Rudy Giuliani
Rudy GiulianiReuters

Former New York Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has conceded that he made public comments falsely claiming two Georgia election workers committed ballot fraud during the 2020 presidential race, but is arguing that the statements were protected by the First Amendment, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

That assertion by Giuliani, who was part of Trump’s legal team tried to overturn results in battleground states, came in a filing Tuesday in a lawsuit by Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss.

Their lawsuit, dated December 2021, accused Giuliani of defaming them by falsely stating that they had engaged in fraud while counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

The lawsuit says Giuliani repeatedly pushed claims that Freeman and Moss — mother and daughter — pulled out suitcases of illegal ballots and committed other acts of fraud to try to alter the outcome of the race.

Though Giuliani is not disputing that the statements were false, he does not concede that they caused any damage to Freeman or Moss, according to AP. That distinction is important because plaintiffs in a defamation case must prove not only that a statement made about them was false but that it also resulted in actual damage.

Giuliani’s statement was attached to a filing arguing that he did not fail to produce evidence in the case and should not be sanctioned as Freeman and Moss had requested.

Giuliani political adviser Ted Goodman said in an email Wednesday that the filing was made “in order to move on to the portion of the case that will permit a motion to dismiss.”

Giuliani and others alleged during a Georgia legislative subcommittee hearing in December 2020 that surveillance video from State Farm Arena showed the election workers committing election fraud. As those allegations circulated online, the two women said, they suffered intense harassment, both in person and online.

Giuliani asked the judge to toss the lawsuit, arguing the claims against him were barred by First Amendment protections for free speech. The judge rejected that request, allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who are investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results, have both shown interest in what happened to Moss and Freeman, according to AP.

Smith’s team has subpoenaed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office for any Election Day video from State Farm Arena. Willis sought testimony about a curious episode in which prosecutors say a woman traveled from Chicago to Georgia in January 2021 and tried to pressure Freeman into falsely confessing to committing election fraud.

Giuliani has been subject to sanctions and lawsuits over his efforts for Trump to overturn the results of the election in court by filing lawsuits in key states after the 2020 vote.

Giuliani's law license was temporarily suspended in New York in June of 2022. At the time, a court ruled "there is uncontroverted evidence" that Giuliani "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at reelection in 2020."

A month later, Giuliani's law license was also suspended in Washington, DC.

He was subpoenaed last year by the House select committee which investigated the January 6 Capitol attack, but backed out of his appearance after the panel refused to allow him to record the interview.