Douglas Mackey, the man behind the influential 2016 pro-MAGA Twitter account “Ricky Vaughn”, has been sentenced to seven months in prison on charges of “election interference”.
Federal Court Judge Ann Donnelly, an Obama-appointed official, issued this ruling. Mackey’s arrest came shortly after President Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021, with the Department of Justice accusing him of hampering the 2016 election.
The DOJ’s case centers on a tweet by Mackey, which humorously advised people to “text their vote” to then-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign line.
Reportedly, “at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers” followed the tweet’s direction before Election Day, though it remains uncertain whether this act deterred any actual votes.
Breitbart News’s Joel Pollak drew attention to the ambiguous nature of the government’s legal stance. He pointed out that a leftist comedian made a similar joke in the opposite direction, yet no legal action was pursued against them.
Pollak highlighted that neither the FBI’s press release nor the criminal complaint clarified how they would navigate a potential First Amendment challenge.
The conviction, which occurred in March, has raised eyebrows in legal and political circles.
Mackey’s legal representatives have stated that this case’s tactics parallel those being used against former President Donald Trump and some members of his team.
Interestingly, Mackey’s charges fall under the 18 USC 241, commonly referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act. This legislation was initially instituted to counteract violent civil rights infringements following the Civil War.
However, it seems the Biden administration’s Justice Department is utilizing this act more broadly, targeting what they perceive as political adversaries.
For instance, Special Counsel Jack Smith has invoked this statute against Trump, accusing him of disseminating “disinformation” concerning the 2020 elections. Legal analysts point to the Mackey case as a precedent. Additionally, this act has been employed against pro-life campaigners.
Mackey’s legal team remains defiant. They’ve announced their intention to take the case to the Supreme Court, basing their appeal on First Amendment rights, among other arguments.