‘I get nervous when I bump into someone I know in the grocery store who says my name. I’m worried about who’s listening’
一种 乔治亚州 election worker gave emotional testimony to the January 6 House Select Committee about the threats she received from Trump supporters, saying during a pre-recorded deposition, “I’ve lost my name, and I’ve lost my reputation”.
Election worker Ruby Freeman, who was falsely accused of election fraud by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, spoke about the aftermath of being targeted by the then-president.
“Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States target you? The president is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. 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”.
Ms Freeman’s daughter, Shaye Moss, also worked as an election worker in Georgia during the 2020 选举. Ms Moss testified in person in front of the committee during its hearing on Tuesday while her mother sat behind her to support her.
On a phone call played by the committee, Mr Trump falsely called Ms Freeman “a professional vote scammer and hustler”.
Ms Freeman told the committee that she “could never have imagined the events that followed” the 2020 选举. “For my entire professional, I was Lady Ruby. My community in Georgia, where I was born and lived my whole life, knew me as Lady Ruby.”
“I built my own business around that name ‘LaRuby’s unique treasures’ – a pop-up shop catering to ladies with unique fashions,”她补充道. “I wore a shirt that proudly proclaim that I was and I am Lady Ruby. 实际上, I had that shirt in every colour. I wore that shirt on Election Day 2020.”
“I haven’t worn it since and I’ll never wear it again. 现在, I won’t even introduce myself by my name anymore,” Ms Freeman told the committee. “I get nervous when I bump into someone I know in the grocery store who says my name. I’m worried about who’s listening. I get nervous when I have to give my name for food orders. I’m always concerned about who’s around me.”
“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security all because a group of people starting with number 45 and his ally, Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen,” Ms Freeman said.
在五月, a judge dismissed conservative cable news channel One America News Network from a defamation lawsuit filed by the election workers after the two sides reached a settlement.
Ms Freeman and Ms Moss sued OAN in December of last year, as well as its owners and its chief White House correspondent over debunked claims that the mother-and-daughter pair introduced suitcases of illegal ballots while working as ballot counters at the State Farm Arena in 亚特兰大 十一月 2020 and committed other acts of fraud to try to alter the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia.
The terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed, but both sides described it as fair.
The two women also sued Mr Giuliani, saying he amplified the lies about them during frequent appearances on OAN.
Georgia officials concluded in late 2020, shortly after the allegations against the two women surfaced, that the pair had done nothing wrong.
Ms Moss has worked for the Fulton County elections department since 2012 and supervised the absentee ballot operation during the 2020 选举. Her mother was a temporary election worker, verifying signatures on absentee ballots and preparing them to be counted and processed.
When their names circulated online along with allegations that they had engaged in fraud, the two women said they were subjected to intense harassment, both in person and online.
Committee member Adam Schiff asked Ms Moss on Tuesday: “Mr Giuliani accused you and your mother of passing some sort of USB drive to each other. What was your mom actually handing you on that video?”
“A ginger mint,” Ms Moss said.
She said she received “a lot of threats wishing death upon me and telling me I will be in jail with my mother and saying things like ‘be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920’. A lot of them were racist. A lot of them were just hateful”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report