On Tuesday, a federal judge denied a motion from Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to dismiss a defamation suit from two Georgia election workers who appeared before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
D.C. District Court Judge Beryl Howell said Giuliani contributed to “increasingly outlandish paranoia,” as he pushed claims that the election was stolen.
“Defendant Rudolph Giuliani— a current media personality and former politician once dubbed ‘America’s mayor’—propagated and pushed that false narrative,” Howell wrote.
Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman, the two behind the suit, are the two witnesses who appeared before the Jan. 6 panel. They claimed that Giuliani’s accusations, particularly involving a video repeatedly shared by him accusing them of counting fraudulent ballots, changed their lives. The suit covers defamation as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Howell wrote that Giuliani “orchestrated and implemented a strategic plan” around his fraud claims and the allegations his campaign made against Moss specifically, noting that the plan “provide[s] ample circumstantial evidence of a civil conspiracy between Giuliani and members of the Trump Campaign.”
Howell’s denial means that the trial will now be placed in the discovery phase, which will allow Moss and Freeman to demand more evidence from Giuliani.
Moss appeared before the Jan. 6 committee in June for the group’s fourth hearing. She reviewed what had happened since she and her mother were pinpointed in the video shared by Giuliani.
“It’s affected my life in a — in a major way. In every way. All because of lies. For me doing my job, same thing I’ve been doing forever,” Moss said. “This turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card. I don’t transfer calls. I — I don’t want anyone knowing my name.”
Moss says that a mob of people, who she claimed were Trump supporters, eventually turned up at Moss’s grandmother’s house and attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of Moss and Freeman. Freeman was later advised by the FBI to leave her home.
“I stayed away from my home for approximately two months. It was horrible. I felt homeless. I felt, you know, I can’t believe — I can’t believe this person has caused this much damage to me and my family,” she said in a clip played by the committee.
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