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In Giuliani defamation trial, election worker testifies, "I’m most scared of my son finding me or my mom hanging in front of our house"

Washington — The Georgia election worker who was the target of unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election took the witness stand Tuesday in the defamation lawsuit against former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and testified about the emotional toll the online threats and lies have taken on her daily life.

Wandrea’ ArShaye “Shaye” Moss — a former ballot supervisor in Atlanta — and her mother, Ruby Freeman, are suing Giuliani for millions in damages after he baselessly accused them of participating in election fraud.

“Every single aspect of my life has changed,” Moss told the jury in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, describing how the spread of misinformation that the pair added fake ballots to the vote count in Joe Biden’s favor and inserted a USB drive into election machines forced her into a life of fear, and contributed to her failure to be promoted at work and to her socially isolated existence.

“I’m most scared of my son finding me or my mom hanging in front of our house,” she said through tears.

The two election workers were thrust into the political spotlight as Trump and his allies were pushing claims of fraud across the country — including in the swing state of Georgia, where Mr. Biden won — and the two became an unwitting l flashpoint for those who argued the election had been stolen from Trump.

Moss — a 39-year-old mother who was an interim absentee supervisor in Fulton County during the 2020 election — testified that immediately after the election, she felt as though she and her team had done a “perfect” job counting ballots and scrutinizing numbers to ensure the vote count was accurate.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many voters across the state to vote by mail, Moss said, and it was her job to oversee that ballot count.

“The election went well,” she said Tuesday. “I was so proud of myself and my team.”

In Moss’ telling, that changed just about a month after the election, on Dec. 4, 2020, when Giuliani shared on social media security camera video from inside the State Farm Arena where Moss and her mother were counting ballots with other electron workers. He falsely claimed the video showed the pair engaging in fraud.

Georgia investigators later conducted a review of the election and found the “numerous allegations made against the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections, and specifically, two election workers, were false and unsubstantiated.” “There was no evidence of any type of fraud as alleged,” according to the findings. Jurors on Tuesday also saw video depositions of officials from the state explaining that there was no evidence of fraud.

Moss and Freeman contend that it was after Giuliani singled them out in the video and spread lies about them that they began receiving online threats and their lives began to change.

Moss told the jury she was forced to completely change her hair in order to disguise herself and later had to leave her job. She applied for work at a Chik-fil-A but ultimately did not get the job after the hiring manager recognized her name and asked her about the videos online.

In looking at the initial posts by Giuliani, Moss, her voice filled with emotion, told the jury, “My reaction is how can someone with so much power go public and talk about things that he has no clue about?”

“It’s hurtful, it’s untrue. It’s not fair,” she said, at times wiping away tears from her eyes as she testified.

“Glad it’s 2020 and not 1920,” said one online message to Moss, who is a black woman, in the aftermath of the claims. Voicemail threats with racist language were also played in court.

“Everybody knows exactly what a black woman would be doing in 1920,” she said Tuesday.

At issue in the federal trial is exactly how much in damages Giuliani will have to pay Freeman and Moss for defamation. Judge Beryl Howell already ruled the former Trump attorney was liable for the false claims against the pair and told the jury of eight Washington, D.C., residents they were to assume many of the factual claims against him are true.

At an earlier stage in the case, Giuliani conceded he had made false statements about Freeman and Moss when he claimed they engaged in voter fraud during the election, but he maintained that he was engaging in constitutionally protected speech when he leveled the accusations.

During opening statements on Monday, Giuliani’s defense attorney, Joseph Sibley, sought to distance his client from the actions of those who attacked Freeman and Moss, telling the jury that Giuliani didn’t intend for individuals to threaten them and was not mentioned in any of the correspondence.

Sibley said he would not contest the facts of the case because of the court’s previous rulings, and he conceded that the jury would see lots of evidence of damages. “At the end of this…I’m gonna ask you to award a number of damages against my client,” he said Monday but said the number he will argue for at the end of his trial will be “fair and proportional” for what he said Giuliani did.

Under cross examination, Moss conceded that another publication, the Gateway Pundit, was the first to publicly indemnify her and her mother in December 2020. Giuliani, however, was “driving the bus” and picking up his followers to spread the lies, she said.

Sibley pressed Moss about whether she had any reason to believe Giuliani intended for her to be subject to racist threats, to which she responded, “I can’t say what he wanted, but I can say that he was not spewing the lies where there are a majority [of] Black people as viewers.”

Moss argued Giuliani “knew his people would believe the lies and have his back” and wanted people to “lock [them] up.” Sibley, however, asked whether she knew whether those who threatened her were motivated by Giuliani’s words or by those of the other publication.

Before she alleged Giuliani targeted her online, Freeman testified, “My life was lit. My life was great. I was always out. Very sociable. I wasn’t afraid of going out alone.” But after the videos spread online and the threats started to mount, “I now am very anxious. I have like these nonstop anxious sweats. I have a lot of dark moments. I no longer go out. I will not be caught out anywhere alone, ever.”

“I’m just the whole new, messed-up person,” Moss said Tuesday, “I don’t want anyone to see my mom and I together.”

Moss and Freeman have argued they suffered from a barrage of death threats, racist language, and late-night visits to Freeman’s Georgia home. Moss said Tuesday people even went to her grandmother’s home on New Year’s Day 2021 to “arrest” her, and she has since entered into a depressive cycle of anxiety and overeating.

“I felt like the worst mom ever to allow him to have to hear this, have to experience this day after day after day,” Moss said Tuesday of her teenage son, recounting that he failed every class after the threats started.

Outside of federal court on Monday, after the first day of trial, Giuliani told reporters he did not regret his comments about Freeman and Moss and contended he “told the truth.”

“They were engaged in changing votes,” Giuliani said Monday.

Moss referenced the latest Giuliani comments during her testimony, and they also caught the attention of Judge Howell, who raised concerns about the statements. “Your client is still lying on me and ruining my reputation further…how could you work in law if everyone was saying you’re a horrible lawyer,” she told Giuliani’s lawyer.

When pressed by Giuliani’s attorney during cross examination about the amount of damages sought in the lawsuit, Freeman said it was not just about her and her mom’s reputation, but sending “a message.”

“We need to make sure the election workers that are still there don’t have to go through this,” she argued, adding, “Hitting someone in the pockets” will leave an impression for the future.

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