On Rudy Giuliani’s Common Sense podcast posted to YouTube, Giuliani and disgraced journalist John Solomon recycled disproven conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, even though Giuliani is currently a target of an investigation in Fulton County and is being sued by two former Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, for the fallout from his targeted conspiracy theories.
Giuliani was subpoenaed by a Fulton County grand jury in July 2022 for both his role in a 2020 state Senate hearing where he made false election fraud claims and his continued efforts to spread the false claims after they were disproved. He testified before the grand jury in August after he tried to claim he wasn’t healthy enough to fly to the state and was ordered by the judge to arrive “on a train, on a bus or Uber.” The investigation is led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and is likely to result in criminal charges, though it is not clear for which of the 17-plus people targeted.
Freeman and Moss were targeted by Giuliani’s conspiracy theories in the aftermath of the 2020 election based on a video of them doing their jobs. His witch hunt led to violent threats and harassment against the mother and daughter, who filed a defamation lawsuit against One America News, several OAN employees, and Giuliani in response to the conspiracy theories. The case against OAN and its reporters was settled, but the case against Giuliani is ongoing, with the discovery period set to close in August 2023.
Both Giuliani and Solomon have a history of repeating false claims about the Georgia 2020 election, which they called upon during the episode. Here are some of the conspiracy theories they shared:
False claim: Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, used USB drives to tamper with Dominion voting machines.
During the podcast Giuliani referenced a video that “didn’t get much attention” of “Ruby Freeman and her daughter and they were passing USBs to each other.” Giuliani even referenced a Dominion executive stating that the machines were not susceptible to tampering with USBs, though he said that claim “is contradicted by the manual and it’s contradicted by pictures of the machine.”
Reality: Dominion says USB sticks cannot be used to manipulate vote counts, and Freeman and Moss said the object seen was a mint.
In response to similar attacks against Dominion voting machines in a different Georgia county, the company stated, “It is not physically possible for vote tabulators to use a USB stick to add votes for a candidate.” Moss and Freeman later confirmed that the object they were seen with was a ginger mint candy.
False claim: Ballots were counted without Republican observation.
Giuliani claimed the Fulton County ballots were counted “without Republican observation, which is clearly illegal in Georgia.” This conspiracy theory stems from a video of Freeman and Moss shared by Giuliani which he claims shows the pair sent election observers out of the room during ballot counting so they could commit fraud.
Reality: Election observers were never asked to leave the room.
The observers were never asked to leave, and there was no evidence of fraud in the Fulton County ballot count.
False claim: The recount in Georgia was several thousand votes off.
Solomon claimed that “mathematical errors” during the Georgia recount resulted in the count being “several thousand” votes off, and Giuliani said that meant “you’re getting very close to affecting the election.”
Reality: The final machine recount did not include any of the supposed errors.
The claim that the Georgia recount numbers were incorrect has been previously debunked. Though Georgia officials noted an error during the recounting, it was fixed and did not have any impact on the outcome. Fulton County also noted “repeated human errors” during its hand recount that did not affect the outcome of the election and did not occur in the final machine recount that was the official tally.
False claim: Fulton County experienced election fraud.
Throughout the episode Giuliani made multiple unfounded assertions that Fulton County experienced high levels of voter fraud. While discussing Solomon’s supposed evidence of fraud in Georgia, Giuliani called the 2020 election “far from perfect” and claimed Trump had received reports of illegality in the Georgia election in contrast to what Georgia officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, said. Giuliani stated that the former president “couldn’t understand” why Georgia officials claimed the election was “perfect” and that initiated Trump’s call to Raffensperger about possible election fraud. Giuliani claimed that “it seems like all of the illegalities and irregularities are concentrated in Fulton County.” He later stated that there was likely enough evidence of election fraud in Fulton County to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Reality: Trump asked Raffensperger to find more votes for him, and there was no evidence of major election fraud in Fulton County.
The call between Raffensperger and Trump was found to consist of Trump begging the secretary of state to find votes for him. In fact, there was no evidence of fraudulent ballots or fraudulent ballot counting in Fulton County.