Rudy Giuliani filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, a step he said was unavoidable after he was ordered to pay $148 million to two former Georgia election workers he defamed by falsely accusing them of election fraud. The former New York mayor’s Chapter 11 filing was no surprise. It came the day after federal district court judge Beryl Howell ordered Giuliani to immediately pay Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss before entering an appeal regarding the award.
A Giuliani spokesperson, Ted Goodman, cast the filing as a tactical move. “No person could have reasonably believed that Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be able to pay such a high punitive amount,” Goodman said in a statement Thursday. “Chapter 11 will afford Mayor Giuliani the opportunity and time to pursue an appeal, while providing transparency for his finances under the supervision of the bankruptcy court, to ensure all creditors are treated equally and fairly throughout the process.”
The man once known as “America’s mayor” has now become arguably the country’s best-known debtor. Among the debts cited in Giuliani’s filing today are legal bills going back to his role as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, in the former president’s first impeachment, along with mounting legal fees from his involvement in Trump’s effort to use election fraud lies to steal the 2020 election. Obviously, Giuliani is unable to pay Moss and Freeman $148 million. His personal lawyer and friend, Robert Costello, is suing Giuliani for $1.4 million in unpaid legal fees. Giuliani also reports about $3.5 million in additional debts to lawyers.
Giuliani faces substantial additional expenses from his Georgia indictment for trying to interfere in the counting of votes during the 2020 election. He’s also an unindicted co-conspirator in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Trump for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Despite Trump’s assurance in August that he would help his former lawyer pay off additional legal debts, Trump’s Save America PAC only has helped Giuliani pay some $340,000 in legal expenses.
The IRS in August filed a $549,435 tax lien against Giuliani for the 2021 tax year, and his bankruptcy petition says he now owes a total of about $989,000 in unpaid taxes. He also cites “unknown potential obligations” to Dominion and Smartmatic voting machine companies who have sued him for defamation, and to Hunter Biden, who has sued Giuliani for violating his privacy by “hacking into, tampering with, manipulating, copying, disseminating, and generally obsessing over” material on Hunter’s laptop. He also cites potential obligations to Noelle Dunphy, a former employee who has sued Giuliani for “sexual assault and harassment, wage theft,” and “rape.”He denies those allegations and well as claims in other suits against him.
Giuliani’s overall liabilities? An estimated $100 million to $500 million. He says his assets total between $1 million and $10 million.
The bankruptcy proceedings will allow Giuliani to avoid paying most of what he owes. That means Freeman and Moss, though they won a symbolic victory, likely will get only a small fraction of what jurors said Giuliani owes them. The former mayor has been trying to sell his Upper East apartment in Manhattan to raise funds. He’s seeking $6.1 million.