A former Georgia election worker whose life was turned upside down by Donald Trump’s bogus claims of election fraud at State Farm Arena will testify to congressional investigators Tuesday.
Trump accused Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, of rigging the November 2020 election for Joe Biden with “suitcases” of ballots on election night. The pair were featured in a video that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani called a “smoking gun” for voting fraud at the arena.
It was not a smoking gun. State and federal investigators reviewed the video, interviewed election workers and determined they did nothing improper. But Moss faced death threats and racist taunts, which forced her into hiding.
Now Moss will testify at a congressional hearing that’s expected to focus on Trump’s actions in Georgia in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The hearing also will feature testimony from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his top deputy, Gabriel Sterling. Raffensperger is expected to testify about the infamous recorded phone call in which Trump asked him to “find” the 11,780 votes he needed to defeat Biden in Georgia, citing the State Farm video and other false voting fraud allegations.
Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, believes the hearing will yield new evidence that could prove useful to a Fulton County grand jury investigating Trump’s actions.
“I think we can expect Raffensperger to talk about the devastating effect that call had on him and his impressions of Trump’s intent — that Trump clearly didn’t care about the truth,” Eisen said. “This is the most important and challenging issue in any criminal case.”
Events in Georgia have already featured prominently in the House select committee’s hearings. But with three Georgians testifying, Georgia will be the star of Tuesday’s show.
Moss and Freeman have filed several lawsuits against right-wing news organizations and individuals, saying they endured harassment because of the false allegations. One American News Network has already settled one of the lawsuits.
Tuesday’s hearing also is expected to delve into Trump’s effort to enlist Republican officials in Georgia and other states to participate in his scheme. He found plenty of help in Georgia, where the Republican Party and a group of legislators went to extraordinary lengths to overturn Biden’s victory.
The party organized a slate of “alternative” presidential electors who would vote for Trump instead of Biden. The lawmakers spread Trump’s false voting fraud allegations and tried to convene a special legislative session to replace Georgia’s official Electoral College delegation with the bogus Trump slate.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating the phony Trump electors — legal experts say they may have committed election fraud and forgery, and broken other laws. She’s also investigating the Trump phone call to Raffensperger.
“The hearing will give the criminal investigation of Fulton County DA Fani Willis even more impetus,” Eisen said. ‘She has strong facts because of the Jan. 2 smoking gun tape recording of Trump.”
Tuesday’s House committee hearing is the fourth this month focusing on the events that led to the Jan. 6 attack. Previous hearings have focused on Trump’s false voting fraud allegations and his effort to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the legitimate Biden electors on Jan. 6.
Related AJC coverage about Jan. 6 and the 2020 election
The officer who shared chilling memories at Jan. 6 hearing is a Georgia native
‘Stop the steal’ gets personal
Explainer: Hundreds charged with crimes in Capitol attack
Timeline: Campaign to undermine the Georgia 2020 election
AJC Special Report: Inside the campaign to undermine Georgia’s election
Atlanta Breakdown Podcast: The Trump Grand Jury’ Ep. 1: The Jan. 2 phone call
New details show Georgia Republicans’ actions on and before Jan. 6. attack
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