While publicists aren’t generally known for their threatening demeanor, Kanye West’s right-hand woman went to the home of Ruby Freeman, a 62-year-old Georgia election official, to threaten her into falsely confessing to bogus charges of election tampering in the days before Jan. 6.
The incident happened in the weeks after the 2020 election, according to Reuters, which obtained a police report and body-cam footage of the confrontation and interviewed Freeman.
At the time, Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, had been propelled to the worst kind of fame after President Donald Trump’s team released CCTV footage from an Atlanta ballot-counting site, claiming falsely that it was a “smoking gun” clip showing officials ushering observers and reporters out of the room at 11 p.m. and then pulling out suitcases of “stolen” votes.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani took it up a notch, saying the footage not only showed the Black mom-and-daughter “stealing votes” but also “passing out dope.” The president invoked Freeman’s name 18 times in a Jan. 3 call with the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, according to a defamation lawsuit filed by Freeman and Moss against Gateway Pundit, a right-wing site that they say amplified the misinformation campaign.
Raffensperger’s office concluded that the video depicted normal ballot counting, but that didn’t stop Freeman and Moss from receiving an avalanche of death threats and harassment.
One of the most bizarre—and scary—threats came from Trevian Kutti, according to Reuters, whose online résumé says she started working as West’s publicist in 2018 and is now his director of operations.
On her Instagram profile, Kutti calls herself a “media manipulator” and posts about almost every hot-button, far-right issue, from bizarre COVID conspiracies to defenses of Kyle Rittenhouse, 2020 election fraud lies, and an extreme devotion to Trump. Prior to the 2020 election, she only posted about Kanye and a few other musicians.
West had publicly declared his support for Trump in 2020, then launched a half-hearted presidential bid that many observers believed was an attempt to siphon Black votes away from Joe Biden.
Kutti is said to have identified herself by name but not by mission when she knocked on Freeman’s door on Jan. 4, saying only a “high-profile individual” sent her.
Freeman was at first suspicious and asked a neighbor to come talk to Kutti. Then she called 911. “They’re saying that I need help, that it’s just a matter of time that they are going to come out for me and my family,” Freeman reportedly said when she called 911.
When an officer arrived, Kutti said she was a “crisis manager” and explained that Freeman was “in danger,” according to a police report obtained by Reuters. She said Freeman had “48 hours” until unknown people came to hurt her.
The officer suggested the pair talk together at a police station. There, Kutti kept pressing Freeman to “confess” to Trump’s voter-fraud allegations, telling Freeman she’d end up in jail if she didn’t. She offered legal assistance if Freeman were to admit to any tampering, and even called a man on speakerphone who apparently had “authoritative powers to get you protection.”
In body-cam footage from an officer on the other side of the room, which Reuters obtained through a public-records request, Kutti can be heard saying, “I cannot say what specifically will take place... I just know that it will disrupt your freedom and the freedom of one or more of your family members.”
After about an hour, Freeman said she told Kutti, “The devil is a liar,” then walked out.
The following day, the FBI advised Freeman to leave her house due to threats to her safety. The day after that—48 hours after Kutti’s visit—a group of Trump supporters swarmed Freeman’s home with bullhorns. She didn’t return home for another two months, according to her lawsuit.
West and Kutti, who is identified in media reports as previously working for R. Kelly, did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
“I want the defendants to know that my daughter and I are real people who deserve justice,” Freeman said in a statement earlier this month when she filed her lawsuit. “And I never want them to do this to anyone else.”