The trial of ‘alt-right’ Twitter troll Douglass Mackey, better known by his ‘Major League’ go-to name ‘Ricky Vaughn’, has been postponed after a researcher with an anti-hate watchdog group obtained e – “private” emails concerning the defence. expert witness.
Now Mackey’s expert has stepped down from the case and his defense team is scrambling to replace him, his attorney has revealed.
It’s the latest wrinkle in the high-profile prosecution of Mackey, who was on the cusp of an impending trial for sharing memes encouraging black Hillary Clinton supporters to vote by text message in the 2016 election. Feds say Mackey measurably interfered with the election through misinformation about telephone voting, which is not a valid way to vote in the United States. The government says the meme fooled at least 4,900 Democrats.
Mackey is known for whitewashing racist, anti-Semitic and white supremacist arguments in mainstream conservative discourse. His Twitter bio read, “It’s okay to be white,” before his account was suspended. He tweeted images of an octopus with a Star of David enveloping the globe with its tentacles and another suggesting Jewish control of the media to uplift black people. Mackey also seemed to obliquely find a supporter in Twitter owner Elon Musk, who agreed with someone who called Mackey’s lawsuit “worrying.”
Amid jury selection for his trial, Mackey’s attorney, Andrew Frisch, alerted the court to a story being pursued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) about potential defense expert witness George Hawley, a professor university degree in political science. from Alabama. Although the article has yet to be published, Frisch claimed it “unfairly disparages” Hawley and is based in part on the professor’s “private emails”.
The SPLC has yet to publish the story of freelance journalist Luke O’Brien, who specializes in investigating extremism and disinformation.
“Mr. O’Brien waited until the trial began to submit written questions to Professor Hawley in an apparent attempt to portray him as an extremist, including questions based on private emails Mr. O’Brien obtained asking simultaneously to Professor Hawley if his employer, the University of Alabama, is aware of his testimony at Mr. Mackey’s trial,” Frisch wrote in a letter requesting a two-week postponement of the trial.
O’Brien declined to discuss the story on file because it has not yet been published, but Mackey’s attorney says Hawley responded in writing to the reporter’s questions. Frisch told the judge that Hawley had now asked to withdraw his name as a witness.
“For these reasons, I have no choice but to request a short adjournment of the trial so that I can endeavor to identify a replacement expert witness,” Frisch wrote.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis granted an interim adjournment of opening statements until Monday, March 20. These procedures were originally scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 16. The judge also scheduled a conference call for Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. to discuss the case and whether further delay is warranted.
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