By Andrew Goudsward
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A former Georgia elections worker told a jury on Tuesday that she feared for her life after Rudy Giuliani and other allies of former U.S. President Donald Trump falsely accused her of attempting to rig the 2020 election.
Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a former voter registration officer in Fulton County, testified at the second day of Giuliani’s defamation trial that her life “flipped upside down” in early December 2020 when Trump allies began falsely claiming that she and her mother, Ruby Freeman, engaged in fraud after the November election.
“How can someone with so much power go public and talk about things that he obviously has no clue about?” Moss, 39, said of Giuliani. “It’s just obvious that it’s lies.”
A federal judge has already determined that Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and personal lawyer for Trump, defamed Moss and Freeman. The only issue for the jury to decide is how much Giuliani owes in damages.
Moss testified that the ordeal has affected “every single aspect” of her life, forcing her out of her job and leaving her fearful of going out alone. She spoke of receiving a flood of racist messages that included threats to lynch her and her mother.
“I literally felt that someone is going to come and attempt to hang me and there’s nothing that anyone will be able to do about it,” Moss said.
Giuliani’s lawyer Joseph Sibley has argued that others besides Giuliani bear responsibility for the harm the two workers suffered. During cross-examination, Sibley questioned Moss on whether there was evidence that Giuliani intended to spur threats and racist attacks against her and her mother.
“Rudy Giuliani and his crew were the start of it all,” Moss said. “They lit the torch.”
REPEATING FALSE CLAIMS
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who is overseeing the case, scolded Giuliani earlier on Tuesday for repeating the accusations as he left the courthouse following the first day of the trial.
Giuliani told reporters on Monday outside the courthouse that “everything I said was true” and again accused Moss and Freeman of “changing votes,” according to an ABC News report. Giuliani confirmed in court on Tuesday that he made the statement.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs noted that the judge has already deemed that Giuliani’s prior statements were false and he should not be allowed to challenge that determination during the trial.
Howell said Giuliani’s Monday remarks “could support another defamation claim” and contradicted his lawyer’s statement in court that the workers were “good people.”
The judge said it would be “grossly unfair” for Giuliani to make similar statements when he testifies at trial, which is expected later this week.
Sibley, Giuliani’s lawyer, told the judge that the case has “taken a toll” on the 79-year-old Giuliani, but he would be able to manage his client’s statements in court.
“I can’t control what he says outside the courtroom,” Sibley said.
(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Bill Berkrot and Lisa Shumaker)