Georgia election workers reach settlement terms with OAN
ATLANTA (AP) — Two Georgia election workers agreed to settle defamation claims against a right-wing cable news channel, which they said falsely claimed they engaged in ballot fraud during the 2020 election, according to a court document filed Thursday.
Fulton County election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss sued One America News Network, its owners and its chief White House correspondent in December over debunked claims that the mother-and-daughter pair introduced suitcases of illegal ballots and committed other acts of fraud to try to alter the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia.
The lawsuit said the cable network, known as OAN, continued to accuse Freeman and Moss of wrongdoing even after Georgia election officials refuted the allegations. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for former President Donald Trump, appeared frequently on the network and along with OAN, “continued to publish and amplify the lie,” according to the suit filed in federal court in Washington.
According to a status report filed Thursday, Freeman and Moss met with the OAN parties on Tuesday for a “successful one-day mediation” and “agreed upon and signed a binding set of settlement terms that they anticipate memorializing in a formal settlement agreement.” Those terms were not disclosed.
Once that is finalized, Freeman and Moss intend to file a motion to dismiss the OAN parties from the lawsuit, the status report says.
The lawsuit also included defamation claims against Giuliani. The anticipated settlement does not include him.
Moss and Freeman also filed a separate defamation lawsuit against The Gateway Pundit, its owner Jim Hoft and his brother Joe Hoft, a contributor to the conservative website. That lawsuit is pending in federal court in Missouri.
After narrowly losing the presidential election in Georgia, Trump made unproven claims that widespread fraud led to his loss in the state. He particularly zeroed in on Fulton County, a Democratic stronghold that includes most of Atlanta.
Moss has worked for the Fulton County elections department since 2012 and supervised the absentee ballot operation during the 2020 election. Freeman, her mother, was a temporary election worker, verifying signatures on absentee ballots and preparing them to be counted and processed.
Once their names circulated online along with allegations that they had engaged in fraud, the two women say they were subjected to intense harassment, both in person and online.
Also Thursday, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced that Moss was one of five people named as recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for acting to protect democracy.