James Lawrence, a lawyer representing Douglass Mackey — a social media figure known as “Ricky Vaughn” — said on Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow that the American Civil Rights Union (ACLU) “is nowhere to be found” and “MIA” with respect to the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ) prosecution of his client for speech protected by the First Amendment.
In 2016, Mackey shared a satirical meme on Twitter in ahead of the year’s presidential election urging supporters of Hillary Clinton to vote via text message. In January of 2021, the DOJ framed this comedic meme as a “crime.” The DOJ announced its laying of charges against Mackey for allegedly committing “election interference stemming from [a] voter disinformation campaign.”
Lawrence remarked on the ACLU’s lack of comment on the executive branch’s attempt to further undermine the First Amendment.
“Our nation’s most venerable civil liberties organization — the ACLU — has not been in the trenches with us shoulder-to-shoulder.”
He added, “They’ve been MIA, much like they were MIA in the early days of the pandemic, when soccer moms were being arrested for protesting against the lockdowns in various states. So, they’re in MIA not only on the issues that were going on back in March and April of 2020, but this very, very significant criminal prosecution.”
Lawrence said the ACLU is “nowhere to be found” despite Mackey facing ten years in prison if convicted of charges related to “election interference.”
Marlow noted the ACLU’s partisan Democrat alignment in terms of its publicly disclosed donations to political campaigns and action committees. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the ACLU’s primary beneficiary, with the left-wing organization donating almost $30,000 to her presidential campaign. Nearly all of the ACLU’s publicly disclosed official political donations go to Democrats.
Lawrence explained that the DOJ’s charges against his client are predicated on federal statutes enacted to criminalize coercion and intimidation of American citizens in relation to the constitutional right to vote.
“Mr. Mackey is alleged to have published memes inviting supporters of Hillary Clinton to text their vote in, to skip a line, and to make their voice heard using text message as opposed to going to the polls,” Lawrence stated, “and what eventually happened is, of course, President Trump went to historic victory in the 2016 election. And literally two days after President Biden was sworn into office, my client, Mr. Mackey, is arrested by the FBI and brought up on charges under an old Civil War Reconstruction Era statute — 18 U.S.C. 241 — for conspiracy to infringe on individuals’ constitutional right to vote.”
He continued, “We think it’s an extraordinary extension of the federal government’s control and regulation of speech, and that the case really has troubling implications for all speech. … If this case ultimately ends in a guilty verdict against my client … we have a really serious problem for the First Amendment in this country.
“The defense team in this case see this as a Pandora’s box that the federal government wants to open,” Lawrence concluded, “and we are committed to shutting the door on this theory for the benefit of not only our clients but all Americans.”
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.