Rapper Kanye West, left, shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
A publicist for musician and 2020 presidential candidate Kanye West was caught on video making threats to a Georgia election worker and later attempting to coerce her into confessing to spurious fraud claims trumpeted by former President Donald Trump, according to police body camera footage and a new report from Reuters.
On January 4, just two days before Biden’s election victory was to be certified, Trevian Kutti, West’s publicist, showed up at the door of Ruby Freeman with an unidentified man and asked to speak, according to Reuters. (West is now officially known as Ye after changing his name in October.)Freeman agreed to meet Kutti at a police station for safety, and in the exchange, which was caught on police body camera video, Kutti gets right to the point: “We didn’t want to frighten you, but we had to find you within this time frame.” Kutti goes on to tell Freeman that she has “secured placement” and they have “48 hours in which to move to you.” “I cannot say what will specifically take place, I just know that it will disrupt your freedom and...the freedom of your family members,” Kutti tells Freeman. “You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up.”
Later, after the body camera was turned off, Kutti told Freeman directly that she wanted her to admit to committing election fraud. “If you don't tell everything, you're going to jail,” Freeman recalled Kutti saying, according to Reuters. Freeman had been a temporary worker during the 2020 election in Georgia’s Fulton County, just one of the several Democratic strongholds in swing states which went for President Joe Biden where Trump made baseless claims of widespread fraud. Freeman was wrongly accused of fraud by Trump’s campaign and the right-wing outlet Gateway Pundit, which published dozens of stories about Freeman and her daughter, Fulton County elections board employee Shaye Moss, claiming that they “pulled out suitcases full of ballots and began counting those ballots without election monitors in the room.”
Later, Trump lawyer Rudy Guiliani compared the pair to drug dealers and demanded that “their places of work, their homes should have been searched” during a public hearing with Georgia Republican legislators. During Trump’s call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “find 11.870 votes,” Trump repeatedly cited Freeman by name more than a dozen times, calling her a “vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler.” The claims against Freeman and Moss were debunked by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, but Trump nonetheless continued to target Freeman, even months after he left office. “Too much ‘mischief’ can happen during this very long period of time. You saw that in the 2020 Presidential Election,” he said in one April 6 statement. “How’s Ruby Freeman doing?”Freeman, fearful after the smear campaign against her, called the police after Kutti came to her house. “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 said in a 911 recording obtained by Reuters.
After a police officer arrived, Kutti told him she was a “crisis manager,” according to a police incident report obtained by Reuters. Kutti told a neighbor who was with Freeman—Freeman wouldn’t open the door because of threats— that Freeman was “in danger” and had “48 hours” before “unknown subjects” came to her house, according to a police incident report obtained by Reuters. (The Cobb County Police did not immediately respond to a request from VICE News for all records pertaining to the incident.) Freeman said that after the body camera was turned off, Kutti and a man she refers to on speakerphone as a “high-level” crisis manager named “Harrison Ford”—not the actor— attempted to get her to confess to Trump’s claims that she committed election fraud. Freeman ended the conversation, saying “the devil is a liar” and calling for a police officer, she told Reuters. (The body camera footage does not show this part of the conversation.)Kutti did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News. Until April 2018, Kutti was also the publicist for R. Kelly, the disgraced musician convicted on sex trafficking charges in September. Aside from Kelly and West—who formally changed his name from Kanye to Ye in October, and ran for president in 2020—Kutti’s biography on the website of a group called Women’s Global Initiative says she’s also worked for boxing world champion Terence Crawford and Queen Rania of Jordan.Kutti’s biography on the site also says that she’s now West’s director of operations. Kutti has also worked as a cannabis lobbyist in Illinois, and last year made headlines for referring to the state’s top cannabis official—who, like Kutti, is Black—as a “slave” who “pimped out medical marijuana patients.” On her Instagram page, Kutti refers to herself as “political sharpshooter,” “4:20 legislative gladiator,” and “media manipulator.” Freeman and Moss, her daughter, sued Gateway Pundit earlier this month for defamation. “I want the defendants to know that my daughter and I are real people who deserve justice, and I never want them to do this to anyone else,” Freeman said in a statement to the New York Times.