Not only did the state of Georgia vote blue for the first time in a presidential election since the early '90s last year, but Black voting rights organizers also played a key role in delivering the Democratic party a razor-thin Senate majority with the elections of John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.
As such, Georgia became a major focus of former President Donald Trump's and his allies' conspiracy theories regarding the validity of the 2020 election. Trump personally called Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, urging him to "find" the exact number of votes needed to deliver Georgia's electoral votes to the Republican party. Georgia officials like Raffensperger, Republican Governor Brian Kemp, and elections official Gabriel Sterling became the targets of death threats after Trump vilified them on Twitter. Trump and some of his allies are currently under investigation for election interference in Fulton County.
Despite Trump's claims being repeatedly debunked, right-wing media frequently amplified these delusions—and one site may soon be facing consequences.
Reuters is reporting that two Georgia election workers—voter registration officer Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman—have sued far-right disinformation outlet The Gateway Pundit for defamation, alleging the site painted them as conspirators to "steal" the 2020 election.
The Pundit falsely claimed the pair processed suitcases full of fake ballots for then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden. These lies were swiftly debunked by Raffensperger, who confirmed the two had done their jobs by the book.
One of the Pundits headlines named Ms. Freeman directly, reading:
“What’s Up, Ruby? Crooked Operative Filmed Pulling Out Suitcases of Ballots in Georgia IS IDENTIFIED.”
Freeman said in a statement:
“I couldn't have imagined the lies that The Gateway Pundit would tell about me, pushing people to harass me and my family and to threaten us with violence."
Social media users supported the lawsuit.
Every election worked who's gone through this should sue, and I wouldn't stop with a newspaper. I'd sue the people who started the defamation and slander to begin with. No one should be threatened and harassed for doing their job. https://t.co/7Y5gtS8ruQ
— LittleS (@LittleS61138811) December 3, 2021
Get ‘em ladies. Destroy them. https://t.co/rkGqVTw5Ah
— Jazzmom Wants Indictments (@jazzmom98) December 3, 2021
I do hope that Gateway Pundit is only the first of many targets, given the glee with which these women’s lives were destroyed. https://t.co/dSWW79YUQ6
— Peter Bonilla (@pebonilla) December 3, 2021
Hope they send Gateway Pundit into bankruptcy. https://t.co/NfPMZ24eGd
— D. R. Quinn (@Quinn3D) December 2, 2021
Some are hoping Trump will also face consequences for his efforts to interfere in Georgia.
Why is Trump not in handcuffs yet?
He is dead to rights guilty of:
1) obstruction of justice over the Mueller investigation
2) conspiracy to coerce and commit election fraud in Georgia
3) conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud
Why is he not in handcuffs?
— David Atkins (@DavidOAtkins) December 3, 2021
The criminal investigation of Trump in Manhattan gets the bulk of the attention, but the investigation in Georgia is quietly ramping up, and there is nothing stopping the 1/6 Committee from sharing evidence that they find during their investigation with Fulton County prosecutors.
— Resist hateful GOP policies (@hateGOP) December 2, 2021
@TheJusticeDept As a patriotic citizen, I’m wondering why there is no Justice Dept investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn our elections & retain power. Are you investigating Georgia travesty, Jan 6th etc? As we try to hang on to democracy - where is Merrick Garland?
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) December 4, 2021
There's growing evidence that Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis is moving to impanel a grand jury regarding her investigation into Trump's potential election interference.