Douglass Mackey, set to begin prison sentence over 2016 election memes, granted release pending appeal by federal judge

 December 5, 2023

Douglass Mackey, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, was set to report to prison soon after he was tried and convicted earlier this year over humorous and satirical memes he posted during the 2016 election that mocked Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her supporters.

That impending prison sentence has now been temporarily placed on hold by a federal appeals court judge while the Second Circuit considers an appeal of his conviction, according to the Daily Wire.

Mackey, who was arrested in 2021 just days after President Joe Biden took office, was sentenced in October to serve seven months in prison plus two years probation and to pay $15,000 in fines over memes he posted as an obvious joke that encouraged Clinton supporters to cast their votes via text message.

Granted a release pending appeal by appeals court judge

In a lengthy social media post on Monday, Mackey wrote, "The Second Circuit Court of Appeals just overruled the District Court in granting our motion for bond pending appeal. This ruling 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, on the other hand, argued that my appeal was frivolous and that this was a typical election crime case like any other in U.S. history. This is a very encouraging step towards vindication," he continued.

Mackey shared the text of the court order that granted his motion for "release pending appeal" and stayed the date by which he was supposed to report to prison to begin serving his sentence. The order from Judge Omar Williams also expedited Mackey's appeal and set dates in January and February for various briefs and replies to be filed with the court.

"If we lose the appeal in the Second Circuit, we will swiftly file an appeal with the Supreme Court," Mackey said. "I want to extend my gratitude and thanks to all benefactors, supporters, and all of the great attorneys who have worked on my case."

He also noted how expensive the legal process had been and requested financial support for his continued fight, either through a "Meme Defense Fund" established on his behalf as well as a GiveSendGo fundraiser account, and expressed how appreciative he was for those who had contributed to help cover the mounting costs of litigation.

Supposedly conspired to violate the right to vote of Clinton supporters

According to a Justice Department press release in October, Mackey had been sentenced to prison by Judge Ann Donnelly for his purported "role in a conspiracy to interfere with potential voters’ right to vote in the 2016 election."

Federal prosecutors had absurdly -- but, unfortunately, successfully -- argued that Mackey's clearly satirical memes that jokingly encouraged Clinton supporters to cast their votes via text had violated the civil rights of others by attempting to deceive or dissuade them from casting a lawful ballot in support of the Democratic nominee.

That prosecution succeeded even though prosecutors were unable to provide any sort of evidence to prove that the memes had actually prevented any would-be voters from participating in the 2016 election by casting their ballot at their local election precinct.

Clinton supported the prosecution and conviction of Mackey

According to The Post Millennial, failed 2016 Democratic nominee Clinton actually celebrated the undeniably partisan prosecution and conviction of Mackey for having the audacity to post mocking memes that might have fooled some of her less intelligent supporters.

The outlet noted that Clinton once said in an interview that Mackey's humorous memes illegally diverged "from what you would consider free speech ... to running a very deliberate effort to mislead people about where and how to vote."

"So it went from speech to action meant to subvert the election, because thousands of people who they targeted through their algorithms, 'Oh, I could text my vote for Hillary Clinton,'" she added.

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