Giuliani Files for Bankruptcy After Judge Rules Georgia Election Workers can Collect $148m

Giuliani Files for Bankruptcy After Judge Rules Georgia Election Workers can Collect $148m – Following defamation lawsuits from two election workers, Rudy Giuliani has declared bankruptcy, facing a $148.1 million damages judgment against him. One expert said the move would probably not mean Giuliani had a “clean slate over the damages”, though it was likely to make recovering them a “long road” for the election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss.

On Thursday, court records revealed that Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s ex-attorney and former New York City mayor, filed for bankruptcy protection in the southern district court of New York. “No person could have reasonably believed that Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be able to pay such a high punitive amount,” Giuliani’s political adviser, Ted Goodman, said in a statement. 

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“Chapter 11 will afford Mayor Giuliani the opportunity and time to pursue an appeal, while providing transparency for his finances under the supervision of the bankruptcy court, to ensure all creditors are treated equally and fairly throughout the process.” Despite the standard 30-day waiting period for payment collection, Beryl Howell acknowledged that Giuliani, demonstrating reluctance and uncooperativeness, was an exception for Freeman and Moss, the Georgia workers.

“Nowhere in opposition does Giuliani promise not to hide assets from plaintiffs,” the district court judge wrote in a court order on Wednesday. “Nor does he contend, let alone demonstrate with documentary or other proof, that he would be unable to satisfy the judgement or in part.” Freeman and Moss filed a lawsuit against Giuliani, alleging he falsely accused them of tampering with absentee ballots in Atlanta during the 2020 presidential election.

Claiming they were attempting to sway the election in favor of Joe Biden. In court, they detailed experiencing harassment and death threats, asserting that Giuliani, then working for Donald Trump, had singled them out, causing significant emotional distress. Following a four-day trial earlier this month, a jury rendered a verdict of defamation against Giuliani, mandating him to pay $148.1 million to the two women, in addition to $237,000 in lawyer fees.

In her order, Howell noted that Giuliani and his legal defense team argued that paying for damages is “the civil equivalent of the death penalty” that will be “the end of Mr Giuliani”, yet Giuliani’s lawyers have not responded to requests for evidence of any financial difficulties. Howell remarked that the court observed instances such as Giuliani engaging a spokesperson to accompany him during the trial.

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“Such claims of Giuliani’s ‘financial difficulties’ – no matter how many times repeated or publicly disseminated and duly reported in the media – are difficult to square with the fact that Giuliani affords a spokesperson, who accompanied him daily to the trial,” Howell wrote. Freeman and Moss’s legal representatives highlighted Giuliani’s “substantial assets” in New York and Florida, including a Florida condo and a co-op apartment in New York. 

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Despite Giuliani withdrawing his $3 million Palm Beach condominium listing in 2020, the IRS imposed a lien on it in October due to unpaid taxes amounting to nearly $550,000. Additionally, Giuliani put his Upper East Side co-op on the market for $6.5 million in August. The lawyers suggested that while Giuliani’s assets might only cover a fraction of the judgment, there is a considerable risk of him attempting to conceal or sell them off if granted a 30-day window before collection.

“There is a substantial risk that Defendant Giuliani will find a way to dissipate those assets before Plaintiffs are able to recover,” the lawyers said in court documents. In his bankruptcy filing, Giuliani disclosed assets ranging from $1 million to $10 million and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. He noted undergoing credit counseling before initiating the bankruptcy process.

Chapter 11, a segment of US bankruptcy law, provides protection to entities as they reorganize, granting a temporary shield from creditors with court approval. On Monday, Freeman and Moss initiated another lawsuit, seeking a court order to prevent Giuliani, who persistently accuses them of election interference, from disseminating further falsehoods about them. 

Despite the recent damages trial, Giuliani maintained he had “evidence in defense” without presenting any during the proceedings. “I am quite confident when this case gets before a fair tribunal it will be reversed so quickly that it will make your head spin and the absurd number that just came in will help that, actually,” he said after the verdict. 

According to Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University, Giuliani’s bankruptcy filing is unlikely to nullify the awarded judgment amount. “The bankruptcy filing will put things on hold. It doesn’t mean necessarily that Giuliani will be able to discharge his debt [or] wipe the slate clean,” Levenson said. 

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“As the bankruptcy court sorts it out, he still may be on the hook for the $148m judgement,” she added. Levenson added, though, that it would be a “long road” for Freeman and Moss to get their money. “And, it may be very true that this individuals may not get their money,” Levenson said, adding that others who have sued high-profile figures, like Alex Jones, have not received funds. 

But Levenson added that Rudy Giuliani would probably have to give money he makes in the future to Freeman and Moss. Levenson added that it was “no surprise” that Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy. “Frankly, he doesn’t have the money to pay this judgment and there are more coming,” Levenson said.

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