On Friday, December 15, a jury ordered Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to pay more than $148 million in damages for defaming election officials in Georgia by accusing them of fraud. The sum of the financial sanctions imposed against the lawyers of the former US president is a total of 150 million dollars.
Article by Alison Durkee for Forbes USA – translated by Flora Lucas
The Giuliani Affair
Rudy Giuliani was ordered to pay $148.3 million to Georgia election officials Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shay” Moss. Donald Trump’s lawyer falsely accused them of election fraud. In detail, Rudy Giuliani must pay $16.9 million to Ruby Freeman and $16.2 million to Wandra “Shay” Moss for defamation, as well as $20 million to each plaintiff for emotional distress and $75 million in punitive damages.
Rudy Giuliani was previously separately ordered to pay more than $133,000 in attorney fees in the case for failing to present evidence. The judge first ordered him to pay $89,173 personally, plus an additional unspecified amount in fees, and then ordered his company to pay $43,684, with Rudy Giuliani personally liable for the costs if his company fails to pay.
Penalties in Michigan
Far-right attorney Sidney Powell and her co-counsel have been sanctioned in Michigan over a voter fraud lawsuit filed in that state, which U.S. District Judge Linda Parker called “an historic and profound trial.” A judge originally ordered them to pay more than $175,000, but an appeals court reduced the penalties to $132,810.25 owed to the city of Detroit and $19,639.75 to the state.
Bail ordered by Fulton County
Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and other attorneys (Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Ray Smith and Robert Cheeley) were among 19 indicted in Fulton County, Georgia for trying to subvert the state’s 2020 election. Most of the accused attorneys were released on $100,000 bail, while Rudy Giuliani had to post $150,000 and Ray Smith and Robert Cheeley were released on lower bail of $50,000.
Fulton County Sentencing Negotiations
Sidney Powell must pay a $6,000 fine plus $27,000 in restitution, while Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis must each pay $5,000 in restitution, in addition to other non-monetary penalties such as community service and writing public letters of apology.
It’s unclear how much Donald Trump’s lawyers had to pay for their own legal fees, but the numbers seem staggering. Jenna Ellis has raised $218,175 (as of December 19, 2023) through her legal defense fund on GiveSendGo, an amount the fundraiser says is “far outweighed” by her actual legal fees, while John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark have raised $594,185 USD and USD 64,277. in their GiveSendGo fundraisers (both short of their $750,000 and $500,000 goals).
Rudy Giuliani has been sued by his former lawyer Robert Costello for $1.4 million in unpaid legal fees, including cases related to the 2020 US election. The former mayor has formed a political action committee and enlisted Donald Trump’s help to try to pay his legal fees fees, hosted a $100,000-a-plate fundraiser with the former president in September for Rui Giuliani’s legal defense fund, which raised more than a million dollars for the lawyer’s son.
Lawyers associated with Donald Trump have also suffered numerous non-financial consequences following the 2020 US election. Rudy Giuliani has had his license suspended and he, John Eastman and Jeffrey Clarke remain at risk of full disbarment. A new lawsuit has also been filed in Michigan seeking sanctions against Sidney Powell and his attorney for filing their lawsuit. According to that complaint, the two defendants allegedly committed professional misconduct, while Sidney Powell has already escaped a similar complaint against her in Texas. Jenna Ellis was also convicted in Colorado but not exonerated. Criminal charges filed in Georgia by attorneys who do not take plea deals also carry prison terms if convicted, with defendants facing five to 20 years in prison on the racketeering charges alone.
How much money will Donald Trump’s lawyers still have to pay?
Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell are still being sued for defamation by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion is seeking $1.3 billion in damages from two lawyers, while Smartmatic is seeking $2.7 billion in Rudy Giuliani’s lawsuit, in which it is named as a co-defendant along with Fox News and several of its anchors. Smartmatic’s lawsuit against Sidney Powell does not specify the amount of damages, but notes that his allegedly defamatory actions cost the company at least $1.2 million. Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and other lawyers still facing charges in Georgia could also face hefty fees if convicted, with racketeering charges alone carrying a maximum fine of $25,000.
Financial penalties from Donald Trump’s lawyers are just a fraction of the total costs allies of the former US president are facing for following his plan to rig the 2020 election and his lies about voter fraud. Fox News had to pay Dominion $787 million for airing false conspiracy theories on the channel linking the company’s voting machines to fraud, in addition to the network’s ongoing lawsuit against Smartmatic. Associated Press announced in May that the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, have so far paid nearly $900,000 in fines and restitution. Rudy Giuliani’s defamation judgment, rioter fines and Fox News settlement alone total nearly $1 billion, reports The Washington Post SATURDAY.
Second defamation claim in Georgia
Georgia election officials Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shay” Moss filed a second defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday after the lawyer continued to make false statements about them, perpetuating a false conspiracy theory. Prosecutors also asked the court to speed up its decision to order Rudy Giuliani to pay about $148 million in restitution, given the lawyer’s known financial problems. Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shay” Moss said the court should “immediately” lift the 30-day break on damages, citing the lawyer’s “many mounting debts” and fearing the latter will use the remaining time before forced to pay to “alienate or disperse property (that he has)” so that he does not have to honor his beliefs.
Several lawyers, such as Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, have played a central role in Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 US election. The Trump campaign and its allies have deployed a broad legal strategy to challenge the election results in court. leadership of Rudy Giuliani. However, almost all of the cases that have gone to trial have failed, and Donald Trump and his allies have continued to engage in other activities aimed at challenging the election results, which are now the subject of criminal charges. Rudy Giuliani helped Donald Trump pressure state officials and legislators to reject their states’ election results, for example, Kenneth Chesebro and John Eastman were involved in efforts to prevent Congress from certifying the vote count on January 6, 2021. Kenneth Chesebro was the architect of the “fake voter” scheme , in which Democratic Party officials submitted false voter rolls to Congress claiming that their state had been won by Donald Trump. The lawyers who did not enter plea deals in Georgia have all pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them, and Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman continue to resist and insist on false claims of voter fraud. “We didn’t do anything wrong,” John Eastman told CBS News in November, criticizing “the criminalization of political opposition and the threat to silence opposition political views,” while Rudy Giuliani claimed after his libel conviction that “what I said (about election officials ) was absolutely true.”
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