The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Is Your Meme a Federal Felony?

Posted on | March 16, 2023 | 1 Comment

How would you like to spend 10 years in a federal penitentiary because of something you posted on Twitter? As strange as it seems, this could be the fate of “Ricky Vaughn,” the DOJ announced in January 2021:

A Florida man was arrested this morning on charges of conspiring with others in advance of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election to use various social media platforms to disseminate misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.
Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, 31, of West Palm Beach, was charged by criminal complaint in the Eastern District of New York. . . .
“There is no place in public discourse for lies and misinformation to defraud citizens of their right to vote,” said Seth D. DuCharme, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “With Mackey’s arrest, we serve notice that those who would subvert the democratic process in this manner cannot rely on the cloak of Internet anonymity to evade responsibility for their crimes. They will be investigated, caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” . . .
The complaint alleges that in 2016, Mackey established an audience on Twitter with approximately 58,000 followers. A February 2016 analysis by the MIT Media Lab ranked Mackey as the 107th most important influencer of the then-upcoming Election, ranking his account above outlets and individuals such as NBC News (#114), Stephen Colbert (#119) and Newt Gingrich (#141). . . .
For example, on Nov. 1, 2016, Mackey allegedly tweeted an image that featured an African American woman standing in front of an “African Americans for [the Candidate]” sign. The image included the following text: “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘[Candidate’s first name]’ to 59925[.] Vote for [the Candidate] and be a part of history.” The fine print at the bottom of the image stated: “Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by [Candidate] for President 2016.”
The tweet included the typed hashtags “#Go [Candidate]” and another slogan frequently used by the Candidate. On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted “[Candidate’s first name]” or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which was used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by the defendant and his co-conspirators.

Thus answering the question: How dumb are Democrat voters?

Another question: How did the FBI figure out the identity of “Ricky Vaughn”? To which the answer is, they didn’t. “Ricky Vaughn” got doxxed in 2018 by a HuffPo writer named Luke O’Brien. Trial of “Ricky Vaughn” was scheduled to start this week, until Luke O’Brien popped up again:

Mackey’s trial was meant to commence on March 16 but was delayed at his counsel’s request due to a planned Southern Poverty Law Center article on the defense’s would-be expert witness, George Hawley, an associate professor of political science from the University of Alabama. . . .
While the article by freelance journalist Luke O’Brien has yet to be published, Mackey’s attorney, Andrew Frisch, claimed it “unfairly disparages” Hawley and is partially based on the professor’s “private emails.”
“Mr. O’Brien waited until the start of trial to submit written questions to Professor Hawley in an apparent attempt to paint him as an extremist, including questions based on private emails which Mr. O’Brien obtained, simultaneously asking Professor Hawley if his employer, the University of Alabama, is aware of his proffered testimony at Mr. Mackey’s trial,” Frisch wrote in a letter requesting to delay the trial by at least 14 days.
In response to the unpublished SPLC report, Frisch told U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis that Hawley has requested to withdraw his name as a witness.
“For these reasons, I have no choice but to request a short adjournment of trial so that I may endeavor to identify a replacement expert witness,” Frisch wrote.

Will federal charges of obstructing justice be filed against Luke O’Brien? Isn’t doing this to a witness in a federal trial illegal? If not, shouldn’t it be? And if the trial goes forward now, doesn’t “Ricky Vaughn” have a ready-made grounds for appeal? But while we’re asking rhetorical questions, MEMES ARE A FEDERAL CRIME? MEMES? ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME WITH THIS?




One Response to “Is Your Meme a Federal Felony?”

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