Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn

Pro-Trump Meme-Maker In Florida Gets Temporary Reprieve From Prison Sentence

Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn
Screengrab From Twitter

A federal appeals court in New York on Monday breathed life into the hopes of a Florida man who seeks to avoid prison simply for being an anti-Hillary meme-maker.

The court ruled that West Palm Beach resident Douglass Mackey may remain free pending the outcome of his appeal, according to The Epoch Times.

“I am gratified by today’s ruling and look forward to the Second Circuit’s resolution of the important questions presented by my appeal,” Mackey told the Times in a statement.

As the Tampa Free Press reported in October, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced Mackey to seven months in prison following a conviction on a conspiracy to undermine the 2016 election.

Read: Florida Gov. DeSantis Targets Trump Supporters In Iowa

Federal prosecutors claimed that Mackey in 2016 worked with other influencers on Twitter (now X) to deprive others of their right to vote.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace asserted that Mackey “weaponized disinformation in a dangerous scheme to stop targeted groups, including black and brown people and women, from participating in our democracy.”

Mackey, under the Twitter handle RickyVaughn99, posted for his 58,000 followers memes with phrases like “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925.”

Mackey’s meme reportedly prompted roughly 4,900 gullible liberals to submit votes by text or social media.

As part of their evidence, prosecutors cited a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that ranked Mackey at 107th in terms of his influence on the election, which was higher than NBC News (114th) and CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert (119th).

Under federal law a court may allow a convicted defendant to remain free on appeal if the appeal “raises a substantial question of law or fact” that could lead to a reversal in the outcome, an order for a new trial, a revised sentence that does not include imprisonment, or a reduced sentence.

Read: Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan Reveals Potential Timeline For Bringing Impeachment Articles Against Biden

Mackey’s lawyer, Andrew Frisch, told the Times when his client was convicted that his memes and the related Twitter posts were obvious jokes that amounted to political speech under the First Amendment.

Frisch also claimed prosecutors withheld evidence from his client. That evidence, according to the Times, appears to be the fact that Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign advisers admittedly dismissed Mackey’s memes as harmful to their candidate.

‘”This case presents an unusual array of compelling appellate issues,” Frisch told the Times.

“The appellate court will have its choice of which issue on which to vacate the conviction. It may choose to do so on First Amendment grounds, or on the government’s suppression of exculpatory information, or on the insufficiency of evidence of venue, among other issues.

“I am optimistic that the conviction will be vacated,” said Frisch.

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