The life of Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker who was the target of a conspiracy theory spread by former President Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, changed after the 2020 election, with violent threats toward her and her family, forcing Moss to hide her identity and leave her job.
The fabricated accusations from Trump and Giuliani said Moss, who had been a Fulton County Elections Department employee since 2017, had processed fake ballots for Joe Biden.
Moss testified about her experiences in Congress Tuesday, at the fourth hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The hearing focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials to overturn the election results in his favor.
“It’s turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card… I don’t want anyone knowing my name,” Moss told the committee. “I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all. I’ve gained about 60 pounds. I just don’t do nothing anymore,” she added, wiping away a tear.
“I second guess everything that I do. It’s affected my life in a major way — in every way. All because of lies.”
Moss had to go into hiding and change her appearance after she started receiving threats. She eventually left her job.
Earlier this year, Moss received the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award, along with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the lead Republican on the House committee, and Rusty Bowers, the Speaker of the House in Arizona in 2020, who refused to bow to pressure from Trump to overturn the state’s election results. Bowers also testified at Tuesday’s hearing.
The threats Moss and her family received were racist
In a phone call leaked to reporters days before the insurrection, Trump was berating Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the state’s election results. During the call, the former president mentioned Moss’ mother, Ruby Freeman, who was temping as an election worker with her daughter, 18 times.
“I’ll take on anybody you want with regard to Ruby Freeman, and her lovely daughter, a very lovely young lady, I’m sure. But Ruby Freeman, I will take on anybody you want,” Trump said to Raffensperger.
And in a virtual hearing with GOP lawmakers in Georgia, Giuliani mentioned both Moss and Freeman.
“They should have been questioned already. Their places of work, their homes should have been searched,” he said.
In his false accusations, Giuliani said that Moss handed her mother a thumb drive “like they were vials of heroin or cocaine.” In reality, Moss said in her testimony that her mother had handed her a ginger mint.
Moss also said Tuesday she hadn’t known about threats being made against her by those who believed Trump and Giuliani’s allegations until one of her supervisors called her into his office and told her to check her Facebook account, which she said she didn’t often use.
“I’m just panicky at this point, because this has never happened to me and my mom is involved,” Moss told the committee. “I went to [Facebook messages] and it was just a lot of horrible things there… a lot of threats, wishing death upon me, telling me that I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like ‘Be glad its 2020 and not 1920.'”
“A lot of them were racist,” Moss said of the messages. “A lot them were just hateful.”
Moss and Freeman say they’ve lost their sense of security
Moss said she blamed herself and her career choice for the attacks on her mother, and threats toward her son and her grandmother, as well. Someone showed up at her grandmother’s door and said they were there to make a citizen’s arrest, Moss said.
“I felt horrible for picking this job, for being the one who wants to help,” she said, “I felt it was my fault for putting my family in this situation.”
While Freeman attended Tuesday’s hearing, she did not testify in person but the committee played video from earlier testimony to the committee.
Freeman said that she had to be moved from her house due to threats brought on by Trump. And she doesn’t use her name in public, after years of being known as “Lady Ruby” in her community and for her small business.
“I don’t introduce myself by name anymore, I get nervous when I bump into someone who in the grocery store who says my name. I’m worried about who’s listening. I get nervous when I have to give my name for food orders,” she said.
“I’ve lost my name. I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security,” Freeman said.