phones after Giuliani targeted them by name, including threats of violence and racist name-calling.
Many of the voicemails cited the USB drive Giuliani falsely told Georgia state legislators that the two were “surreptitiously passing around … as if they’re vials of heroin or cocaine.”
Then, DuBose said, “Words turned into action.”
“Strange people” showed up at Freeman and Moss’ home looking for them, DuBose said, with some attempting to “make citizens’ arrests.”
“This case is about how Giuliani … made their names a call to action for millions of people who did not want to believe” the results of the 2020 election, DuBose said.
Dec 11, 2:42 PM EST
Jury instructed on Giuliani’s defamatory comments
Judge Beryl Howell, following a break, delivered a lengthy statement to jurors about details of the case — including her determination that Rudy Giuliani has already been found liable for his defamatory comments.
Howell emphasized that the panel must assume that Giuliani failed to cooperate with his discovery requirements in the case in an effort to “artificially deflate” his net worth, and that jurors must understand that Giuliani benefitted financially from his defamatory comments about Freeman and Moss.
“Your job, ladies and gentlemen, is to determine the facts,” Howell said.
Howell reminded jurors that their sole responsibility is to determine the damages associated with Giuliani’s comments.
As Howell ticked through jury instructions, Giuliani intermittently shook his head and exchanged glances with his attorney.
Dec 11, 11:11 AM EST
Judge asks juror prospects about MAGA, QAnon slogans
Prospective jurors are commonly asked to divulge any affiliations with parties in the case, or preconceived views about them. But in this case — a heavily politicized matter involving election lies — Judge Howell’s questioning has veered into some of the cryptic slogans of the far-right movement.
Howell is asking prospective jurors whether they had ever used the expression “Let’s Go Brandon” — a common refrain among President Joe Biden’s detractors — or the hashtag “WWG1WGA,” a motto associated with the QAnon movement.
She is also asking jurors whether they follow Giuliani’s social media channels.
The prospective jurors reflect the unique makeup of nation’s capitol. Among those who have been questioned: a Defense Department official, a U.S. Forest Service official, a Defense Intelligence Agency official, and a woman who had worked for the Girl Scouts.
Dec 11, 10:40 AM EST
Giuliani faces Freeman, Moss for 1st time
When Rudy Giuliani entered the courtroom some 20 minutes late due to delays with the courthouse security line, it was the first time he shared a room with Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
Freeman and Moss kept their backs turned away from Giuliani as he entered the courtroom. Moss appeared to swivel her chair slightly to avoid facing him directly.
Giuliani took a seat at the defendant’s table alongside his attorney, Joseph Sibley.
While waiting for Giuliani, Sibley had asked Judge Howell’s permission for Giuliani to bypass the security line moving forward. She said she would discuss it with court personnel, but laid the blame at Giuliani’s feet for his arriving “tardily.”
Dec 11, 10:11 AM EST
Judge welcomes prospective jurors to courtroom
Judge Howell has begun reading instructions to dozens of prospective jurors, after proceedings were delayed slightly due to Giuliani’s late arrival and some apparent issues with juror paperwork.
Howell rose and swore in jurors before the selection process got underway. She emphasized that she would endeavor to seat an impartial and unbiased jury.
“The court has already determined that Mr. Giuliani is liable for defamation, and that Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss are entitled to receive compensation, including in the form of punitive damages, for Mr. Giuliani’s willful conduct,” Howell told jurors.
“The only issue remaining in this trial is for the jury to determine any amount of damages Mr. Giuliani owes to plaintiffs for the damage caused by his conduct,” Howell said.
Dec 11, 9:53 AM EST
Ruling could be another blow to Giuliani’s finances
The $15.5 million to $43 million that Freeman and Moss are seeking from Giuliani reflects the emotional distress and monetary losses associated with the former mayor’s defamatory comments, according to attorneys for the mother and daughter.
If the plaintiffs receive anywhere near those figures, it would mark the latest financial blow to a man who once raked in tens of millions of dollars through security consulting and speaking fees.
Judge Beryl Howell has already ordered Giuliani to pay Freeman and Moss upwards of $230,000 as a sanction for failing to comply with the discovery process of sharing information relevant to the case. In court filings over the summer, Giuliani’s lawyer asked the judge if Giuliani could defer payment, citing the former mayor’s “financial difficulties” as a result of fighting a slew of litigation elsewhere.
Giuliani stands to owe millions more if he loses cases brought by two voting machine companies and his own longtime personal attorney, among other legal challenges he faces. Giuliani has denied all claims.
Dec 11, 8:24 AM EST
Jury selection begins this morning
Jury selection in the case gets underway at the D.C. federal courthouse this morning, where eight Washington residents will be chosen to serve.
Jurors will be tasked with attaching a monetary value to the harm caused by the defamatory statements a judge found Rudy Giuliani liable for making in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.
When the parties arrive in court this morning, it will be the first time Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss face Giuliani in person.
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