A pending federal criminal case proves three things: Democrats still haven’t gotten over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss; they have no sense of humor; and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is a vindictive hack.
And depending on how the case comes out, it could either reaffirm the principle that the First Amendment guarantees all Americans the freedom of speech, or it could be the death knell to that fundamental constitutional right.
Seven days after Joe Biden was sworn in as president, the Department of Justice arrested West Palm Beach, Florida resident Douglass Mackey for posting a meme in 2016.
On Nov. 1 of that year, Mackey allegedly tweeted an image of a black woman in front of an "African Americans for President Hillary" banner. It said, "Avoid the line. Vote from phone. Text 'Hillary' to 59925. Vote for Hillary and be a part of history."
The Justice Department charged Mackey with "conspiring … to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote," under a subset of the Enforcement Act of 1870, also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.
It carries a maximum 10 year sentence.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R- Ga., wrote a fiery letter to the attorney general asking him to drop the charges.
"It seems the DOJ is intent on criminalizing 'disinformation,' a legally undefined term, in order to squash freedom of speech.
"These Soviet-style methods of enforcing the law seem better suited for the governments of China or Iran, not the United States of America," she wrote.
"There is no evidence that Mr. Mackey’s meme-posting prevented anyone from voting in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, and there are no individuals claiming that it did."
Although the DOJ alleges that at least 4,900 people "voted" via text because of the Nov. 1 meme, it’s silent on whether any of those people also cast their ballots by mail or in person.
"It was obviously a joke and everyone knew it was a joke," said Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host. "But the FBI . . . tracked down several people who texted that number in Mackey’s meme. None of them even remembered doing it, according to discovery in the case," giving credence that they later voted traditionally.
Moreover Greg Price, communications director for the State Freedom Caucus Network, found a similar meme, this one urging people to vote for the 2016 Republican candidate.
In it Kristina Wong allegedly tried to get out the vote for Donald Trump.
"Hey Trump Supporters! Skip poll lines at #Election2016 and TEXT in your vote! Text votes are legit," she said on Nov. 8. "Or vote tomorrow on Super Wednesday!"
The tweet included a video.
"I just want to remind all my fellow Chinese Americans for Trump, people of color for Trump, to vote. Vote for Trump on Wednesday, November 9th. A really important day.
"We’re going to show this country who’s boss — and that’s our man Donald Trump. So don’t forget to vote for Donald Trump on November 9th."
Price posted both memes, side-by-side, and said, "Douglass Mackey tweeted the meme on the left before the 2016 election and the Biden DOJ is now trying to put him in jail for 10 years for posting it."
He added, "The tweet on the right was also posted before the 2016 election by a liberal activist but she has never been arrested."
The case also has witness issues.
Trial was supposed to have started yesterday, but defense lawyers obtained a one-week continuance after their expert witness was intimidated.
George Hawley, an associate professor of political science at the University of Alabama, was prepared to testify on behalf of the defense until he learned that the Southern Poverty Law Center had planned a report that "unfairly disparages" him.
The SPLC claims to be a civil rights watchdog group, but routinely labels conservative and Christian organizations as "hate groups."
And recently an SPLC staff lawyer was arrested for domestic terrorism after an Antifa mob attack on Atlanta's "Cop City" training facility.
There’s also a prosecution witness issue, according to Carlson.
The court will not allow defense lawyers to conduct a full cross-examination of their key witness against Mackey because he works for the FBI.
The court issued an order "precluding questioning by the defense concerning the details of any of the [confidential witness’s] current proactive work for the FBI or any other government agencies."
Carlson said of the case that "everything about it — from the charges themselves, to the timing, to the intimidation of witnesses, violates the Constitution."
The First Amendment confers no rights upon American citizens. It instead lists inherent, God-given rights that government guarantees and may not take away — freedoms of speech, press, religion, and assembly.
Government has a duty to safeguard those rights — not curtail them.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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