Rudy Giuliani concedes he made defamatory statements about Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss in an effort to resolve their lawsuit against him and to satisfy a judge who has considered sanctioning him.
The late-night Tuesday filing from Giuliani says he doesn’t contest Moss and Freeman’s accusations that he smeared them after the 2020 election. Yet the filing says he still wants to be able to argue that his statements about voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 election were protected speech. Notably, he also refuses to concede that his statements caused damages to Moss or Freeman.
CNN has reached out to a lawyer for Freeman and Moss.
The new filing doesn’t immediately resolve the case against Giuliani, which had taken a thorny turn for the former prosecutor and New York City mayor after a judge cautioned him earlier this month that he could lose the lawsuit or face severe sanctions for not gathering his own records in a thorough way and turning them over to Moss and Freeman’s team as they move through the case.
The federal judge, Beryl A. Howell of the DC District Court, must still look at Giuliani’s filings from Tuesday, which also try to provide explanations for why he didn’t search his records more thoroughly.
It’s also not clear how criminal prosecutors from the Justice Department’s special counsel’s office, who have interviewed Giuliani, will perceive the unusual move Giuliani is making in the lawsuit.
His phrasing in his court filing makes clear Giuliani is attempting to have his concessions only apply to the lawsuit, in an attempt to avoid consequences from the judge for avoiding turning over documents.
In his court filing, Giuliani specifically said he “does not contest” that assertions he made about the women – whom he accused of being part of a vote-manipulation scheme in Georgia – “were false.”
“Defendant Giuliani concedes solely for the purposes of this litigation … that Defendant Giuliani made the statements of and concerning plaintiffs,” his filing said. “He does not dispute for the purposes of this litigation, that the statements carry meaning that is defamatory per se.”
Hours after making the filing, a political adviser to Giuliani issued a statement further parsing Giuliani’s concessions.
“Mayor Rudy Giuliani did not acknowledge that the statements were false but did not contest it in order to move on to the portion of the case that will permit a motion to dismiss,” Ted Goodman, the Giuliani adviser said.
“This is a legal issue, not a factual issue. Those out to smear the mayor are ignoring the fact that this stipulation is designed to get to the legal issues of the case.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
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