US President Joe Biden awards the Presidential Citizens Medal to Fulton County, Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attack on the US Capitol in the East Room of the White House on January 6, 2021 in Washington.  DC, on January 6, 2023.  (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP) (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden awards the Presidential Citizens Medal to election worker Ruby Freeman of Fulton County, Georgia, at the White House on January 6, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

ruby freeman and Misty Hampton had a few things in common. They were both from Georgia, and both were election workers in their hometowns. But their paths diverged rapidly when Donald Trump began pushing his bogus claims that he had won the 2020 presidential election and pressured officials in key swing states, including Georgia, to illegally change the results.

As part of his relentless pressure on Georgia officials in the weeks following the November 2020 election, Trump and his allies launched a vicious campaign of harassment against Freeman, fabricating insane conspiracy theories about him and Fulton County. Falsely accused of altering the counting of votes. , including Atlanta, where he served as a temporary election worker. Trump supporters also tried to trick Freeman into falsely admitting that the vote in Fulton County was rigged in favor of Joe Biden. Freeman refused to bow down.

Misty Hampton, by contrast, was swayed by Trump’s election lies. She decided to help her supporters attempt to overturn the election in Georgia by illegally providing access to voting equipment in rural Coffee County, where she was an election supervisor.

The choices made by two women in the crucial days following the 2020 vote have now permanently changed their lives. ruby freeman is the undisputed hero 98 page indictment filed against Trump this week, while Misty Hampton is one of 18 co-conspirators charged in the case. The stories by Freeman and Hampton underscore how Trump and his allies’ illegal campaign to subvert the American democratic system came close to succeeding partly because they were aided by local allies in key states — but ultimately by a handful Failed because of the courage of the people. People in key positions. They were people like Al Schmidt, a Republican member of the municipal elections board in Philadelphia, who refused to go along with Trump’s post-election demands in Pennsylvania; Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who distracted rioters during the January 6 insurrection; and Ruby Freeman.

intimidation campaign

When Trump tried to overturn the election in Georgia, he and his supporters immediately tried to discredit the vote count in Fulton County, a Democratic stronghold. In an attempt to fabricate lies about the election process there, they focused on Freeman and her daughter, Shay Moss, both temporary election workers. They were black women working in an urban county, which made them the perfect target of racist conspiracy theories spread by Trump and his supporters.

Indictments filed against Trump and his co-conspirators in Fulton County this week the fourth since april) details their efforts to harass and intimidate Freeman and lie to him about the voting process in the county.

The latest indictment states that on December 10, 2020, Trump attorney and adviser Rudy Giuliani claimed at a Georgia House of Representatives committee hearing that Freeman, Moss and an unidentified person were “apparently passing around USB ports”. were as if they were vials” of heroin or cocaine … to be used to infiltrate crooked Dominion voting machines.” numbered respectively.

On January 2, 2021, Trump phoned Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and demanded that Raffensperger find more votes for him so he could win Georgia. During the call, which is now a central piece of evidence in the Fulton County case, Trump repeatedly referred to Freeman, claiming she was a “professional vote scammer and known political activist”. They said Freeman, his daughter and others were responsible for fraudulently delivering 18,000 ballots to Biden, adding that Freeman “stuffed the ballot boxes,” the indictment states. Attacks by Trump, Giuliani and others resulted in Trump supporters bombarding Freeman with scathing phone calls and messages; They were also seen at his house.

When harassment didn’t work, Trump and his supporters tried outright intimidation with lies.

promotional plan

According to the indictment, on January 4, 2021, Trump supporters and Kanye West and R.J. Kelly’s former publicist, Trevian Kutty, traveled from Chicago to Atlanta to try to meet with Freeman. Kutty was recruited for the job by Harrison Floyd, the head of Black Voices for Trump, who has also been charged in the case.

Kutty went to Freeman’s home in Atlanta; When she couldn’t find her, Kutty told Freeman’s neighbor that she was a crisis manager trying to help. Later that day, Kutty reached out to Freeman by phone, according to the indictment. She said Freeman was in danger and should meet Kutty at a police station in suburban Cobb County. Upon arriving there, Kutty and Floyd, who attended the meeting by phone, tell Freeman that “he needs protection” and they can help him. The indictment accuses Kutty, Floyd and right-wing minister Stephen Lee of conspiring to incite, soliciting and soliciting Freeman to make false statements about the vote, and engaging in willful and unlawful deceptive conduct. Counting in Fulton County.

Freeman protested and has since been exonerated. In January, Biden honored him and Moss President’s Citizen Medal in the White House. He has sued Giuliani for defamation over comments he made about him, and in July, Giuliani made a remarkable admission in that case: He admitted that he made false statements About Freeman and Moss. The mother and daughter have already settled another defamation case against the right-wing One America News Network.

vote tampering

Misty Hampton took a very different route; While Freeman resented Trump, Hampton embraced him. The Coffey County elections supervisor, Hampton illegally offered Trump and his associates access to the county’s voting systems.

Trump supporters vandalized the state’s voting equipment at Hampton’s invitation to make absurd claims about it. Now Hampton — along with Trump attorney Sidney Powell, Georgia Republican operative Kathleen Latham and Atlanta-area bail bondsman Scott Hall — have all been charged in connection with conspiracy to tamper with election systems in Coffey County and commit election fraud. Powell allegedly hired SullivanStrickler, an Atlanta cybercontracting firm, to send employees into Coffee County to gain access to election equipment, while Hampton, Latham and Hall worked inside Coffee County to tamper with the equipment. Sullivan “aided, abetted and encouraged” the Strickler employees. Electoral Office, according to the indictment.

On January 7, 2021 – the day after the violent riot at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. – Latham, Hall and SullivanStrickler staffers traveled from Atlanta to Coffee County, where Hampton gave them access to the elections office and voting systems.

That timing is an indication that even after the failed insurrection, Trump and his co-conspirators were persistent in trying to overturn the election.

Hampton resigned as Coffey County Election Supervisor in February 2021, but that was not the end of his work on the Georgia elections. Last April, Georgia state investigators seized rural Trutlen County’s election computer servers after discovering that Hampton had been hired to work on a special election there. Trautlen officials claimed they were not aware of the controversy surrounding Hampton’s work in Coffey County, about 60 miles away.

“At that particular moment, we had no idea what was happening [in Coffee County], Said Trutlen County Manager TJ Hudson, who hired Hampton. Hudson, a Republican, said he knew Hampton “through an informal network of county elections officials in Georgia.”

Eventually, Hampton got his wish. Eager to help Trump, she is now inextricably linked to him under Georgia law.

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