Rudy Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy in New York, one day after a judge ordered him to immediately start paying the nearly $150 million in damages he owes two former Georgia election workers over defamatory claims about the 2020 presidential election.
Giuliani, who helped spearhead Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, estimated his liabilities as being from $100 million to $500 million in his filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. For the estimated worth of his assets, he put $1,000,001 to $10 million.
Giuliani’s bankruptcy lawyers said in a statement that the filing “should be a surprise to no one.”
The attorneys, Heath Berger and Gary Fischoff, added: “No person could have reasonably believed that Mayor Giuliani would be able to pay such a high punitive amount” from the Georgia defamation case.
Last week, a federal jury in Washington awarded $148 million to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss after harrowing testimony from the mother and daughter about how their lives were upended by Giuliani’s lies. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell reduced the jury’s award by roughly $2 million but ordered Trump’s onetime personal lawyer to start paying.
Giuliani had been subject to a customary 30-day waiting period before payment is enforced, but Freeman and Moss asked the judge to waive that pause. They argued that Giuliani already had failed to pay court-ordered fees he owed them and that he is saddled by other legal debt. They also said he could have potentially used the waiting period to hide his assets.
Howell ultimately agreed, adding to Giuliani’s pile of money woes.
“Chapter 11 will afford Mayor Giuliani the opportunity and time to pursue an appeal, while providing transparency for his finances under the supervision of the bankruptcy court, to ensure all creditors are treated equally and fairly throughout the process,” Giuliani’s lawyers said in their statement.
However, bankruptcy protection cannot stave off all of Giuliani’s debts. As my MSNBC colleague Jordan Rubin explained earlier this week:
Notably, Giuliani can’t automatically make his obligation to Freeman and Moss disappear simply by declaring bankruptcy, because bankruptcy protections don’t apply to willful and malicious conduct, as Alex Jones learned in the Sandy Hook case recently. And plaintiffs have ways they can go after civil defendants, such as by garnishments and liens.