- Election workers’ attorney says bankruptcy “maneuver” won’t succeed.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani filed for bankruptcy Thursday after a jury hit him with more than $148 million in damages for defaming two Georgia election workers who received death threats after he falesly accused them of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“The filing should be a surprise to no one,” said Ted Goodman, a political adviser to Giuliani.
“No person could have reasonably believed that Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be able to pay such a high punitive amount,” Goodman said. “Chapter 11 will afford Mayor Giuliani the opportunity and time to pursue an appeal, while providing transparency for his finances under the supervision of the bankruptcy court, to ensure all creditors are treated equally and fairly throughout the process.”
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell opened the gate for the election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, to go after the money quickly, saying that Giuliani would likely try to “conceal and dissipate” his assets to avoid paying. Giuliani had repeatedly failed to comply with Howell’s instructions in the defamation case, and he has mounting debts to lawyers and others, Howell said.
In his bankruptcy petition, filed in a New York federal court, the former mayor estimates he has assets worth between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. He estimates he has between one and 49 creditors.
Bankruptcy ‘maneuver ‘ won’t succeed, election workers’ attorney says
It’s far from clear the bankruptcy petition will protect Giuliani from having to pay the election workers. The bankruptcy code blocks debtors from relief if their debts arise from certain forms of injurious conduct.
Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney and legal commentator, said on X (formerly Twitter) that a court judgment for defamation qualifies as the type of intentional conduct that isn’t dischargeable in bankruptcy.
In a statement provided to USA TODAY, Freeman and Moss attorney Michael Gottlieb said the bankruptcy filing wouldn’t protect Giuliani.
“This maneuver is unsurprising, and it will not succeed in discharging Mr. Giuliani’s debt to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss,” Gottlieb said.
In his bankruptcy petition, Giuliani said he owes nearly $1 million in federal and state taxes. He also mentions a claim by Hunter Biden tied to a lawsuit by President Joe Biden’s son. Giuliani describes that claim as “contingent” and “disputed,” terms he also uses to describe several other claims, including $148 million he owes Freeman and Moss.
Hunter Biden sued Giuliani in September for allegedly manipulating and distributing material taken from his laptop.
The defamation judgment is one of a host of legal and personal pressures that have been mounting against Giuliani. He has also been indicted alongside former President Donald Trump and others in a Georgia case that accuses him of participating in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Giuliani has pleaded not guilty.
The former mayor, who is also a former federal prosecutor, also has been fighting efforts to block him from practicing law.
On Monday, Freeman and Moss filed a second defamation suit against Giuliani for new comments disparaging the mother and daughter.
“Of course I don’t regret it,” Giuliani told reporters after the damages verdict. “I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”
Contributing: Bart Jansen
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