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Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss are warriors for the truth

Tony Bennis

It’s important to acknowledge the bravery and patriotism of the Black mother-daughter election day workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. After being civic-minded on Nov. 3, 2020, helping with the election in Georgia, their lives have been viciously threatened for three years due to blatant falsehoods put forth by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump.

By standing strong against the most vile life-threatening danger, Freeman and Moss have proven that two seemingly helpless people can defeat those with the utmost power. Last week, a jury in federal court provided some level of justice to Freeman and Moss, ruling that Giuliani must pay them $148 million for defamation. They may never receive all of that money, because Giuliani is reportedly close to bankruptcy, but their legal victory will help prevent powerful people from unleashing similar violence-promoting defamation.

To fully understand the heroism of Freeman and Moss we must go back to the 2020 presidential election when Trump lost to Joe Biden, including in Georgia. Declared the loser, Trump became desperate to find a way to overturn the true election results. Giuliani was also desperate to be considered relevant and to earn a big paycheck, so he promised Trump he’d be a leader in the effort to create doubt about the election results.

Giuliani focused on Georgia because Trump lost there by 11,779 votes, a relatively small amount. Giuliani fabricated stories of election fraud in the largely Black area of Fulton County, which includes Atlanta. Sure, Giuliani figured, blame it on Black voters and election supervisors. But recounts and audits by the Trump-supporting Republican governor and Republican secretary of state confirmed that Trump lost.

Giuliani falsely claimed Freeman and Moss were somehow stealing the election from Trump. This led to Trump getting his own attorney general, William Barr — and his U.S. attorney for Georgia — to investigate Freeman and Moss.  Those investigations confirmed that Freeman and Moss were completely innocent and that Giuliani’s claims were totally unfounded.

But Giuliani and then Trump continued to name the two Black women as traitors attempting to steal the presidential election. Trump referred to Freeman as a “professional vote-scammer.”  Right-wing media outlets like Fox News and OANN, as well as numerous right-wing “news” websites joined the attack on Freeman and Moss.

Then threats of physical violence and execution grew as Giuliani continued to stir up outrage from Trump supporters, because it was better to false blame two “powerless” Black women rather than admit that he had failed to find any election fraud that would favor Trump. People called for the two to be hung at the Capitol where witnesses could “hear their necks snap.”

Think about it. Giuliani, Trump, Fox News, and right-wing websites were all saying that Freeman and Moss illegally stole the United States presidential election from Trump. Freeman testified in front of Congress and asked, “Do you know what it feels like to have the President of the United States target you?” 

No. None of us can imagine how terrifying it is to be demonized by the president. Not surprisingly, the Trump loyalists believed what they were being told. So it got even worse as some attempted to conduct a citizen’s arrest.  A local pastor and leader of the so-called “Blacks For Trump” pressured them to (falsely) admit that they had stolen the election. A public relations expert connected with Kanye West, who had been a vocal supporter of Trump, was brought in to confront Freeman, telling her that bad things were about to happen to her, but if she just (falsely) confessed, she could limit her damage. It became so dangerous for them that the FBI told them they had to flee their homes. Even the FBI couldn’t protect them.

The threats and pressure that Freeman and Moss were under were terrifying and relentless.  It would have been so much easier to give in and falsely confess to a nonexistent crime.

Freeman and Moss were subjected to an undeniably vicious assault. Giuliani, Trump and Fox News committed acts that encouraged domestic terrorism against them. But Freeman and Moss proved once again that Black women have the strength to stand up against hatred and racism and will stand up for truth. 

America owes Freeman and Moss tremendous gratitude.  Their legal victory is a victory for America.

Tony Bennis is the founder and president of Synergy Media Partners.