A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
‘No Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow’
With fewer than $10 million in assets and more than $150 million in liabilities, Rudy Giuliani is in a world of hurt. He was a prime candidate for bankruptcy, but the fight is just beginning over what effect the bankruptcy will have, especially on his single biggest liability: the $148 million defamation judgment won against him by Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.
In a series of developments last week, Freeman and Moss tried to get the bankruptcy court to limit Giuliani’s ability to fight the judgment. Giuliani wants the bankruptcy stay (which freezes the debtor’s affairs in place) lifted so that he can continue to challenge their judgment in court. Not fair, argued Freeman and Moss. Lifting the stay as to Giuliani would let him use the Chapter 11 filing as a sword to defeat their claim while hiding behind the shield it provides to prevent them from collecting on their judgment against him.
Giuliani’s creditors attended the first court hearing in the bankruptcy case Friday, where the judge mostly granted Giuliani’s request to continue to fight the defamation judgment:
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane on Friday agreed to Giuliani’s request to seek a new trial or to ask that the damages be reduced. Lane, however, stopped short of granting Giuliani permission to seek a full appeal. Lane stressed that the district court should have much discretion in deciding how to handle or whether to grant the request.
The key question right now is how the trial judge will exercise that discretion. It’s a complicated interplay of bankruptcy law and federal civil procedure, which I won’t bore you with and which doesn’t really speak to the larger issues around the 2020 election interference or the attack on the rule of law.
As for Giuliani’s ability to ever pay even a fraction of the judgment, his lawyer says his income at present comes from radio and podcast hosting, with his law license suspended, and he has no significant assets. “There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” Giuliani’s attorney told the bankruptcy court.
No Smoking Gun In Georgia Prosecutor’s Divorce File
Two developments in sideshow to the Georgia RICO case:
- The judge overseeing the divorce case of special prosecutor Nathan Wade paused the deposition of Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis sought by Wade’s wife.
- The judge also unsealed the divorce case, but there was nothing in the record that substantiated the claims by a Trump co-defendant in the RICO case that Wade and Willis were/are engaged in a romantic relationship.
I’m struggling to make myself care about this side angle to the RICO case, but until we get an official response from Willis in a court filing and the evidentiary hearing is held next month in front of the judge in the RICO case, we’re stuck having to deal with this.
MAGA World Flips Out Over E. Jean Carroll Trial Delay
COVID forced the postponement of the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial against Donald Trump yesterday, and even though Trump’s own lawyer requested the delay, his supporters widely freaked out over alleged “election interference” because it meant the trial would resume on the day of the New Hampshire primary. By the end of the day, however, the judge punctured that balloon by delaying the trial until tomorrow.
The 2024 GOP Presidential Primary May End Today
The campaign wrapped up in fitting fashion:
- Fake Joe Biden robocall tells New Hampshire Democrats not to vote today.
- Nikki Haley won all six votes in Dixville Notch.
- Trump closed his New Hampshire campaign sounding a lot like his own lawyers.
Polls close at 8 p.m. ET. Join the TPM team for live coverage.
[Sponsored] An Inside Story Of The Democratic Party At A Moment Of Great Peril
The Truce, from journalists Hunter Walker (of Talking Points Memo) and Luppe B. Luppen, explores the major fault lines that define Democratic politics today and asks big questions about the future of the party. An engrossing page-turner, The Truce grapples with the dangers that threaten American democracy and the complicated cast of characters who are trying to save it.
- Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, and Republican former baseball star Steve Garvey faced off in a California Senate debate last night. Porter has the night’s best line.
- Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes is frustrated with the Biden DOJ for failing to respond to a wave of threats against election workers and officials with sufficient urgency.
- Politico: “A whole swath of GOP voters appears firmly committed to not voting for Trump in November.”
SCOTUS Sides With Feds On Abbott Border Stunt
By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court lifted a lower court injunction that was preventing the federal government from removing barbed wire from the Rio Grande, placed there by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is on a jihad to politicize the border by asserting state control over it.
Alternate headline: Four Justices Refuse To Recognize Federal Control Of The Border!
Steve Vladeck has lots of smart things to say about Chevron, democratic accountability, and the unitary executive.
Congrats To TPM’s Hunter Walker
Today is the release date for The Truce: Progressives, Centrists and the Future of the Democratic Party by Hunter Walker and Luppe B. Luppen. To give you a taste, we’ve published a couple of pieces recently drawn from or related to the book:
- The Inside Story Of Barack Obama’s 2024 Campaign Calculations
- How Bernie Sanders And Joe Biden Lost (And Won) The 2020 Iowa Caucus
Ziegler Cleared Of Rape Charge
Ousted Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler won’t face rape charges after police concluded that the sexual encounter with a woman Ziegler and his wife previously had engaged in a ménage à trois was “likely consensual.” But police are recommending Ziegler be charged with felony video voyeurism for recording the encounter without the woman’s knowledge or consent.
What Are We Doing Here?
This week, Alabama is planning to conduct the first U.S. execution using nitrogen hypoxia, on convicted murderer Kenneth Smith, who survived an earlier attempted execution by lethal injection.
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