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Judge chastises Rudy Giuliani for failing to appear at hearing ahead of defamation damages trial

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) — A federal judge chastised Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday for failing to attend a hearing to prepare for his defamation damages trial next week.

Despite being directed by the court to attend the hearing, Giuliani did not show up. His attorney Joe Sibley told Judge Beryl Howell it was his fault – an oversight – that Giuliani was not there.

Howell expressed her unhappiness with the situation, as she – along with Sibley and six attorneys for Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss – worked through how the case will be presented to a jury next week.

Giuliani was sued as the head of former President Donald Trump’s legal team and a proponent of a disinformation effort that slandered Moss and Freeman and caused them significant emotional distress. The judge has already found Giuliani liable for defamation, and next week’s trial is to determine the monetary damages he must pay.

Moss and Freeman seek tens of millions of dollars in damages from Giuliani. The trial is set to last four days.

The judge said several times during Tuesday’s two-hour hearing that Giuliani should have been in court to agree he understood some of the parameters they were setting for the trial, and that he wouldn’t take issue with them later.

Howell told Sibley that Giuliani must agree in writing by Wednesday that he won’t later split from what his lawyer has done on the trial plans so far, so there won’t be further discussions while the jury is seated.

His lawyer said Giuliani would testify in his own defense, but he didn’t know if Giuliani would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights on the stand. If Giuliani had been at Tuesday’s hearing, Sibley could have confirmed with him, Howell said.

Sibley declined to oppose several key tactical approaches in the case, such as Moss and Freeman’s team’s plan to show clips to the jury of other Trump campaign figures like attorney Jenna Ellis taking the Fifth when declining to answer questions at her deposition.

Sibley, the only representative of Giuliani’s at the hearing, declined to comment when asked further questions by the media. Giuliani’s political adviser Ted Goodman later sent a statement to CNN following the hearing, saying, “The judges’ biases and prejudices are well known and have been demonstrated throughout this case and many others—where the process is the punishment.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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