By Katelyn Polantz, CNN Reporter, Crime and Justice
Two Georgia election workers are accusing right-wing TV network One America News and former Trump lawyer and pundit Rudy Giuliani of destroying their reputations and prompting Trump supporters to harass them — filling their lives with fear — because of false claims of election fraud in 2020.
The election workers, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, say in a new lawsuit that they became the victims of political lies as the pro-Trump media universe spread accusations that they had miscounted ballots during the presidential vote count in Georgia.
President Joe Biden won Georgia narrowly against Trump, based on three counts of ballots, and no widespread fraud was found in any state in the 2020 presidential election.
In her complaint, Freeman said that because of the election fraud accusations, the FBI advised her to leave her home from January 6, when a mob surrounded it, through the presidential inauguration later that month. She received hundreds of harassing emails, texts and calls — even a Christmas card that said, “You deserve to go to jail, you worthless piece of sh*t whore.”
Moss claims strangers sent unwanted pizzas to her grandmother’s house to harass her and came to the house twice to attempt to make a “citizen’s arrest.”
“Both women are afraid to live normal lives,” the lawsuit says. “Ms. Freeman is fearful when she hears her name called in public; Ms. Moss now fears risking even a visit to the grocery store and must get her groceries delivered instead. Defendants have inflicted, and continue to inflict, severe and ongoing emotional and economic damage.”
Giuliani is named in the lawsuit because of his frequent appearances on OAN after the election and because of segments on his podcast, where he raised conspiracy theories of widespread fraud in the Georgia election and accused Freeman of past voter fraud. The election workers are also suing the network’s White House correspondent Chanel Rion and its owners Robert and Charles Herring.
A lawyer for Giuliani didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment, but the former prosecutor and New York City mayor previously called such lawsuits against him left-wing intimidation. Giuliani has been suspended from practicing law because of false and misleading statements he made in court also claiming election fraud.
OAN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
OAN and Giuliani are already facing other major lawsuits from the elections software company Dominion Voting Systems that seek billions of dollars in damages, and the new lawsuit signifies the compounding possible fallout for Trump’s close allies after the election.
On broadcasts, OAN repeatedly suggested Freeman and Moss had illegally counted ballots, after the Trump campaign circulated edited security camera footage of them counting absentee and military ballots in an arena in Fulton County, according to their lawsuit.
Trump also called Freeman a “professional vote scammer and hustler” on the now-infamous phone call he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2 asking the official to “find” him votes, the lawsuit notes.
Trump and his campaign are not defendants in the lawsuit.
“Though the initial claims by the Trump campaign team were based only on short selections of the Trump Edited Video and did not name any individual Fulton County election workers, OAN and Giuliani were some of the first and only outlets and commenters to specifically name Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, and they have continued to do so for more than a year,” the lawsuit says.
A Georgia state official also verified early in December 2020 that the women at work on the security footage was normal ballot processing.
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