In a surprising turn of events on Friday, a Judge in Ohio ruled that former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani must pay a $1.48 million judgment to a law firm that sued him over comments that they deemed libelous and damaging to their reputation. The ruling is a blow to Giuliani’s chances of avoiding the lawsuit, as he had previously filed a motion to dismiss the case.
The Ohio judge ruled that the law firm, Mossack Fonseca, was entitled to the judgment because Giuliani had made statements that suggested that the firm was associated with activities related to the Mueller report. The firm denied these allegations and sued Giuliani for defamation.
In its ruling, the Judge noted that Giuliani’s comments had been ‘reckless and irresponsible’ and that he had made the statements ‘with the intention to harm the reputation of Mossack Fonseca.’ The judge was also critical of Giuliani’s refusal to retract his comments, or offer an apology, noting that this was ‘highly disrespectful to the justice system.’
Giuliani has yet to comment on the ruling but is expected to appeal the decision. The lawyer already faces deep financial woes, including being unable to pay back a substantial loan he supposedly took to help finance his unsuccessful bid to be elected New York City Mayor in 2019.
The lawsuit is seen as a warning to public figures of various political and legal backgrounds, that they should exercise more caution when making public statements. It is a reminder that careless remarks could be costly for those who cannot afford it, and another step towards enforcing more accountability in the public sector.