Rudy Giuliani has lost a lot due to his fanatical devotion to Donald Trump. Once referred to as "America's mayor," his reputation is now in tatters. He's broke and faces disbarment. The former mayor of New York city may very well lose his freedom as one of the 19 co-defendants charged in Georgia for conspiring to steal the 2020 presidential election. Despite all this, Giuliani's faith in his glowering orange idol has not wavered. He is even borrowing directly from Trump's playbook in defending himself in a lawsuit filed by two Georgia election workers he defamed as part of the attempted coup.
Here is the MAGA defense strategy: Refuse to admit error and instead double down on the very lies that led to so much legal trouble to begin with.
"Everything I said about them is true," Giuliani told reporters outside the courtroom Monday, repeating his false allegations that the two election workers, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, were "engaged in changing votes."
Giuliani's attempt to play this game is especially silly, as the judge has already ruled that he's guilty of defamation for repeatedly lying about Moss and Freeman.
"Of course I don't regret it," he snapped when asked if he had second thoughts about the lengthy campaign to smear the two women. Giuliani then played another card from the Trump B.S. deck, promising evidence was forthcoming: "Stay tuned." Trump uses this tactic to create the illusion that his lies are still being litigated, but of course, the promised "proof" never comes.
Giuliani's lawyer, Joseph Sibley, also tried this gambit during cross-examination of a witness on Wednesday, asking, "You know that today’s misinformation might be tomorrow’s truth?"
Of course, the false accusations against the two women are now four years old, and if there were a shred of evidence, it would have come out by now. Plus, defamation law is meaningless if every false accusation was rendered not false on the .000001% chance some proof manifests one day to validate a lie the defendant pulled directly out of his read end.
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Giuliani's attempt to play this game is especially silly, as the judge has already ruled that he's guilty of defamation for repeatedly lying about Moss and Freeman. The jury trial currently underway in Washington D.C. is merely about assessing how much Giuliani will owe in damages. The plaintiffs are asking for $43 million, but expert witness Ashlee Humphreys, a professor at Northwestern University, testified that they may deserve even more.
Throughout the week, lawyers have been laying out the damage Giuliani's lies have caused. They played tapes for the juries of the barrage of racist and threatening phone calls Moss and Freeman received from Giuliani's unhinged fan base. Then Moss took the stand to explain how she continues to suffer panic attacks, cannot find a job, and fears leaving her house due to Giuliani's targeting. Freeman testified that she's borrowed and spent over $100,000 to make her home safe from MAGA threats. Eventually, she told the court, she had to move after her address was circulated online.
Moss testified that she couldn't even get a job at Chick-Fil-A because the interviewer saw the lies about her online and demanded to know if she was the "traitor" Giuliani falsely accused her of being.
“I was scared to come home at dark, you know,” Freeman told the jury. “I was just scared, I knew I had to move.”
Moss sobbed during her testimony: "I’m most scared of my son finding me and or my mom hanging in front of our house on a tree having to get news at school that his mom was killed."
But to hear his lawyer speak, Giuliani's the real victim here. During arguments, Sibley pled poverty on his client's behalf, calling it the "civil equivalent of the death penalty" if the jury awards the women the millions they are asking for.
The arrogance is breathtaking. While Giuliani is no doubt cash-poor after all the trouble he's gotten into as a Trump stooge, he's still got a $5 million apartment to sell and a likely lucrative career as a right-wing propagandist. Meanwhile, Moss testified that she couldn't even get a job at Chick-Fil-A because the interviewer saw the lies about her online and demanded to know if she was the "traitor" Giuliani falsely accused her of being.
The underlying assumption tying Giuliani's behavior together is white privilege: A belief shared by him and his MAGA followers that he, a white man, should get to do whatever he wants to whomever he wants. And his victims, two Black women, are expected to simply take it. That it's the "death penalty" for Giuliani to lose his fancy Manhattan apartment. But when it comes to these two women suffering fear and poverty because of Giuliani's lies, he and his allies view that as the natural order that MAGA is meant to restore.
As Jamelle Bouie of the New York Times recently reminded us, Giuliani has always been a loudmouthed, unapologetic racist.
The easiest way to establish this is just to look at one of the formative moments of Giuliani’s political career. On Sept. 16, 1992, thousands of off-duty police officers crowded in front of New York’s City Hall to protest against Mayor David Dinkins. “The cops held up several of the most crude drawings of Dinkins, black, performing perverted sex acts,” Jimmy Breslin, the Newsday columnist, who was present at the riot, wrote. “‘Now you got a n****r right inside City Hall,’ one officer reportedly said,” Breslin continued. “‘How do you like that? A n****r mayor.’” Other officers chanted slogans like “Dinkins gotta go!” and “The mayor’s on crack!”
Giuliani walked right into this racist mob, jumped on stage, and declared Dinkens had to go. No wonder he liked Trump so much, as Trump ran for president in a similar fashion, as a way for racist whites to "reclaim" power after the historic election of a Black leader. In 1992, it was Dinkins. In 2016, Trump was gunning for President Barack Obama.
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Giuliani's unreconstructed racism may lead him to believe Black women have no rights he is bound to respect, but the same cannot be said for the judge, and hopefully for the jury. Certainly, the MAGA track record for the "no regrets" strategy shows it's not effective in defamation cases. Infowars host Alex Jones embraced belligerence as a strategy when sued by the survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting, who he had falsely accused of lying about the deaths of their children. His entitlement defense, however, did him no favors in court, and his legal penalties have reached $1.4 billion as a result.
Same story with E. Jean Carroll suing Trump for sexual assault and defamation after he falsely accused her of making up the story of him raping her in a department store in the 90s. Trump lost in court, leading to a $5 million decision in Carroll's favor. But then he went straight to CNN and defamed her again. So she re-upped her lawsuit and this time, there's a good chance she wins a lot more than $5 million. The D.C. judge has already warned Giuliani that, if he keeps lying about Moss and Freeman, they will have a chance to sue him again.
Giuliani's protestations of innocence are silly, but they fit into the larger MAGA mythology, which likes to pretend white men are the "real" victims and people of color and women are all-powerful oppressors. Giuliani has been leaning into this, by whining about how he is supposedly under-represented compared to Moss and Freeman.
What Giuliani is leaving out, of course, is that Moss and Freeman are represented by a non-profit legal firm called Protect Democracy. Without this help, it's unlikely-to-impossible that they would have been able to sue, as they weren't exactly swimming in cash even before Giuliani made it impossible for Moss to get a job. Giuliani, on the other hand, has the private representation he has enjoyed his entire career as a wealthy man. No doubt, Giuliani's audience knows all this. But such is the victim complex of the right that they are spinning this to paint him as the wronged party, because, ultimately MAGA believes it's the duty of both women and people of color to shut up and take white men's abuse.
about MAGA's recent legal woes