Ex-NY mayor Giuliani files for bankruptcy

LEGAL TROUBLE. Former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy, days after being ordered to pay $148 million in a defamation lawsuit. / AP
LEGAL TROUBLE. Former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy, days after being ordered to pay $148 million in a defamation lawsuit. / APJose Luis Magana

NEW YORK — Rudy Giuliani filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, acknowledging severe financial strain exacerbated by his pursuit of former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and a jury’s verdict last week requiring him to pay $148 million to two former Georgia election workers he defamed.

The former New York City mayor listed nearly $153 million in existing or potential debts, including almost $1 million in state and federal tax liabilities, money he owes lawyers, and many millions of dollars in potential judgments in lawsuits against him. He estimated he had assets worth $1 million to $10 million.

Giuliani had been teetering on the brink of financial ruin for several years, but the eye-popping damages award to former election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss pushed him over the edge. The women said Giuliani’s targeting of them after Republican Trump narrowly lost Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden led to death threats that made them fear for their lives.

Not off the hook

But declaring bankruptcy likely won’t erase the $148 million verdict. Bankruptcy law doesn’t allow for the dissolution of debts that come from a “willful and malicious injury” inflicted on someone else. A judge said Wednesday that Freeman and Moss could start pursuing payment immediately, saying any delay could give Giuliani time to hide assets.

After the verdict, Giuliani repeated his stolen election claims, insisted he did nothing wrong and suggested he’d keep pressing his claims even if it meant losing all his money or going to jail. His rhetoric prompted Freeman and Moss to sue him again this week.

The Dec. 15 verdict was the latest and costliest sign of the mounting financial toll incurred by the 79-year-old Giuliani, a one-time Republican presidential candidate and high-ranking Justice Department official once heralded as “America’s Mayor” for his calm and steady leadership after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Once swimming in cash as a globetrotting security consultant, Giuliani’s money woes intensified amid investigations, lawsuits, fines, sanctions and damages related to his work helping Trump try to overturn the 2020 election.

Lawsuits

Among his potential debts, he listed lawsuits brought by two voting machine manufacturers who say he and others defamed them with claims of a stolen election.

Giuliani’s other lawsuits, which he listed as potential liabilities, include one brought against him by Biden’s son Hunter, who alleges Giuliani was responsible for the “total annihilation” of his digital privacy by accessing and sharing his personal data from his laptop computer.

Giuliani is also being sued by a woman who said she worked for him. She alleges he owed her nearly $2 million in unpaid wages and coerced her into sex. Another lawsuit involves a man who claims Giuliani defamed him after he slapped the ex-mayor on the back at a supermarket. Giuliani has denied the woman’s claims and has asked for the man’s lawsuit to be thrown out.

In August, Giuliani was indicted with Trump and others in Georgia on charges he acted as Trump’s chief co-conspirator in a plot to subvert Biden’s victory.

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