Weeks after the 2020 election, a Chicago publicist for hip-hop artist Kanye West traveled to the suburban home of Ruby Freeman, a frightened Georgia election worker who was facing death threats after being falsely accused by former President Donald Trump of manipulating votes. The publicist knocked on the door and offered to help.
The visitor, Trevian Kutti, gave her name but didn’t say she worked for West, a longtime billionaire friend of Trump. She said she was sent by a “high-profile individual,” whom she didn’t identify, to give Freeman an urgent message: confess to Trump’s voter-fraud allegations, or people would come to her home in 48 hours, and she’d go to jail.
Freeman refused. This story of how an associate of a music mogul pressured a 62-year-old temporary election worker at the center of a Trump conspiracy theory is based on previously unreported police recordings and reports, legal filings, and Freeman’s first media interview since she was dragged into Trump’s attempt to reverse his election loss.
Kutti did not respond to requests for comment. Her biography for her work at the Women’s Global Initiative, a business networking group, identifies her as a member of “the Young Black Leadership Council under President Donald Trump.” It notes that in September 2018, she “was secured as publicist to Kanye West” and “now serves as West’s Director of Operations.”
When Kutti knocked on Freeman's door on Jan. 4, Freeman called 911. By then, Freeman said, she was wary of strangers.
An officer arrived and spoke with Kutti, who described herself as a “crisis manager,” according to the police incident report.
Kutti repeated that Freeman “was in danger” and had “48 hours” before “unknown subjects” turned up at her home, the report said. At the officer’s suggestion, the women agreed to meet at a police station. The officer’s report did not identify the man accompanying Kutti.
Inside the station, Kutti and Freeman met in a corner, according to footage from a body camera worn by an officer present at the meeting. Reuters obtained the video through a public-records request.
“I cannot say what specifically will take place,” Kutti is heard telling Freeman in the recording. “I just know that it will disrupt your freedom," she said, "and the freedom of one or more of your family members.”
“You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up,” Kutti continued. She added that “federal people” were involved, without offering specifics.
According to Freeman, Kutti told her that she was going to put a man named “Harrison Ford” on speakerphone. (Freeman said the man on the phone wasn’t the actor by the same name.) Kutti said the man had “authoritative powers to get you protection,” the bodycam footage shows.
At that point, Kutti can be heard asking the officer to give them privacy. The body camera did not capture a clear recording of the conversation that followed after the officer moved away from the two women.
Kutti and the man on the speakerphone, over the next hour, tried to get Freeman to implicate herself in committing voter fraud on Election Day. Kutti offered legal assistance in exchange, Freeman said.
“If you don't tell everything,” Freeman recalled Kutti saying, “you're going to jail.”
Growing suspicious, Freeman said she jumped up from her chair and told Kutti: “The devil is a liar,” before calling for an officer.
Later at home, Freeman said, she Googled Kutti’s name and discovered she was a Trump supporter.
Police say they did not investigate the incident further.
Police bodycam video recorded on Jan. 4, 2021, shows Trevian Kutti, a publicist for hip-hop artist Kanye West, telling a Georgia election worker who former President Trump falsely accused of manipulating votes that she was in imminent danger https://t.co/AeF1I18mdJ pic.twitter.com/ott7ohVQnI— Reuters (@Reuters) December 10, 2021