Douglass Mackey spoke with Tucker Carlson prior to the start of his prison sentence over posting memes in an episode released Thursday.
A federal jury convicted Mackey for conspiring to deprive people of their right to vote over a meme he posted during the 2016 election in April. Mackey, who went by @RickyVaughn99 on Twitter, received a seven-month prison sentence Oct. 18.
“The First Amendment is done,” Carlson, a co-founder of the Daily Caller and Daily Caller News Foundation, posted on X.
“If someone had even told you even ten years ago that you could be indicted by the federal government and go to prison for ten years for making fun of Hillary Clinton on social media, you would not have believed it,” Carlson said before interviewing Mackey. “It’s a free country. We have free speech.”
Legal experts warned that the conviction of Mackey could chill free speech, citing the expansive interpretation of the statute prosecutors used to charge him.
During the interview, Mackey denied creating the meme, saying he found it on 4chan before posting it to Twitter.
“Pardon my French, but it’s called a shit post,” Mackey told Carlson. “We talked about this a lot of the trial. I testified. Just sort of a joke. Rile up everybody, muddy the waters.”
The Justice Department claimed nearly 5,000 people sent texts based on the meme in a January 2021 release announcing Mackey’s arrest and indictment.
“I knew that politicians could be vindictive and the federal government sometimes could be influenced by those politicians,“ Mackey said, “And I know that they can sort of get very creative with federal statutes, so if I was the enemy of their candidate, then I thought that maybe they could cook something up.”
Carlson asked Mackey to describe the reaction to his arrest.
“I was on Rachel Maddow that night,” Mackey said. “I mean, they were, the left was really celebrating this.”
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy vowed to pardon Mackey in May, citing his case as one of the “politicized prosecutions” carried out by the Justice Department.
Harold Hutchison on November 9, 2023