A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Rudolph W. Giuliani to immediately pay the $148 million he owes to two former Georgia election workers for falsely accusing them of manipulating ballots after the 2020 election, citing concerns that he might “conceal his assets” if he were allowed to wait.
The decision by the judge, Beryl A. Howell, was the latest legal defeat for Mr. Giuliani, who is facing an array of woes for his efforts three years ago to keep former President Donald J. Trump in office after his election defeat. But even though Judge Howell ordered speedy payment, there is no indication that Mr. Giuliani, whose long-running financial problems have only been intensifying, has anywhere near the amount he owes.
On Monday, a few days after a jury in Washington imposed the damages on Mr. Giuliani, the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, asked Judge Howell to waive the standard 30-day waiting period and force him to pay them as soon as possible.
In their request to Judge Howell, the women, who are mother and daughter, said that Mr. Giuliani had already failed to obey other court orders in the case related to money that he owed them. They also noted that Mr. Giuliani, a onetime U.S. attorney and mayor of New York, was being hounded by his creditors, including his former lawyer, and was saddled by “significant debts threatening his personal solvency.”
“There is especially good reason,” lawyers for the women wrote, “to believe that defendant Giuliani intends to evade payment of the judgment by any means he can devise.”
In a 13-page order, Judge Howell agreed with virtually everything Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss said about Mr. Giuliani, who admitted that he lied about the women in advance of his trial this month to determine damages in Federal District Court in Washington. Before the trial began, Judge Howell found that Mr. Giuliani was liable for defamation, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
At the trial, Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss described how they were subjected to a torrent of threats and racist abuse after Mr. Giuliani, then the personal lawyer to Mr. Trump, directed his millions of social media followers to watch a video of them in a Georgia vote counting center, asserting without any basis that they were cheating Mr. Trump as they counted votes on Election Day.
“Giuliani just messed me up, you know,” Ms. Freeman told the jury.
The decision on Wednesday to speed up the payments was warranted, Judge Howell wrote, given Mr. Giuliani’s history as an “uncooperative litigant.” The judge said he had a record of disregarding her orders to pay the women’s legal fees and costs related to requests for discovery material.
“Giuliani feebly counters concerns about him hiding assets, stating that there is no evidence in the record of any attempt by him to dissipate assets,” she wrote. “This statement simply ignores the ample record in this case of Giuliani’s efforts to conceal or hide his assets.”
While Mr. Giuliani could still appeal the damages awarded by the jury, Judge Howell pointed out that the sum the jurors came up with was actually “conservative.” As part of his appeal, he could ask for a stay of immediate payment — though, as Judge Howell noted, he would still have to post a surety bond to show that he was good for at least some portion of the money if he lost.