Trump ally Rudy Giuliani files for bankruptcy following defamation case

Giuliani was ordered to pay a $148m penalty for falsely accusing two 2020 election workers of facilitating fraud.

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani guided New York through the shock of the 9/11 attacks and became known as 'America's Mayor' [File: Bonnie Cash/Reuters]

Rudy Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy, just days after he was ordered to pay $148m to two former Georgia election workers he falsely accused of fraud as he worked to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election loss.

The former mayor of New York, in a bankruptcy petition seeking protection from his creditors on Thursday, listed assets of between $1m and $10m and liabilities of up to $500m.

The largest of his debts is the $148 million a federal jury in Washington, DC ordered him to pay on December 15 to Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss for repeatedly making false claims that they engaged in 2020 election fraud.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed with a New York bankruptcy court also listed debts ranging from the hundreds of thousands to the millions of dollars to the Internal Revenue Service, New York tax authorities and his former lawyers and accountants.

“Unknown” amounts were also recorded as being owed to Hunter Biden, former president Joe Biden’s son, and the voting machine companies Dominion and Smartmatic.

Hunter Biden, Dominion and Smartmatic have all filed lawsuits against Giuliani. They are ongoing.

A spokesperson for Giuliani said the bankruptcy filing will give him time to appeal the $148m penalty and ensure that other creditors are treated fairly.

“No person could have reasonably believed that Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be able to pay such a high punitive amount,” spokesperson Ted Goodman said.

The 79-year-old Giuliani was found liable in August by US District Judge Beryl Howell of defaming Freeman and Moss, both Fulton County poll workers, with his 2020 election lies on behalf of Trump.

An eight-person federal jury awarded Freeman and Moss more than $16m each for defamation, $20m each for emotional distress and $75m in punitive damages.

Giuliani, who led Trump’s legal efforts to overturn the results of the election, posted a video of the pair that falsely accused them of engaging in fraud during ballot counting and made numerous other baseless claims about them.

Freeman and Moss, who are Black, told the jury during the four-day trial that Giuliani’s false accusations upended their lives and made them the target of racist threats.

“The flame that Giuliani lit with those lies and passed to so many others to keep that flame blazing changed every aspect of our lives, our homes, our family, our work, our sense of safety, our mental health,” Moss said.

The defamation case is just one of a number of legal challenges facing Giuliani, who has been indicted on racketeering charges in Georgia along with Trump and others for allegedly conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results in the southern state.

Giuliani was New York mayor from 1994 to 2001, guiding the city through the shock of the September 11, 2001 attacks and becoming known as “America’s Mayor” – before signing up as Trump’s personal lawyer while he was in the White House.

Source: Reuters