Rudy Giuliani has conceded that while acting as a lawyer for former President Donald Trump, he made false statements by asserting that two Georgia election workers had mishandled ballots while counting votes in Atlanta during the 2020 election.
The concession by Giuliani came in court papers filed on Tuesday night as part of a defamation lawsuit that the two workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, had brought against him in U.S. District Court in Washington in December 2021.
The suit accused Giuliani and others of promoting a video that purported to show Freeman and Moss — who are mother and daughter — of manipulating ballots while working at the State Farm Arena for the Fulton County Board of Elections.
In a two-page declaration, Giuliani acknowledged that he had in fact made the statements about Freeman and Moss that led to the filing of the suit and that the remarks “carry meaning that is defamatory per se.” He also admitted that his statements were “actionable” and “false” and that he no longer disputed the “factual elements of liability” the election workers had raised in their suit.
But Giuliani, insisting that he still had “legal defenses” in the case, said that he continued to believe his accusations about Freeman and Moss were “constitutionally protected” under the First Amendment. He also refused to acknowledge that his statements had caused the women any damage — a key element required to collect a judgment in a defamation case.
The declaration was filed as Giuliani was confronting potentially painful sanctions for having purportedly failed to live up to his discovery obligations in the case. It appeared to be part of an effort to move past the discovery phase, which had saddled Giuliani with crippling expenses.
In the declaration, he acknowledged making his concessions “to avoid unnecessary expenses in litigating what he believes to be unnecessary disputes.”
Michael J. Gottlieb, a lawyer for Freeman and Moss, said that Giuliani’s declaration conceded that his clients had “honorably performed their civic duties in the 2020 presidential election in full compliance with the law, and the allegations of election fraud he and former President Trump made against them have been false since Day 1.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.