Two Georgia election officials sue far-right website over false allegations of fraud

December 2 (Reuters) – Two Georgian election agents targeted by former US President Donald Trump in a voter fraud conspiracy theory sued a far-right website that trumpeted the false story, alleging it had incited months to death threats and harassment against them.

The defamation suit against The Gateway Pundit was filed Thursday by Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a voter registration officer at the Fulton County Election Office, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who was a temporary election worker. 2020. The women were featured in a Reuters report released Wednesday on their ordeal.

The lawsuit names The Pundit, its founder and publisher Jim Hoft, and his brother, writer Joe Hoft. He alleges that they have repeatedly published patently false allegations describing the women as “traitors” who conspired to “steal the presidential election in Georgia”.

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A lawyer for Jim Hoft and The Gateway Pundit did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning. Joe Hoft did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, alleges that Pundit’s “lies” about Freeman and Moss “devastated” their reputations and “caused a deluge of intimidation, harassment and threats that have forced them to change their phone numbers, delete their online accounts and fear for their physical safety. said the costume. Freeman went into hiding.

An employee of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections processes the ballots in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, November 4, 2020. REUTERS / Brandon Bell / File Photo

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The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, revolves around false allegations first raised by a volunteer Trump campaign lawyer during a Dec. 3 hearing of Georgia state lawmakers. Freeman and Moss worked in the heavily Democratic County of Fulton, which includes Atlanta, where a strong performance from Democrat Joe Biden helped him secure a narrow victory in Georgia.

Trump, a Republican, and his surrogates falsely alleged that Freeman and Moss pulled out “suitcases” full of fake ballots for Biden and dealt with them late at night on Election Day, Nov. 3, after the departure of most election officials and election observers.

State officials, including Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, quickly and forcefully refuted the allegations, explaining that the “suitcases” were standard voting containers and that the votes were correctly counted under the supervision of an independent observer and a state investigator.

The Gateway Pundit covered the bogus claims in several articles, including one that identified Freeman by name with the headline: “What’s up, Ruby?” Twisted officer filmed removing suitcases of ballot papers in Georgia IDENTIFIED. “The Pundit identified Moss in another story.

Pundit’s stories continued throughout the summer, although several audits and reviews confirmed the accuracy of the Fulton County vote results.

“I could not have imagined the lies The Gateway Pundit would tell about me, causing people to harass me and my family and threaten us with violence,” Freeman said in a statement released by his lawyers.

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Reporting by Peter Eisler; edited by Brian Thevenot

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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About George H. McWhorter

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