SETTLEMENT: OAN finally admits Georgia election conspiracy theory was dead wrong
On Monday, May 9th, One America News – otherwise known as OAN – announced a settlement was reached over the network’s actions pushing previously debunked claims of election fraud against two election workers. The OAN reports upended the election workers’ lives, forcing them to relocate and change their appearances for their own safety.
Georgia officials have conclusively determined that there was no widespread voter fraud by election workers who counted ballots at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta in November 2020. The results of this investigation indicate that neither Ruby Freeman nor Wandrea “Shaye” Moss engaged in ballot fraud or criminal misconduct while working at State Farm Arena on election night.
62-year-old Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea Moss have always maintained their innocence of the charges that the right-wing news channel reported and filed a defamation suit against OAN, its owners – Charles Herring and Robert Herring – OAN’s White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, and disgraced former Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, accusing them of repeatedly pushing lies that the women engaged in ballot fraud. These were accusations that had already been proven false.
Sections two and three of the suit state:
“2. Plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, through no fault of their own, are among those scapegoats. They served as official election workers in Georgia during the 2020 federal election. Like countless other election workers, they share a patriotic commitment to a free and fair democratic process.”
“3. As a result of their vital service, Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss have become the objects of vitriol, threats, and harassment. They found themselves in this unenviable position not based on anything they did, but instead because of a campaign of malicious lies designed to accuse them of interfering with a fair and impartial election, which is precisely what each of them swore an oath to protect.”
The women were identified after Jacki Pick, a representative from Trump’s legal team, showed a surveillance video to the Senate Committee accusing election workers of counting fraudulent ballots hidden under the table. Their names were then publicly released by The Gateway Pundit, leading to a barrage of threatening emails, text messages, and phone calls to them, their family members, children, and places of employment.
The women say that these threats caused them and their families to become reclusive and depressed, leading to Moss’ 14-year-old son flunking his freshman high school classes and dropping out of playing football.
For eight years Moss worked for the Fulton County elections department. She was the face of election promotion and voter registration. All that changed when, through no fault of her own, she and her mother became the scapegoats for Donald Trump’s crazy “big lie,” a lie that fueled the right wing’s assault on free and fair elections.
The threats became so bad that Freeman was forced to flee her home of 20 years, and Moss’ son received threatening and racist messages. People would show up and bang on the door of their homes. Even Moss’ own grandmother had, on at least two occasions, shown up at her home attempting to enter and make a citizen’s arrest.
According to Reuters, things got really frightening for the women when a Black Trump supporter and claimed “publicist” for hip-hop artist Kanye West made a visit to Freeman’s home.
Weeks after the 2020 election, a publicist for Kanye West traveled to the home of Ruby Freeman, a Georgia election worker who was facing death threats after being falsely accused by former President Trump of manipulating votes https://t.co/vtI6NGgbtA pic.twitter.com/mUtzxH3xV3
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 10, 2021
Trevian Kutti tried to pressure the already frightened Freeman to “confess.” He told Freeman that she was about to be arrested for voter fraud. While meeting at a Cobb County police station in early January – two days before the January 6th insurrection – Kutti told Freeman that she was “in danger.” The threats were recorded via a body camera worn by a police officer who was present. On the audio recording, Kutti could be heard saying “I cannot say what specifically will take place, you are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up.”
The next day FBI would call Freeman and tell her that she needed to leave her home – where she’d lived for almost two decades – because it was unsafe. The next day, January 6th, a group of angry MAGA supporters showed up at the Freeman home. Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss were discovered to be included on a “hit list” that a January 6th rioter had of “people to be executed.”
That rioter was arrested two weeks after the attempted coup.
The case against OAN was settled in April with OAN “proudly” saying on their network:
“The legal matter with this network and the two election workers has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties through a fair and reasonable settlement.”
“Fair” depends on who you ask, and, while the lawsuit is settled, what these women have endured in the past year and a half will not soon be forgotten. While the financial terms of the settlement were not revealed, part of the settlement required OAN to air a segment correcting its previous lies.
You can watch their mea culpa segment in the video clip below, in which, even as they rebut one incident of election misinformation, their lower-third chyron scroll perpetuates another at the beginning of the segment.
— One America News (@OANN) May 9, 2022
Freeman and Moss’ defamation suit against The Gateway Pundit, its owner, Jim Hoft, and his brother, Joe, remains open.
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