Giuliani seeks bankruptcy after $219m defamation case

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani is seeking bankruptcy after a $A219m defamation lawsuit.

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani is seeking bankruptcy after a $A219m defamation lawsuit. Photo: AAP

Rudy Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy, just days after he was ordered to pay $US148 million ($219 million) to two former Georgia election workers he falsely accused of fraud as he worked to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 US presidential election loss.

Guiliani, who was known as “America’s mayor” for his leadership of New York after the September 11, 2001, attacks, faces a crush of debts stemming from his work on Trump’s behalf.

He also faces criminal charges in Georgia.

In a filing in US Bankruptcy Court in New York, Giuliani said he had between $US100 million-$US500 million ($148 million to $74 million) in liabilities and $US1 million-$US10 million ($1.5 million to $15 million) in assets.

A spokesperson for Giuliani said the bankruptcy filing would give him time to appeal the $US148 million ($219 million) penalty and ensure that other creditors were 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.

US bankruptcy proceedings can enable people and companies to wipe away or reorganise their debts, and Giuliani’s filing will likely pause all of the pending lawsuits against him.

However, it may not allow him to duck the money he owes the election workers, as judges have ruled that defamation penalties cannot be discharged if a debtor has engaged in “wilful and malicious” conduct.

Aside from the former election workers, Giuliani also listed President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and a former employee, Noelle Dunphy, as creditors.

Hunter Biden has sued Giuliani for violating his privacy over data allegedly taken from his laptop, while Dunphy has sued him for sexual assault, harassment and wage theft. Giuliani has denied the allegations.

Dunphy’s lawyer Justin Kelton said they would not be deterred from pursuing her case.

Other creditors include Smartmatic USA and an employee of Dominion Voting Systems. Giuliani falsely accused both voting-machine companies of flipping votes from Trump to Biden, his Democratic rival in the 2020 election.

The two companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Giuliani also said he owed nearly $US1 million ($1.5 million) to the US and New York state governments and nearly $US2 million ($3 million) in legal fees. Two law firms that formerly represented Giuliani have sued him for unpaid bills.

As Trump’s personal lawyer, Giuliani led efforts to overturn his election loss through unsuccessful lawsuits and a wide-ranging effort to produce fake slates of electors in battleground states.

His seat-of-the-pants effort drew widespread ridicule. He scheduled a press conference at a “Four Seasons” in Philadelphia that turned out to be a landscaping company, not a luxury hotel. At another news conference, a dark substance, possibly hair dye, dripped down his face.

He called for “trial by combat” at a rally for Trump supporters on January 6, 2021, shortly before thousands of them attacked the US Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Trump’s defeat.

Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of election subversion in Georgia, along with Trump and more than a dozen other co-defendants.

He owes $US148 million ($219 million) to two former election workers, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman, who faced a deluge of threats after he falsely claimed they were engaged in voting fraud.

Giuliani has repeated those claims following the verdict even though he has admitted in court that they were defamatory, prompting the two workers to file a second lawsuit.

On Wednesday (US time), a federal judge ruled that Giuliani must immediately begin paying the two women, concluding there was a risk he may attempt to conceal his assets.


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