“Biden Supporters Never Commit Crimes or Go to Jail” Trump-Supporting Influencer Douglass Mackey Jailed for 2016 Election Interference

Douglass Mackey, known online as ‘Ricky Vaughan’, a moniker referencing the Charlie Sheen character from the Major League films, has been sentenced to seven months in prison for attempting to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

The charges

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The 33-year-old was convicted in March for his role in a scheme that encouraged supporters of then-candidate Hillary Clinton to cast ineffectual votes via text message, effectively depriving them of their legitimate vote.

Political View Was Not The Issue

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The sentencing, handed down by Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Ann Donnelly, highlighted that the punishment was not for Mackey’s political beliefs. Judge Donnelly stated, “You are not being sentenced for your political beliefs or for expressing those beliefs. Each one of us has the right to hold opinions and express those opinions.” 

It Was an Attack on Democracy

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Instead, the court determined that Mackey’s actions represented an “insidious” attack on democratic processes, equating his deeds to “nothing short of an assault on our democracy.”

The Campaign Was Misleading

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The case against Mackey revealed that he had collaborated with unnamed co-conspirators to create misleading graphics that appeared as if they were genuine ads from the Clinton campaign.

Voting Via Text

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One such ad urged people to “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925.” Despite being clearly false to those well-informed about the U.S. election process, the ad’s phone number received around 4,900 text message responses.

Depriving People Of Their Votes

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Assistant US Attorney Turner Buford remarked on the case’s significance, stating that the objective wasn’t just about altering votes but rendering them nonexistent. 

He emphasized that “the number was real and set up to receive incoming messages,” and that the distribution of these misleading ads was strategically timed to maximize their impact right before the election.

“It Wasn’t That Serious” Attorney Says

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During the trial, Mackey’s attorney, Andrew Frisch, tried to downplay his client’s actions, suggesting that the misleading memes were merely a form of ‘online trash-talking’ intended for viral attention. 

Frankly, It Is Absurd

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Frisch argued that the idea of voting by text should seem blatantly absurd to anyone acquainted with U.S. elections. Despite this defense, the court viewed Mackey’s actions as gravely detrimental to the democratic process.

It Was No Joke

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Jessica Morales, who served as the digital organizing director for Hillary Clinton in 2016, testified that the deceptive “vote by text” tweets were a significant concern for the campaign. When questioned if she considered them as a mere joke, she responded firmly, “No, not a joke. Not for me. Not a parody.” 

Comments on Mackay’s Sentencing

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One person completely disagreed with the outcome of the case, stating, “This the most ridiculous thing ever! The fact that you can now go to jail for months for posting a meme. Only in Biden’s America is free speech now considered a crime, but only if disagrees with him.”

Others Agreed

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Another person sarcastically agreed saying, “Biden supporters never commit crimes or go to jail. It’s strange how that works. I would love for the headline to say Biden supporters.”

Be Careful 

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It seemed that most people online thought that the whole thing was a joke. One person commented, “Pay attention people. You can now be jailed in America for what you say.”

It Was Illegal

Some online commenters did agree with the sentencing, stating, “This is nothing to do with freedom of speech and you know it, people can say whatever they want but there have always been consequences if what you say or do leads to laws being broken and intentionally trying to alter voting is exactly that – illegal. You know this, and by grasping at straws you only make your argument look weak and pathetic so, as a liberal, thank you for that!”

He Deserves Punishment

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Also presenting a similar point, another person said, “Honestly I think what he did was indeed a crime and he deserves to be punished, but 7 months seems a bit harsh considering comparable sentences for repeat offenders and much more serious violent crimes in this same district. The judge was lying. He was indeed sentenced because of his political beliefs, at least harshly and unfairly sentenced.”

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