For Rudy Giuliani, legal troubles multiply

Lawsuits, charges pile up for former Trump attorney

One of the most prominent defendants in the Fulton County election probe is beset by a slew of legal problems and is struggling to pay attorneys or even comply with a judge’s orders.

In recent months, Rudy Giuliani has been found liable for false statements against two Fulton County election workers, recommended for disbarment and charged with racketeering for aiding Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

New developments suggest the former New York City mayor is having a hard time keeping up with his proliferating legal battles. Last week one attorney sued Giuliani for nearly $1.4 million in unpaid legal bills. And the judge in a defamation lawsuit brought by the election workers is considering additional sanctions against Giuliani for repeatedly ignoring court orders.

In July, he put his Upper East Side apartment on the market for $6.5 million. His lawyer, Adam Katz, said that Giuliani was “close to broke,” according to the New York Times.

Kim Frye, a Marietta defense attorney, said the multiplying legal problems and money woes do not bode well for Giuliani.

“He can’t defend himself in all those arenas and still pay his legal bills,” Frye said. “That’s really where he’s struggling.”

Two attorneys representing Giuliani in the Fulton County criminal case did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did a political advisor to the former mayor.

Rudy Giuliani walks to a senate hearing at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday, December 3, 2020. The Georgia Senate Committee on Judiciary has formed a special subcommittee to take testimony of elections improprieties and evaluate the election process. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

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Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Giuliani is one of 19 people charged in what prosecutors say was an illegal scheme to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. He faces 13 counts of racketeering, false statements, soliciting public officials to violate their oaths of office and other charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Besides Trump, Giuliani is perhaps the most well-known defendant in the case. A former federal prosecutor, he gained national renown as “America’s mayor” for his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2008, losing out to U.S. Sen John McCain.

But in recent years he is best known for repeatedly making false claims of election fraud involving the 2020 election. In Georgia, Giuliani unveiled video footage of Fulton election workers counting ballots on election night.

Giuliani said it showed workers counting illegal ballots after ordering Republican observers to leave. Investigators found it showed only normal ballot counting, and no one ordered the observers to leave.

201203-Atlanta- Jacki Pick points out what she considered suspicious activity on surveillance video of the Fulton County absentee vote counting room as she and Rudy Giuliani address a subcommittee of the state Senate judiciary committee at the State Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

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Credit: Ben Gray

Nonetheless, the video gained widespread attention and Giuliani continued to accuse the election workers – Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss – of fraud long after the claim had been debunked by state and federal investigators. The workers endured harassment and death threats and later sued Giuliani and two conservative media outlets. One America News Network settled one lawsuit, while another against the Gateway Pundit is pending.

In July Giuliani admitted his statements about Freeman and Moss were false. The judge in that case found him liable for false statements and ordered Giuliani to pay the plaintiffs $132,857 for attorneys’ fees because he had failed to turn over documents during the discovery process.

Last week, the judge ruled Giuliani had again failed to comply with a recent order to produce documents and pay the attorneys’ fees. She has directed the plaintiffs to submit a request for additional sanctions. In addition to any sanctions, Giuliani could owe damages to be determined at an upcoming trial.

Attorneys for Freeman and Moss declined to comment.

After facing criticism for failing to aid his co-defendants in Georgia, Trump held a $100,000-per-plate fundraiser at his Bedminster, N.J. country club to help defray Giuliani’s legal bills.

Some of Giuliani’s other legal battles include:

*Last week attorney Robert Costello, who has represented Giuliani in several cases, filed a lawsuit seeking nearly $1.4 million in unpaid legal bills. Costello represented him in numerous cases, including the Fulton County criminal probe and the election workers’ defamation lawsuit. Giuliani has called Costello’s charges excessive.

The New York Times recently reported that Giuliani owes nearly $3 million to various law firms.

*Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against Giuliani for claiming the company used its voting machines to steal the 2020 election. That lawsuit is still pending.

*In July a Washington, D.C., disciplinary panel recommended Giuliani should lose his license to practice law there because his “malicious and meritless claims (of election fraud) have done lasting damage.”

*This week Hunter Biden, the president’s son, sued Giuliani and Costello for violating his privacy over data allegedly taken from his laptop.

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

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Credit: Carolyn Kaster

*Although he was not charged, a recent federal indictment includes Giuliani as an unindicted co-conspirator who aided Trump’s effort to overturn the election.

*A former aide has filed a lawsuit accusing Giuliani of sexual assault and is seeking $10 million in damages. He has denied the allegations.

The Fulton County indictment may represent Giuliani’s greatest legal peril. Among other things, it cites his false statements about election fraud, his efforts to convince Georgia lawmakers to overturn the election and his efforts to organize slates of Trump presidential electors in states Biden won.

Giuliani has said he did nothing wrong, and the Fulton County indictment attempts to criminalize aggressive lawyering.

Giuliani has made few filings in the Fulton County case compared with some other defendants, who have flooded the court with motions. On Wednesday he filed a motion waiving his right to request a speedy trial under Georgia law in exchange for severing his case from co-defendants Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, who are scheduled for trial beginning Oct. 23.

Frye, the defense attorney, said the fact that Giuliani hasn’t paid legal bills is a bad sign.

“It’s very hard to defend yourself in a legal matter,” she said. “If he’s being sued for not paying his legal bills, he’s got more problems.”