Wandrea “Shaye” Moss’ life changed forever on December 4, 2020, when Rudy Giuliani disseminated conspiracy theories about her online, the former Georgia election worker suing Giuliani for defamation said in federal court Tuesday.
“On that day, lies were spread about me and my mom, saying that we weren’t doing our job, that we were committing fraud. All these crazy lies were spread about us that day, publicly, everywhere,” Moss testified.
“It feels like I’m trapped under someone else’s boot of power” she said later. “I can’t do anything, I feel helpless, and the only thing that’s surrounding me is the lies.”
Though Moss shared much of her experience as a victim of conspiracy theories with the House select committee that investigated January 6, 2021, her testimony Tuesday was perhaps the most detailed public account she’s given about that period of her life.
At times, she grew visibly emotional while she took the stand, crying as she recalled how different her life has become since the election, including losing her job, entering therapy and seeing family members threatened.
“I am most scared of my son finding me and or my mom hanging outside my house on a tree, or having to get the news at school that his momma was killed,” Moss said Tuesday. “That’s what I’m most afraid of.”
Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman are asking the jury to consider awarding them between $15.5 million and $43 million for the reputational harm they’ve suffered as well as monetary damages for emotional distress stemming from a series of specific statements Giuliani and others, including former President Donald Trump and his campaign, made about them. The judge in the case has already ruled Giuliani spread false information.
During her direct examination Tuesday, Moss recounted for the jury how even her then-14-year-old son’s cell phone was flooded with violent and racist threats against Moss and her family after Giuliani targeted her and her mother.
“I had to tell him racism is real, and it comes out. And it was just — I can’t even describe it,” Moss said through tears. “I felt like the worst mom ever to allow him to have to hear this, have to experience this day after day after day.”
Even today, Moss said, she suffers from paranoia and panic attacks from the threats that she and her family continue to receive.
“I can’t get out of the feeling that someone is going to act upon the things that they are messaging me, because they never stop,” she testified.
Racist texts and social media messages
Moss described spending hours crying and scrolling through “hateful, racist, violent, nasty, negative messages” she received on her phone and Facebook account.
One of the Facebook messages shown to the jury Monday called Moss a “dirty f**king n*****r b***h.”
Another said simply: “be glad its 2020 and not 1920.”
“Everybody knows exactly what a Black woman would be doing in 1920,” Moss testified.“It’s hurtful. It’s hurtful to know that’s the way that people feel when I’m breaking my back to make sure their vote counts.”
The jury also heard messages that were left Moss’ son’s cell phone telling Moss she was going to “hang” and that she was going “to hell.”
Her attorney, John Langford, at one point showed the jury a video Giuliani and Trump shared on Twitter about her and her mother working at a Georgia voting center.
“The video shows us working very hard to ensure that every vote is counted,” Moss said.
“I didn’t know what to think. I was so confused and shocked and – I didn’t know what to think. I was dumbfounded,” she said, referring to her reaction to seeing the video shared online.
Moss said that her superiors at work first made her aware of the online conspiracy theories and the hateful comments spurred by them.
“I learned that I have been receiving all types of hateful, racist, violent, nasty, negative messages,” she said.
Among the messages was one in which a person accused her of “treasonous acts against America (that) are punishable by death.” Langford asked if she knew what treasonous meant at the time.
“I don’t know. I just thought it was some old timey word, like Paul Revere or Bridgerton,” Moss replied. “They kept telling me that it is punishable by death, and they can hang me and they can hang my mom.”
At one point, Langford asked Moss to respond to specific falsehoods spread about her by Giuliani.
“Did you create a false story that there was a water main break?” he said.
“No, I didn’t,” Moss replied.
“Did you get everybody out and make sure before you started counting ballots?”
“Did you count ballots multiple times?”
“Did you steal the election?” Langford asked
“No, sir,” Moss said.
This story has been updated with additional developments.