Politics

Giuliani, OAN Sued by Two Georgia Election Workers for Defamation

Two Georgia election workers targeted by a fierce campaign of false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election are suing the pro-Trump One America News network, OAN owners, the network’s reporter and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in federal court.

On Thursday, election workers Rudi Freeman and Andrea “Shay” Moss alleged defamation, willful causing emotional distress and civil conspiracy by Giuliani, OAN and OAN executives Robert and Charles Hering and an OAN reporter to promote the allegations that Freeman and Moss, both black, engaged in Election fraud during the vote counting process in Georgia for the 2020 elections.

The complaint stated that the defendants “bear responsibility for the assassination of Mrs. Freeman and Mrs. Moss. The defendants engaged in a concerted effort to charge Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss by name with committing ballot fraud in order to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.”

The complaint was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

For comment, a Herring Networks spokesperson said the company would not respond to “any questions from reporters” and indicated rolling rock to an outside attorney. A letter sent to this attorney resulted in an out-of-office response. Rudy Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Freeman and Moss say they were physically harassed online as a result of the false allegations about them. They have described receiving a constant stream of hate messages containing racial insults and death threats. On January 6, a crowd surrounded Freeman’s home on foot and in cars, according to court records. An FBI agent later told Freeman that her name and her daughter’s name were on a list of people to be executed; The list was found in the possession of a person allegedly involved in the January 6 rebellion, it was reported Reuters. As a result, Freeman and Moss say they avoid going out in public when possible, change their physical appearance to avoid recognition, and can’t lead a normal life for fear of being targeted or attacked.

This is the second lawsuit that Freeman and Moss have brought against people who spread conspiracy theories about them. In early December, they lawsuit The far-right blog The Gateway Pundit and the two brothers who run it, Jim and Joe Hooft. They claimed the Gateway Pundit, the notorious promoter of false stories, and that the Hofts had repeatedly defamed them.

The lawsuit is part of a broader effort led by the Democracy Protection Group and law of truth Project aims To advocate for victims of harmful disinformation and conspiracy theories, including election workers, by filing defamation complaints. Michael Gottlieb is one of the attorneys representing Freeman and Moss in their new advocacy, a partner at Willkie Gallagher who previously represented James Alfantis, victim subordinate Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and Aaron Rich, who has been the target of baseless allegations regarding Seth’s brotherwho served on the Democratic National Committee and was killed in July 2016.

The initial spark for the baseless allegations against Freeman and Moss came a few weeks after Joe Biden won Georgia and its Secretary of State confirmed this narrow victory. At the time, conservative media websites and pro-Trump pundits were preoccupied with wild theories about vote-counting irregularities in the state’s urban districts. Minor water leak from urinal overflow at State Farm Arena in Atlanta A major facility for the processing of ballot papers Somehow it became evidence of a sinister plot to rig the presidential election.

On December 3, 2020, as conservative media promoted theory after theory about supposed election fraud, former President Trump’s campaign lawyer Witness before the Georgia State Senate. Attorney, Jackie Beck, played several short excerpts from a 14-hour surveillance video of workers preparing absentee ballots and military personnel on Election Day at State Farm Arena.

While playing the silent excerpt, Beck claimed she was showing evidence of criminals caught red-handed. Beck testified that election workers in the video first told on-site Republican observers to go home for the day. “Once everyone is gone, the coast is clear, they will pull the ballots from under the table,” Beck said in his testimony, adding that there were enough fake ballots in the supposed bags to refer the election to Biden.

Beck did not name the election workers in the video, but said that “one of them had Ruby’s name on her shirt somewhere.” Conservative bloggers eventually found out that two of the people in the video were Robbie Freeman, who worked as a temporary election worker in Fulton County, and her daughter, Andrea “Shay” Moss, who had worked full-time in the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections for eight years.

The Georgia Office of the Secretary of State and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigated Beck’s allegations and found no evidence to support her allegations. However, it was dealt with by conservative media and Trump agents.

The lawsuit said One America News, a pro-Trump media group that inflated other conspiracy theories and attempted to compete with Fox News, aired the altered surveillance video of Trump’s campaign later on the same day that Trump’s lawyer, Beck, testified in Georgia . Giuliani and Rion, an OAN reporter, shared the edited video and the unfounded theory about “bags” full of fake voices.

On December 23, 2020, the lawsuit states that OAN published a story focusing on Freeman and Moss titled “A poll worker in Fulton County, Georgia caught while scanning camera for the same batch of ballot papers multiple times.” During the show he hosted on Rumble, Giuliani went on to accuse Freeman and Moss of participating in the voter fraud scheme, saying, “It’s pretty clear no matter who they do, they’re cheating. It feels like a bank robbery.” Giuliani repeated these accusations several times on his show, in interviews with various OAN programs, and even from the stage during his January 6 “Save America” ​​rally that immediately preceded the US Capitol Rebellion.

Freeman and Moss’ lawsuit alleges that the defendants continued to spread harmful lies about them after both local news outlets and fact-checkers exposed the allegations as false, and Freeman and Moss’ attorneys asked the defendants to correct the record or retract certain allegations.

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