BREAKING: Federal appellate court sides with Douglass Mackey in meme case, drops prison sentence until after appeal

The motion was signed by Judge Omar Williams of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
The 7-month prison sentence of Douglass Mackey has been stayed per a federal judge. He was convicted in March for circulating a satirical meme that encouraged Hillary Clinton voters to cast their votes via text in the lead up to the 2016 election.

The Motion Order reads: "granting motion for release pending appeal, at docket entry 16 Mackey's surrender date is stated. The Discrict Court is ordered to determinet 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."

The motion was signed by Judge Omar Williams of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Mackey spoke about the motion on X, saying that "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."

"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. It is not cheap, however, to appeal a case in the federal court system, so I am asking you to please help us fund this case in any way you can. Prayers are also welcome and appreciated, and I will, of course, keep all benefactors and supporters in my prayers. If you wish to support my cause financially, you may donate via the Meme Defense Fund, a third-party nonprofit that has generously lent its support to this case. You also have the option of donating via GiveSendGo."

Mackey was sentenced in the Eastern District Court of New York on criminal charges on October 18 after a March conviction for conspiracy against rights, ie election interference, over memes that allegedly disparaged Hillary Clinton  during the 2016 presidential election season. The meme encouraged Hillary voters to cast their ballot via text. It was a joke, but for the DOJ, it amounted to a serious crime. The DOJ was not able to bring any evidence to trial to show that voters were harmed by the meme, or disenfranchised of their voting rights.

Mackey spoke to about the conviction and sentencing, and revealed that while his alleged crime was committed in 2016, he wasn't arrested until a week after Joe Biden was inaugurated in the White House. Hillary Clinton celebrated the arrest, something widely viewed as a violation of free speech rights. 

She said Mackey's joke went "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."

This is a breaking story and will be udpated.

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