Giuliani’s Huge Defamation Verdict Might Make Some Rethink Attacks

Two citizens courageously fought back against the powerful

Vanessa Gallman
2 min readDec 16, 2023


Illustration by DonkeyHotey on Fllickr

The $148-million defamation verdict against former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is a well-deserved victory for two Atlanta women he falsely accused of helping steal the 2020 election from former president Donald Trump.

Whether Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, will get the full award — $75 million of it for punitive damages — remains to be seen. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, says he will appeal, but it’s also uncertain he even access to hat much money.

And while he earlier admitted his remarks “carry meaning that is defamatory per se,” he said after the verdict that his comments were true. He takes no responsibility for the threats that forced the women out of homes and jobs.

Still, the unanimous verdict sends important messages:

  • That powerful people can be held to account for unfair attacks and the reactions they cause. Political speech has gotten so violence-prone since Trump’s “Big Lie” that the FBI has warned about a hike in domestic terrorism.
  • That election workers, including volunteers, should be respected. The Department of…



Vanessa Gallman

Experienced journalist, educator and retired opinion-page editor with occasional musings