Poor Rudy Giuliani. Kellyanne Conway has her daughter accusing her of abuse on TikTok, yet somehow Rudy may be the person who ends up most demeaned by tying his fate to that of Donald J. Trump.
Just 19 years ago, Giuliani wasn’t just a national hero. He was the last great national hero of America. In these divided times, it’s impossible to imagine any leader managing to win the love of all Americans, even those of the opposing party, yet that is precisely what Rudy did after 9/11. Time named him Man of the Year, and nobody thought it was some dumb joke.
When Giuliani’s book came out in 2002, he only had to title it Leadership and watch it effortlessly sell a million copies.
After that, all Giuliani had to do was coast. Retire. Relax. Get a Fox News contract. Maybe churn through another wife or two.
Instead, in a story the ancient Greeks would recognize, Giuliani was destroyed by his own hubris. His 2008 presidential bid bombed worse than Chevy Chase’s talk show, failing to win a single delegate. Rather than enrich himself by harmlessly conning colleges and non-profits with speaking fees, Giuliani took the more dangerous route back into legal work. Being beloved is nice, but apparently not as nice as representing Purdue Pharma in OxyContin cases.
So now we have the fitting denouement. America’s Mayor has become America’s Tort Defendant, served with a 107-page lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems. For two months, Giuliani made claims about Dominion so preposterous Cockburn compared them to postmodern art.
Venezuelan Communists have traditionally struggled to keep eggs on supermarket shelves, but according to Giuilani they had somehow turned Venezuela into a hacking superpower. They founded Dominion and then stole the election with the support of several small-time Philadelphia gangsters, China and the Clinton Foundation. They were so smooth about it that they stole the election even in places where no Dominion voting machines were present. Giuliani apparently thought he had a very good gig going. Unfortunately, it turns out that if you say potentially defamatory things over and over about people for months on end, you can get sued! If only Giuliani had some kind of professional training that would have prepared him for this.
Cockburn is not a lawyer, mercifully, so he cannot say whether Dominion’s claims are legally damning. But he can categorically say that they are damning to Giuliani’s dignity. Many parts of the lawsuit seem intended far more to humiliate the man than to get any actual money out of him. It’s likely that only the most devout Plan Trusters in Church of MAGA were listening to Giuliani’s podcast. Now, everybody gets to learn about his efforts hawking gold coins, $600 computer programs to guard against ‘cyberthieves’ stealing your house, and fatty-acid pills not evaluated by the FDA.
Dominion is seeking $1.3 billion in damages, an amount Cockburn suspects Giuliani may struggle to pay. For reference, the physical damage of the 9/11 attacks was estimated at $10 billion, which means Rudy’s rampage of press conferences and TV hits are allegedly one-seventh as destructive as blowing up three buildings with jumbo jets.
Dominion’s lawsuit against Sidney Powell filed earlier this month is seeking the exact same amount of damages, so between the two suits Dominion is alleging damages equal the $2.6 billion. In 1985, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano exploded in Colombia, causing massive mudslides that swept away the city of Armero, killing 22,500. The estimated damages from that total $2.3 billion in today’s dollars. Giuliani and Powell topped that with a press conference.
You start to see why Giuliani was demanding $20,000 per day from Donald Trump for his services, an amount Trump has reportedly baulked at. On reflection, maybe Rudy should have asked for more.
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