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A sweeping racketeering case unsealed in Georgia on Monday against former President Donald Trump and his associates details some of the extreme harassment and intimidation that a former poll worker says she experienced after refusing to illegally change the 2020 election result in Trump’s favor.
Former Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman has said that she was living in fear after being falsely dubbed “a professional vote scammer and known political operative” who “stuffed the ballot boxes” with hundreds of thousands of fake votes.
“Members of the enterprise traveled from out of state to harass Freeman, intimidate her, and solicit her to falsely confess to election crimes that she did not commit,” states the 41-count indictment filed against Trump and 18 others.
What We Know About Ruby Freeman
Freeman volunteered with her daughter, Shaye Moss, to serve as a Fulton County election worker on Election Day at State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta. She and Moss are both named as victims in the indictment.
Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman, right, during a House select committee investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Former Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani ― who faces charges including solicitations of violations of public oaths, conspiracy and false statements ― falsely alleged that video surveillance taken inside the arena captured election workers ordering Republicans to leave the room while “suitcases” of illegal ballots were secretly added to the mix of legal votes, the indictment says.
Giuliani identified Freeman and Moss by name, accusing them of “passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine.” These USB ports, he alleged without proof or explanation, were used to “infiltrate the crooked Dominion voting machines,” as the incident states.
Federal and state investigators reviewed the footage and determined that Giuliani’s allegations were false. The “suitcases” that Giuliani described were boxes of legal ballots that had been in the room the entire day. The item that the mother and daughter had been filmed passing between them was candy, Moss testified.
Giuliani admitted in a court filing last month that he made false statements against Freeman and Moss.
Freeman Was Repeatedly Contacted By Trump’s Associates
Prosecutors say Stephen Cliffgard Lee, a pastor, rallied people to pressure Freeman into changing her testimony about what happened at the State Farm Arena. He personally visited her home on Dec. 15, 2020, telling her that he could help her, according to the indictment.
Freeman called 911 on Lee three times, prosecutors said in a court filing last year.
Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss attend an event at the White House on the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Freeman was also visited at her home by Trevian Kutti, a onetime publicist for the hip-hop artist Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who was a supporter of Trump. Kutti identified herself as a crisis manager and told Freeman that she was in danger and said she was there to “help,” according to the indictment. Freeman again called 911.
“They’re saying that I need help,” Freeman told a police dispatcher during Kutti’s visit, according to a police report obtained by Reuters. “That it’s just a matter of time that they are going to come out for me and my family.”
Kutti told Freeman that she had “48 hours” before people arrived at her home, according to a responding police officer’s report of the incident.
Freeman agreed to speak with Kutti at a police precinct, where Kutti again told Freeman that she needed protection and that she would help her.
President Joe Biden awards the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation's second-highest civilian honor, to Ruby Freeman.
Kutti was in truth trying to influence Freeman’s testimony regarding the election, the indictment states.
“I cannot say what specifically will take place,” Kutti told her, according to police body camera footage of their exchange that was reviewed by Reuters. “I just know that it will disrupt your freedom,” she continued, “and the freedom of one or more of your family members.”
After asking the nearby officer for privacy, Freeman said Kutti connected her with a man on speakerphone who tried to get Freeman to implicate herself in committing voter fraud on Election Day. In exchange, Kutti said she would provide Freeman with legal assistance. If she didn’t go along with the plan, Kutti told her that she’d go to jail.
Trevian Kutti, former publicist for Kanye West, was indicted today for her role in pressuring Fullton County election worker Ruby Freeman, as shown here in this video.pic.twitter.com/SMGUHKmxaU
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) August 15, 2023
Freeman said she ended their meeting and left. The next day, she said an FBI agent called and urged her to leave her home because it wasn’t safe. The day after this, seemingly fulfilling Kutti’s warning, a mob of angry Trump supporters surrounded Freeman’s home, according to a defamation lawsuit that Freeman and her daughter filed in December 2021 against a right-wing news organization.
Freeman Testified She Had To Move And Felt Victimized By Trump
“I stayed away from my home for approximately two months,” Freeman later said in a taped interview played before the House Jan. 6 Committee. “It was horrible. I felt homeless, I felt, you know, I can’t believe this person has caused so much damage to me and my family.”
Freeman, who spoke more than a year after the election, said that she continues to live in fear, not wanting to give her name to strangers and feeling trepidation when someone calls out to her in public.
“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States targeting you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target anyone. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who [stood] up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.
Freeman And Moss Were Honored For Courage, Selflessness
In January, Freeman and her daughter were awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Joe Biden. The medal, presented on the second anniversary of the 2021 assault on the Capitol, is the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.
The mother and daughter were recognized for courage and selflessness for doing their jobs as election workers despite threats to them and their family.
“She bore witness to the trauma and tragedy of that experience and today, we the people, honor Lady Ruby Freeman as part of our nation’s voting rights history,” the White House said in the award presentation.