By Reuters via NBC News
Weeks after the 2020 election, a Chicago publicist for hip-hop artist Kanye West traveled to the suburban home of Ruby Freeman, a Georgia poll worker who was facing death threats after being falsely accused of former President Donald Trump of manipulating votes.
The publicist knocked on his door and offered to help.
The visitor, Trevian Kutti, gave his name but did not reveal that he worked for West, a longtime friend of Trump’s billionaire.
He claimed that it had been sent by a “high profile person”, whom he did not identify, to give Freeman an urgent message: She had to accept Trump’s election fraud accusations, or in 48 hours people would go to her house and she to jail.
Freeman refused. The story of how a music mogul’s partner lobbied a 62-year-old temp poll worker caught in the middle of a Trump conspiracy theory is based on previously undisclosed police recordings and reports, in legal files and in Freeman’s first interview with the media since she was dragged into the maelstrom of the former president’s attempts to reverse her electoral defeat.
Kutti did not respond to requests for comment. Her biography for the Global Initiative of Women, a business networking group, identifies her as a member of the “Young Black Leadership Council under President Donald Trump.” She notes that in September 2018, “she was hired as a publicist for Kanye West” and “now serves as West’s chief operating officer.”
They are saying that I need help, that it is a matter of time before they come for me and my family “
Ruby Freeman on your call to 911
When Kutti knocked on Freeman’s door on January 4, she called 911. By then, Freeman said, she was wary of strangers.
Beginning December 3, Trump and his campaign repeatedly accused Freeman and his daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, of illegally counting fake ballots by mail after removing them from mysterious suitcases while working on Election Day at the State Farm Arena. from Atlanta.
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In fact, the “suitcases” were standard ballot containers, and the votes were correctly counted, county and state officials quickly confirmed, refuting allegations of fraud.
But Trump and his allies continued to blame Freeman and Moss for manipulating the election. The accusations inspired hundreds of threats and messages of harassment against them and their families.
When Kutti arrived, Freeman was being cautious and did not want to open the door, she and a police report revealed.
So he asked a neighbor to come over to speak to Kutti, who was with an unidentified man. Kutti assured the neighbor that Freeman was in danger and that he was sent to help her.
Freeman said she was willing to meet with them. He asked Cobb County Sheriff’s Office to send an officer to watch so he could get out, according to a recording of his 911 call.
“They are saying I need help,” he told the operator, referring to the people at his door, “that it is a matter of time before they come for me and my family ”.
An officer arrived and spoke to Kutti, who described herself as a “crisis manager,” the police report states.
Kutti repeated that Freeman “was in danger” and that he had “48 hours” before “unknown subjects” showed up at his home, the documents reveal. At the agent’s suggestion, the women met at the police station. The officer did not identify the man accompanying Kutti.
“YOU ARE A LOOSE CAPE”
Inside the police station, Kutti and Freeman found themselves in a corner, according to images from the body camera carried by an officer present. Reuters obtained the video through a public records request.
“I can’t say what specifically is going to happen,” Kutti is heard warning Freeman on the recording. “I only know that it will disturb your freedom“He said,” and that of one or more members of your family. “
“You are a loose end for a party that needs to put order,” he continued. He added, without offering details, that there were “federal people” involved.
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Kutti told Freeman that he would put on loudspeaker a man he identified as “Harrison Ford” and who had “powers of authority to secure protection,” he said. (Freeman clarified that the person on the phone was not the actor of the same name.)
At that moment, Kutti is heard asking the agent for privacy. The body camera did not clearly record the conversation that followed after he walked away from the two women.
Kutti and the man on the loudspeaker, for the next hour, They tried to get Freeman to get involved in an alleged electoral fraud on Election Day. In exchange they offered him legal assistance.
“If you don’t tell everything,” Freeman recalled Kutti telling him, “you’re going to go to jail.”
Suspecting, Freeman testified that he got up from his chair and told Kutti, “The devil is a liar,” before calling an officer.
Later, at her home, Freeman said, she Googled Kutti’s name and discovered she was a Trump supporter.
Police allege that they did not investigate the incident further.
West, who changed his name in October to “Ye,” did not respond to requests for comment sent through another publicist representing him.
Reuters could not independently confirm whether Kutti still works for the rapper, or in what capacity.
The media has cited his association with West since 2018, when he stopped working with R. Kelly, the R&B singer convicted in September on racketeering and sex trafficking charges.
[El rapero Kanye West continúa con su campaña hacia la presidencia]
Kutti’s biography indicates that she is the founder of Trevian Worldwide, a media and entertainment consulting firm with offices in four cities. Among his clients, he says, are boxer Terence Crawford and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan.
The meeting took place two months after West ended a failed White House bid that attracted media attention when multiple posts revealed that Trump allies and supporters were working on the ground to boost the musician’s campaign.
Some Democrats said they viewed West’s presidential candidacy as a ruse to divert black votes from Democrat Joe Biden. Groups that aided the rapper’s campaign denied that accusation.
On January 5, the day after Freeman’s meeting with Kutti, an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation called Freeman and urged you to leave the house where you lived for 20 years because it was not safe, assured the woman.
The next day, January 6, Kutti’s prediction that within 48 hours people would arrive at Freeman’s home turned out to be correct, according to a defamation lawsuit that Freeman and Moss filed last week against a far-right news site. .
Freeman, the prosecution noted, He left hours before a mob of angry Trump supporters surrounded his home., yelling through megaphones.
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A publicist for Kanye West pressured an election official in Georgia to confess to false charges of voter fraud