In what his spokesperson called a case with “far-reaching implications for justice and the rule of law,” Rudy Giuliani has filed a 16-page complaint alleging President Joe Biden defamed the former New York City mayor, who faces a mountain of his own legal challenges.
Mr Giuliani, in a brief and rambling press conference in New Hampshire on 4 October, raged at the president for using the phrase “Russian pawn” during a presidential debate in 2020, a statement that Mr Giuliani claims has cost him “millions and millions of dollars” from lost clients and consulting business.
He also aired several claims without evidence about Mr Biden and his son Hunter, as they face ongoing scrutiny from Republican officials and right-wing media personalities eager to impeach the president and jail his son.
“Joe Biden has spent his life telling lies” and “getting away with it,” said Mr Giuliani, who called the Democratic president a “pathological liar” and baselessly asserted that “people have died” because of his statements.
“He called me a Russian operative … That is a lie, that is false,” he added. “He owes me a lot of money in a lot of states.”
Mr Giuliani’s attorney William O’Brien said they filed the complaint in state court in New Hampshire because of the state’s statute of limitations “allows the recovery of damages … wherever and in whatever jurisdiction the statements were distributed or published.”
During a presidential debate between Mr Biden and Donald Trump three years ago, Mr Biden appeared to reference reporting in The Washington Post that intelligence agencies had warned the White House that Mr Giuliani was a target of an influence operation used to feed Russian misinformation to then-President Trump.
“[Mr Trump’s] own national security adviser told him that what is happening with his buddy, Rudy Giuliani, he’s being used as a Russian pawn, he’s being fed information that is Russian, that is not true. And then what happens? Nothing happens,” Mr Biden said during the debate. “And then you find out that everything that’s going on here about Russia is wanting to make sure that I do not get elected the next President of the United States, because they know I know them and they know me.”
Mr Giuliani’s announcement follows a chaotic few weeks for Donald Trump’s former attorney, after two of his lawyers dropped out of his criminal case in Georgia, the women suing him for defamation have asked a judge to punish him for his failure to comply with court orders, and The New York Times published a story about his drinking habits coming under the scrutiny of federal prosecutors investigating the former president’s attempts to upend the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Hunter Biden also has sued Mr Giuliani for alleged violations of computer fraud and compromised data over a laptop that was central to right-wing attacks against the president and his family and fuelled political campaigns surrounding the 2020 presidential election, federal investigations and GOP-led congressional probes.
And an attorney who worked for Mr Giuliani has also sued his former client for his alleged failure to pay $1.36m in legal fees.
In August, US District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington DC determined that Mr Giuliani is liable for defamation for his baseless, inflammatory statements about a mother and daughter pair of election workers – claims that are also central to two sprawling criminal indictments surrounding Mr Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, who sued Mr Giuliani after his statements about them fuelled a wave of harassment and threats, have asked a judge for additional sanctions following his alleged failure to respond to a judge’s order.
The Independent has requested comment from an attorney for Mr Biden.
Asked about The New York Times coverage of his alleged drinking problem, Mr Giuliani suggested he would sue the newspaper, as well.
“Maybe I should sue them over that. If I have an alcohol problem, I should be in the Guiness Book of Records,” he said . “[I’m] 79 years old. Do you know what I have accomplished?”