The judge presiding over the defamation case two 2020 election Georgia poll workers brought against Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday called out former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney over his absence from court, according to multiple newsreports.
Giuliani has already been found liable for defaming Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, but the case is scheduled to go on trial Monday to determine any damages Giuliani will have to pay the two women.
The former New York City mayor failed to appear in court for a pretrial hearing, prompting questions by Judge Beryl A. Howell.
“How could you have missed that? Or did you miss it?” Howell reportedly asked Giuliani’s lawyer, Joseph Sibley.
Sibley claimed responsibility for his client’s absence, saying he misread the judge’s directive.
“It’s my fault,” Sibley said, also pushing back on a question about whether he was “falling on his sword” for Giuliani.
Howell set a Wednesday deadline for Giuliani to commit in writing to not contest any of the decisions reached during Tuesday’s hearing.
Over the weekend, Howell rejected a last-ditch effort by Giuliani to stop the case from going to a jury trial.
Freeman and Moss sued Giuliani in 2021, saying they feared for their lives after becoming targets of harassment once he falsely accused them of engaging in voter fraud during the 2020 race to hurt Trump.
They also testified before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection about the damage the conspiracy theories spread about them caused them.
Giuliani, over the summer, admitted he made defamatory statements about the two Fulton County election workers but contested that those words damaged the two women, adding that he still has a right to assert constitutional speech protections.