Georgia election workers sue Chanel Rion and Rudy Giuliani
Two election officials on Thursday filed a federal defamation complaint against pro-Trump correspondent One America News Network (OAN) Chanel Rion, its founder Robert herring, and its president Charles herring. OAN is continued under its corporate name Herring Networks, Inc .; the two herring are designated as âownersâ of the network. Also named as a separate defendant is Rudy Giuliani, a “frequent guest” on OAN shows.
Complainants Ruby freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” foam, both Georgians, say the defendants “all bear responsibility for the partisan assassination” that resulted after the 2020 presidential election. Freeman was a “temporary election worker”, while Moss “oversaw the operation. County of Fulton’s mail-in vote in the 2020 general election, “the lawsuit later notes.
“The defendants have embarked on a concerted effort to accuse Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, by name, of committing electoral fraud in order to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia,” the lawsuit reads. “The defendants have collaborated to publish false statements accusing Ms Freeman and Ms Moss of having committed electoral fraud.”
The lawsuit then presents a comprehensive list of defendants’ claims that the plaintiffs seek to challenge in court. The plaintiffs say the defendants accused them of:
– engaging in a criminal conspiracy, with others, to illegally exclude observers from counting ballots “under false pretenses” so that they can engage in electoral fraud;
– criminally and / or fraudulently introduce âsuitcasesâ of illegal ballot papers into the counting process;
– criminal and / or fraudulent counting several times of the same ballots in order to tilt the results of the election;
– surreptitiously circulate USB keys that were not supposed to be placed in the Dominion’s voting machines; and
– committing other crimes, including participating in something akin to the âcrime of the centuryâ.
The lawsuit criticized OAN as having “a business model, not a journalistic model” and said it “does not attempt to perform the functions of an objective news organization”.
The heart of the trial then returned to the alleged specific conduct of the Respondent with respect to the Complainants:
Knowing that the allegations against Ms Freeman and Ms Moss were not fact-based, OAN spent the past year accusing them of committing an illegal act of electoral fraud, along with other false allegations. As part of this campaign, OAN has repeatedly turned to Giuliani, a member of former President Trump’s campaign team and one of the main orchestrators of the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election has been rigged.
On December 3, 2020, the Trump campaign released a grainy security camera-edited video that showed unidentified people (including people later identified as Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss) counting the ballots. The Trump campaign and Giuliani used this video to fabricate the lies that Ms Freeman and Ms Moss were illegally counting ballots. Giuliani amplified the video by posting it on social media and asking his followers to watch it multiple times over the next two days. OAN, its hosts and staff took advantage of Giuliani’s unsubstantiated factual claims and almost immediately released them to millions of viewers and readers, subsequently adding the names of Ms Freeman and Ms Moss and laying additional charges of criminal fraud against them.
The lawsuit goes on to say that these and other allegations of electoral malfeasance have been “definitively debunked” several times again:
Within 24 hours of the original publication of these lies by Giuliani and the Trump campaign on December 3, 2020, Georgia election officials publicly and permanently debunked the allegations about Ms Freeman and Ms Moss by explaining in detail what the video misinterpreted. did not show: no suitcases; no illegal counting of ballots; no electoral fraud. A full recount of election results in Georgia had already confirmed the election results, and on December 7, so would the recount requested by the Trump campaign. In December and January, Republican election officials in Georgia continued to explain to the public, over and over again, that extensive examinations had refuted the defendants’ false claims and proved that no illegal count had taken place.
“The defendants were aware of Georgian election officials’ clear rebuttal of Giuliani’s claims and recklessly ignored him,” the trial continues. Even after the allegations regarding Ms Freeman and Ms Moss were publicly discredited, the defendants continued to repeat and repost the false and defamatory statements, including to this day: Giuliani appeared on OAN on December 10, 2021, to resume. his lies. Regardless of the truth or the consequences of their willful conduct, the defendants have baselessly portrayed the plaintiffs as traitors who participated in a carefully planned plot to steal the presidential election in Georgia.
“Ms. Freeman and / or Ms. Moss have, at no time, ever: conspired to eliminate the poll observers from the room where they counted the ballots, produce secret ‘suitcases’ full of illegal ballots, or illegally count the ballots multiple times, “the trial continues.” There is and never was any basis in the video for making such statements. “
The lawsuit says the plaintiffs faced an “attack of violent and racist threats and harassment” as a result of the alleged defamation.
âMs. Freeman, on the recommendation of the FBI, fled her home and did not return for two months,â says the trial. âOn January 6, 2021, a crowd on foot and in vehicles surrounded Ms. Freeman’s house Ms. Freeman was forced to shut down her online business when social media became impossible to navigate.
In addition to the “harassment messages” by e-mail, strangers attempted “”[o]n at least twice “to break into Moss’ grandmother’s house in a vigorous attempt to carry out a so-called” citizen arrest, “the lawsuit also says.
After dozens of pages of factual accounts of – and withdrawals – of NAO coverage and Giuliani’s statements regarding the election, plaintiffs allege one count of libel in itself (for accusing the complainants of having committed criminal conduct) with genuine malice.
âThe defendants did not contact and question the obvious sources available for corroboration; ignored reliable sources refuting their claims; had no credible basis for the false allegations made; and published their allegations in such a way as to create false inferences â, alleges the lawsuit.
The lawsuit goes on to allege one additional count each of intentionally inflicting emotional distress and civil conspiracy on all of the defendants. The latter leader accuses all the parties of having “acted in concert” and of having “coordinated in the service of the common project”.
A fourth claim alleges that the defendants aided and abetted each other in committing the alleged acts.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified nominal damages; compensatory damages (including general, actual, indirect and special damages to be determined at trial); punitive damages; attorney fees; costs; interest; a statement that the factual assertions made by the defendants about the plaintiffs were, indeed, false; injunction “directing the defendants to withdraw their false and defamatory statements.” . . from any website and / or social media account under their control; And any other remedy that the court considers appropriate.
Earlier, the lawsuit extolled the virtues of election workers in general:
The conduct of free and fair elections in the United States depends on the service of non-partisan election workers. For most of American history, these ordinary citizens have been thanked for their efforts, even from unsuccessful candidates. In the 2020 federal election, however, that venerable tradition was decimated by anti-democratic actors desperately seeking scapegoats they could blame for the election results they refused to accept.
Complainants Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, through no fault of their own, are among those scapegoats. They served as official election workers in Georgia in the 2020 federal election. Like countless other election workers, they share a patriotic commitment to a free and fair democratic process.
Due to their vital service, Ms Freeman and Ms Moss have become the object of vitriol, threats and harassment. They found themselves in this unenviable position not because of what they did, but rather because of a campaign of malicious lies aimed at accusing them of interfering with a fair and impartial election, which everyone would say. ‘them swore to protect.
Surveys by News week to OAN, its owners, and to Giuliani have not been returned, notes the magazine. Charles Herring did not immediately respond to an email sent by Law & Crime.
The 80-page civil complaint is below:
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