Update: Two Georgia poll workers who sued a website have filed a new suit involving false claims that they committed ballot fraud in the 2020 election. Ruby Freeman and Wandrea "Shaye" Moss filed a defamation suit Thursday in Washington, saying One America News Network continued to accuse them of wrongdoing in Fulton County after election officials cleared them. The suit also names former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who appeared often on OAN, saying he perpetuated the false claim, the AP reports. Our original story from Dec. 2 follows:
Two election workers in Georgia who were accused of election fraud filed a defamation suit Thursday against a right-wing website that spread the misinformation. The Gateway Pundit ran dozens of false stories saying that Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, "pulled out suitcases full of ballots and began counting those ballots without election monitors in the room" when working for the Fulton County elections board in Atlanta during the 2020 election. A state investigation cleared the women of any wrongdoing, the New York Times reports.
The poll workers became part of the false narrative about the presidential election being stolen from then-President Trump, who brought up Freeman 18 times in his post-election phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump was pressuring Raffensperger "to find" enough votes to swing the state his way after the election. The suit says the website began running the accusations and named the women after Trump's lawyers made the charge in an election hearing in Georgia, per Reuters. The Gateway Pundit referred to Freeman and Moss as "crooked Democrats."
The lawsuit said the website's posts "instigated a deluge of intimidation, harassment, and threats that has forced them to change their phone," per the Hill—including death threats. The site is run by brothers James and Joseph Hoft, and the suit was filed in St. Louis because James Hoft lives there. They issued no immediate comment. Moss works full time for Fulton County at a salary of about $36,000. Freeman made $16 an hour as a temporary employee. Their suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. "I want the defendants to know that my daughter and I are real people who deserve justice," Freeman said, "and I never want them to do this to anyone else." (Read more Election 2020 stories.)