New York Daily News
Pro-Trump troll pooh-poohs racist, sexist tweets at elex interference trial in B’klyn
Far-right Twitter troll Douglass Mackey was forced to confront his racist and sexist tweets in a tense day of testimony in Brooklyn Federal Court, as a prosecutor cited them to try to rip apart his defense in his election interference conspiracy trial.
Mackey, 33 (photo), is accused of posting fake Hillary Clinton campaign ads on Twitter a week before the 2016 presidential election, falsely telling people they could vote by text.
The case is expected to head to the jury this week, with closing arguments slated for Monday.
During Mackey’s cross-examination Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Paulsen showed him a string of his tweets from the months leading up to the 2016 election, suggesting that the voteby-text images were deliberately aimed at fooling Black people and women.
“Black people will believe anything they read on Twitter, and we let them vote why?” he wrote in one tweet, posting under his screen name, “Ricky Vaughn.” “It is now officially impossible to argue that blacks will not, as a whole, believe anything they are told,” he wrote in another.
When pressed on whether he believed what he wrote about Black people being “gullible,” Mackey called his posts hyperbole.
“I think that’s an exaggeration,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re more gullible than anyone else. There are a lot of gullible people on Twitter ... I exaggerate a lot on Twitter.”
Federal prosecutors say he’s guilty of conspiracy against rights and that he and other trolls plotted in online chats to design images that would trick Clinton supporters out of voting. He could face 10 years in prison.
One fake ad he posted shows a Black woman next to the words, “Avoid the line. Vote from home” and a text message code. Another has a similar message written in Spanish, next to a woman using her phone.
Mackey’s lawyer Andrew Frisch has unsuccessfully tried to get the case tossed on First Amendment grounds. In direct testimony, he had Mackey identify a 2016 tweet by comedian Kristina Wong telling Trump supporters to vote by text, and on the wrong day.
That tweet has been making the rounds in conservative social media circles, in an attempt to paint Mackey as the victim of a politicized federal justice system.
Mackey’s contention is that he was merely “s—tposting” to get a rise out of Clinton’s campaign and supporters, and that he had no intent to deceive because he didn’t think anyone could possibly believe they were allowed to vote by text.
“Especially when it comes from a Twitter account with a MAGA hat and a Bane mask,” he said, describing his profile picture. “It’s not that I didn’t think it would work. I wasn’t trying to get it to work.”
Mackey was a member of several direct message groups with names like “War Room” with fellow troll “Microchip” — who turned FBI informant, pleaded guilty to the same charge and testified against Mackey.
Mackey told the jury he never saw the messages in the group chat planning how to make the images more believable — he argued that he was in several groups and ignores most of the messages in them.
“There were over 600 messages coming in per day in the War Room,” he said. “I don’t remember seeing them.”
The two images he posted were a quick cut-and-paste job of something he saw on the online forum 4chan, he said.
“Why’d you chose the one with the Black woman?” Paulsen asked, getting the response, “No reason.”
“Random choice?” Paulsen asked, Mackey replying, “Yes.”
During his testimony, the defendant started to answer questions before Paulsen finished them, earning a quick rebuke from Judge Ann Donnelly.
Paulsen also highlighted Mackey’s anti-women posts in 2015 and 2016.
“It’s impossible to have a functioning government when women and single mothers vote. #Repeal19,” he wrote in one tweet, referring to the constitutional amendment that made it illegal to deny women the right to vote.
Mackey, who is now married and expecting his first child, says he believed that at the time, but not now.
His defense lawyer asked, “Have you ever apologized to anyone?
“Yes, I have,” he said, choking up. “To my family.”