According to media reports, ex-US President Donald Trump's former private lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been sentenced to pay damages totaling more than $148 million (€136 million) for defamation. The verdict was announced on Friday, according to US media, after two election workers sued Giuliani over a video in which he falsely accused them of voter fraud after the November 2020 presidential election.
A jury in the US capital Washington awarded Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss the million-dollar sum, as US media unanimously reported. Freeman and Moss, who are mother and daughter, were election workers in the US state of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election. Giuliani must therefore pay both plaintiffs around $37 million each for defamation and its psychological consequences for the women, as well as $75 million in damages.
The responsible US federal judge had already found former New York Mayor Giuliani guilty in August of defaming the two women. Giuliani did not testify in the trial, but told reporters outside the court that he did not regret his statements and that they were true.
After Trump's election defeat against Democrat Joe Biden in November 2020, Giuliani was a central figure in the elected incumbent's attempts to overturn the outcome of the election with the help of baseless allegations of fraud and thus stay in office. Shortly after the election in November 2020, he published a video of the two election workers during vote counting, in which he falsely accused the women of voter fraud and made other unfounded claims about them.
Giuliani falsely claimed after the election that aides like her had thrown out ballots for Trump and counted fake slips for Democrat Joe Biden. Moss and her mother were targeted by Trump supporters because they appeared on a video that was circulated.
Both women received national attention last year when they testified before the Congressional Committee investigating the Capitol attack. "I don't want to go anywhere anymore. I question everything," Moss said at the time. People threatened her and wished her death. The two women ultimately sued for damages and accused Giuliani that his claims had destroyed their reputation and led to numerous threats, including racist ones, against them. The two women are black.
Giuliani now has a number of legal problems. He was charged with Trump in a criminal case in Atlanta on allegations of election manipulation.
The 79-year-old was once highly respected as mayor of New York; after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he was celebrated as "America's mayor." Giuliani, who was born in 1944 in the New York borough of Brooklyn as the son of Italian immigrants, later became Trump's loyal companion.
Note: This article has been updated several times.