The prison sentence for Douglass Mackey, who was convicted in March for election interference after posting memes that deceived voters ahead of the 2016 election, has been stayed per a federal judge's orders today.
The ruling, Mackey says, "is huge because it means that the appeals court decided that my appeal presents 'substantial' and 'debatable' issues of law that, if resolved in my favor, will result in my conviction being vacated."
The prosecution had argued that Mackey's appeal was "frivolous".
The Motion Order reads: "granting motion for release pending appeal, at docket entry 16 Mackey's surrender date is stated. The District Court is ordered to determine the appropriate terms of release, without prejudice to the government's making a future request for detention, on behalf of Appellant Douglass Mackey. It is further ordered that this appeal is expedited. Mackey's initial brief will be due on or before January 5, 2024. The government's response will be due on or before February 5, 2024. Mackey's reply brief will be due on or before February 20, 2024. The Clerk is directed to calendar this appeal as soon as practicable after February 20, 2024."
It was signed by Judge Omar A. Williams, of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Mackey, also known as "Ricky Vaughn", had received a 7-month prison sentence on October 18, 2023, for sending tweets suggesting the importance of limiting “black turnout” and tweeting an African American woman standing in front of an “African Americans for Hillary” sign. The ad stated: “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home,” “Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925,” and “Vote for Hillary and be a part of history.” The fine print at the bottom of the meme said: “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 Hillary For President 2016.” The tweet included “#ImWithHer,” a slogan frequently used by Hillary Clinton.
Apparently on or about and before Election Day 2016, thousands of unique telephone numbers texted “Hillary” or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which has been used in multiple memes tweeted by Mackey.
If Mackey loses the appeal in the Second Circuit, he plans on swiftly filing an appeal with the Supreme Court.
You can learn more about the case on Mackey's site.