A federal judge has rejected a move by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to transfer a lurid sex assault and wage theft lawsuit against him to federal court in Manhattan’s Southern District.
The U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos on July 7th ordered the civil case returned to the New York State Supreme Court where it was filed May 15th by Noelle Dunphy.
Dunphy, 43, alleges that the former New York City Mayor sexually assaulted her numerous times over the course of a year and neglected to pay her a promised salary while she worked as his assistant from Feb. 2019 to Jan. 2021.
As a result, Dunphy is seeking $10 million in damages.
Dunphy alleges that Giuliani provided only $12,000 in cash after promising her a $1 million a year salary. Giuliani requested that Dunphy accept deferred payment and keep their arrangement “secret” until he concluded his divorce from his then-wife, Judith Nathan.
New York State Justice Lucy Billings was assigned the case from the beginning of the litigation and will preside over forthcoming court hearings on Dunphy’s complaint, a lawyer for Dunphy commented.
Ramos, in a telephone conference with both sides, removed the lawsuit from federal diversity jurisdiction after lawyers for Giuliani acknowledged and corrected erroneous claims that Dunphy had a Florida driver’s license and was a full-time resident of that state.
The judge did not address allegations in Dunphy’s lawsuit and declined to deliver sanctions to Giuliani as requested by her New York lawyers.
Ted Goodman, a political advisor for Giuliani, denied reports that Ramos’ decision signaled that settlement talks were underway.
“Mr. Giuliani is not engaged in any settlement conversations with Ms. Dunphy,” Goodman told Straus Media. “Any suggestion otherwise is categorically false. Judge Ramos awarded no fees to Ms. Dunphy and denied plaintiff’s fee application. Mr. Giuliani reiterates that he did nothing wrong and denies all of the allegations of misconduct in Ms. Dunphy’s complaint.”
Justin T. Kelton, one of Dunphy’s New York lawyers, also declined to discuss “gossip” about a settlement but he hailed Ramos’ order to move the case back to a New York state court as a victory for his client. Dunphy initially filed a summons with notice against Giuliani back in early January without a lawyer. Her lawsuit names several of his companies as co-defendants, including Giuliani Partners, a management consulting firm he founded in 2002 after leaving public office.
“The Giuliani Defendants made a number of blatantly false claims in their effort to remove and delay this case, but Judge Ramos’ quick decision was a vindication for Ms. Dunphy and a rejection of Mr. Giuliani’s meritless procedural gamesmanship,” Kelton wrote in an email to Straus Media.
“We look forward to prosecuting this case in New York State Court where it belongs, and allowing a jury to decide Ms. Dunphy’s extremely serious claims,” Kelton added.
Giuliani’s lawyers filed a motion in New York State Supreme Court before they unsuccessfully attempted to remove Dunphy’s case to Federal court, seeking to strike portions of her complaint. These include references to Giuliani’s appearance in a 2020 “Borat” film and his alleged statements claiming he was selling pardons to be split with then President Donald Trump.
In addition, Giuliani’s legal team wants removal of Dunphy’s claims that the former Mayor made racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments, describing those assertions false and irrelevant to the case.
On Saturday, Kelton said he will file a motion before Justice Billings on Aug. 1, opposing Giuliani’s motion to strike the statements from Dunphy’s complaint..
Giuliani admitted to dating Dunphy in 2019 and has not denied her allegation that he demanded oral sex from her while he was on speaker phone with Donald Trump at his [Giuliani’s] Upper East Side apartment.
However, Giuliani did deny Dunphy was his employee and referred to the lawsuit as “a scandalous and prejudicial allegation.”
A lawyer for Giuliani, who insists on remaining anonymous, claims that Dunphy’s claims are “100 percent untrue” and had contributed “nothing to his business development.” The lawyer called Dunphy’s involvement with Giuliani “a dating situation” and that everything the did together “was consensual.” Giuliani’s lawyer also claimed that Dunphy sued “three other men she dated.”
In her complaint, Dunphy described Giuliani as constantly intoxicated during their relationship and revved up on Viagra. She also asserts Giuliani slapped her in the face during their relationship and subjected her to varied gender slurs.
Dunphy claims many of Giuliani’s statements were recorded.
Asked why Dunphy didn’t punch Giuliani in the face for his abuse, Kelton said the situation was complicated because he had offered her pro bono legal advice for a case against an “abusive partner.”
Kelton stated that Dunphy’s complaint “provides detailed allegations” about the nature of the work she performed for Giuliani and his companies and “highlights substantial evidence that supports her claims.”
Dunphy’s claims come at time when Giuliani faces a slew of other legal problems, many stemming from his numerous lawsuits advancing unsupported conspiracy theories about the 2020 election on behalf of former President Trump.
These include a defamation lawsuit filed against Giuliani by two election workers in Georgia and an ongoing litigation by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting. /www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-dominion-lawsuit-giuliani-powe-idUSL2N2N