Back when I was growing up, Rudy Giuliani destroyed the Italian mob in New York City. Today he declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy to avoid paying a $148 million defamation verdict—the day after the people he defamed sued him again for repeating the same defamatory statements outside the courthouse after the judgment was handed down:
Lawyers for the two Georgia election workers who won $148 million in damages from former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani last week filed a new lawsuit Monday, asking a federal judge to order him to stop repeating his damaging debunked claims about the poll workers and to immediately enforce the jury’s massive award before his assets are dissipated.
Ruby Freeman and Wandrea Arshaye “Shaye” Moss asserted that Giuliani is continuing to baselessly accuse the former Fulton County election workers of manipulating the absentee ballot count to steal the 2020 election from former president Donald Trump in Georgia. The former New York mayor repeated the allegations during and after his defamation damages trial last week, even as his lawyer conceded in court the claims were wrong.
“Everything I said about them is true,” Giuliani told reporters outside the courthouse after the first day of his trial on Dec. 11, adding, “Of course I don’t regret it. … They were engaged in changing votes.”
I'm no doctor, but it looks like Giuliani has suffered from dementia for a long time, and it's getting worse. He appears to have no self-awareness or self-control at this stage. Other circumstantial evidence suggests late-stage alcoholism. Whatever the cause, the man stopped making sense long before he started working for the XPOTUS—even before he tried to cancel the 2001 New York mayoral election:
Once he was the toast of town. As a federal prosecutor he sent a congressman to jail, locked up mobsters and indicted white-collar criminals. As mayor, he made the streets again feel safe. Love him or hate him, crime precipitously dropped on his watch.
In the days and months following 9/11, he projected strength, confidence and reassurance. He had braced himself for a calamity; he just didn’t know its source or when it would happen. He was steady when crunchtime arrived.
As mayor, his tenure was consequential. His eight years at city hall rank up there with Fiorello La Guardia, Michael Bloomberg and Ed Koch. All that feels like aeons ago.
Yet Giuliani’s latest woes cannot be described as wholly surprising. He always possessed a penchant for drama and a tropism for the transgressive. He loved the opera and his life emerged as operatic. As a prosecutor, he dressed up “undercover”. Then as mayor, he performed onstage in drag with Trump.
All that came with a darker side. The warning signs were there. We just chose to ignore them.
Amid his first campaign for mayor, in 1989, a story broke of a concentration camp survivor, Simon Berger, being held in federal custody, facing a blackboard that read “Arbeit Macht Frei” the slogan written across the gates of Auschwitz. Berger would be acquitted. Decades later, Dunphy alleged that Giuliani has a problem with Jews.
I lived in New York City while Giuliani was mayor, though. As Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union reminded me while researching this post, even at his most popular, he was a bit unhinged:
Whatever may be going on with Rudy Giuliani personally, let’s be clear: while, for one brief moment in his career he served as a cheerleader for a devastated city and a shocked nation, the rest of Rudy Giuliani’s mayoralty was driven by a hostility to free expression, police brutality and violence, and an authoritarian disregard for democracy.
Let’s start with the First Amendment. The New York Civil Liberties Union was involved in 34 First Amendment lawsuits against the Giuliani administration – and prevailed in 26 of them. Those cases successfully challenged the firing of Police Officer Yvette Walton in retaliation for testifying before the City Council about racial profiling; the attempt to censor the Sensations exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum; the ban on press conferences and demonstrations by Giuliani critics on the steps of City Hall; the ban on condom distribution as part of AIDS education in City Parks; police harassment of homeless people sleeping on the steps of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church; and singling out political demonstrators charged with minor offenses so that they could not get appearance tickets to return to court and often had to stay in jail overnight.
In the seven-and-a-half years before 9/11, let there be no mistake: racial bias, fear-mongering, and police brutality were the hallmarks of Giuliani’s mayoralty.
As mayor, Giuliani oversaw a policing regime repeatedly engaged in persecution and brutal assaults and killings of Black and Hispanic New Yorkers, using unlawful stop-and-frisk policies to jail Black and Hispanic New Yorkers in service of his ‘broken windows’ policing. Every time the NYPD killed a Black man, Rudy Giuliani was right there not only defending the police, but attacking the victim.
I will never forget his tirade against Patrick Dorismond, a 26-year-old Black security guard and father of two, after undercover police officers killed Dorismond after initiating a scuffle while on the job in Manhattan. Giuliani attacked Dorismond’s character and publicly revealed his legally-sealed juvenile record. It was Giuliani‘s notorious street crimes unit that killed Amadou Diallo in the lobby of his apartment building.
Rudy Giuliani has always had an authoritarian streak coupled with a belief that the rules didn't apply to him. Fortunately, he behaved so badly for so long that no one ever gave him more power after his mayoralty ended in 2001. And I mention all this because, as bad as Giuliani has always been, and as far as he's descended into dementia and insanity...the XPOTUS is worse.
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