Giuliani can fight $148 million defamation verdict, if someone else pays

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani departs defamation lawsuit at the District Courthouse in Washington
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By Dietrich Knauth

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Donald Trump's ex-lawyer Rudolph Giuliani on Tuesday secured a U.S. bankruptcy judge's approval to challenge a $148 million defamation verdict won by two former Georgia election workers after he showed that he would not be spending his own money to do so.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane entered a court order allowing Giuliani to seek a new trial and challenge the amount of damages awarded to Wandrea "Shaye" Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, whom Giuliani had falsely accused of fraud after former Republican President Donald Trump's 2020 election loss.

"We very much appreciate the judge's expeditious consideration of this matter and look forward to proceeding accordingly," Giuliani spokesman Ted Goodman said.

Lane prohibited Giuliani from spending his own money on further litigation in the Georgia defamation case, requiring the former New York mayor to pay his attorneys with donations received by two legal defense funds.

Lane signaled his intentions at a court hearing last month, but he said Giuliani must first provide more information about his donors.

Giuliani filed additional disclosures in court on Friday, which listed Elizabeth Ailes, the widow of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, among the donors.

Lane had previously expressed concern that a costly court battle could deplete Giuliani's resources and prevent him from paying Moss, Freeman, or any of the other people that have filed lawsuits against Giuliani.

Giuliani's creditors include Hunter Biden, who sued Giuliani for violating his privacy over data allegedly taken from his laptop, former employee Noelle Dunphy, who has accused Giuliani of sexual assault and wage theft, and the voting machine companies Dominion and Smartmatic, who sued Giuliani for defamation. Giuliani has denied the allegations.

Lane's order allowed Giuliani to challenge the size of the Georgia verdict, but not to pursue a full appeal. If Giuliani decides to appeal the Georgia defamation ruling, he must return to bankruptcy court for further approval.

Giuliani filed for Chapter 11 protection in December, just days after judgment was entered in the Georgia election workers' defamation case.

(Reporting by Dietrich Knauth; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)