Rudy Giuliani will concede that he made false and defamatory statements about two Georgia election workers who are suing him after becoming the targets of baseless conspiracy theories following the 2020 presidential campaign.
Giuliani's concession, which came in a court filing shortly before midnight on Tuesday, marks a significant milestone in a case that the former New York City mayor has fought for more than a year. But it has limits "- he states that although he'll no longer contest claims brought by Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, he may still fight paying damages and could still argue the statements were constitutionally protected speech.
He wrote that he was making the concession "solely for the purposes of this litigation."
Signaling fights ahead, Giuliani political adviser and spokesperson Ted Goodman said in a statement that Giuliani "did not acknowledge that the statements were false" but would no longer contest the claims "in order to move on to the portion of the case that will permit a motion to dismiss."
The filing came in response to a request by Freeman and Moss for a federal judge in Washington to order "severe" sanctions against Giuliani for failing to comply with his obligations to preserve and turn over electronic evidence in the case. Giuliani has continued to dispute that he violated evidence rules, but said he was conceding the facts of the case to resolve that issue.
Lawyers for Freeman and Moss did not immediately return a request for comment.
Freeman and Moss alleged Giuliani, who helped direct former President Donald Trump's post-election legal strategy, orchestrated a "defamatory campaign" falsely accusing them of committing election fraud to secure Joe Biden's win in Georgia.
State officials repeatedly disputed the fraud claims. Freeman and Moss were formally cleared of any wrongdoing in a report issued in June. But in the months after the election, the women said that they received a torrent of threats and harassment.
Freeman and Moss's attorneys highlighted a written strategy challenging election results that was attributed to Giuliani and identified the women by name. They alleged that he repeatedly published defamatory statements about them on multiple platforms, even after they filed the lawsuit.
The case, filed in federal court in Washington in December 2021, originally named the conservative One America News Network and several network hosts as defendants along with Giuliani. Freeman and Moss withdrew their claims against the network after reaching a settlement in May 2022. The terms are confidential, but OAN aired a report around that time stating Georgia officials had concluded that the two women didn't engage in fraud.
Giuliani lost a motion to have the case tossed out late last year. The litigation since has been mired in the fight over evidence. In June, US District Judge Beryl Howell ordered Giuliani to cover what it cost for Freeman and Moss's lawyers to successfully petition the court to force him to produce documents.
Giuliani is still facing defamation lawsuits filed by voting software companies Dominion Voting Systems Inc. and Smartmatic Corp. over his false election-fraud claims. His law license has been suspended in New York and he's facing disbarment proceedings in Washington over his post-election activities.
The case is Freeman v. Herring Networks Inc., 1:21-cv-03354, US District Court, District of Columbia.