FBI Informant ‘Microchip’ Surfaces in White Supremacist Election Interference Trial

Strategies of right-wing harasser armies, chat groups, election interference aired in court proceedings

BROOKLYN, NYC — Federal prosecutors have put internet troll Douglass Mackey on trial for allegedly attempting to trick voters into trying to vote by SMS message in the 2016 election, in a case that has attracted national attention. Mackey, aka ‘Ricky Vaughn,’ was the one of the election’s most influential posters among a web of right-wing and white supremacist activists which included neo-Nazi Daily Stormer publishers Andrew Anglin and Andrew Alan Escher Auernheimer, aka ‘weev’. On Wednesday, March 22, one of their former confederates, a technical expert known as ‘Microchip,’ testified for the government that he has been an FBI informant since 2018, and had assisted Mackey in his alleged efforts to keep Black and Hispanic people from voting.

Mackey’s identity was first exposed by Luke O’Brien in a 2018 HuffPost report. The main case is United States v. Mackey (1:21-cr-00080); it is believed that Microchip’s cooperating guilty plea case also has a docket number, but has not been confirmed.

The Wednesday hearing aired new facts, that ‘Microchip’ apparently voluntarily started cooperating in 2018 but notified U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly that he would plead guilty in March 2022, to 18 U.S.C. § 241, a conspiracy to deprive other people of rights, or violate their rights. (Donnelly is also hearing Mackey’s trial now.)

After Mackey was arrested in 2021, O’Brien described Microchip as “a fascist accelerationist who has expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and Nazism, [he] claims to have been involved in the early spread of the QAnon conspiracy cult and repeatedly told this reporter that his goal was to destroy the United States.”

To get a snapshot of the latest turns in this case, Unicorn Riot interviewed Joe Fionda after a long day of courtwatching. Fionda is a researcher and associate producer of the 2014 documentary ‘The Hacker Wars,’ which examined the milieu around ‘weev’ and others. He has attended most of the trial so far, which is unfolding in the Eastern District of New York. We took a deep dive into not just Microchip’s FBI informant deal exposed on Wednesday, but the backstories surrounding the internet troll farms during the 2016 election, and groupings like Gamergate which preceded it.

Editor’s note: This rush transcript of an interview has been edited for style and clarity. Fionda’s opinions are his own and do not represent Unicorn Riot.

Interview with Joe Fionda on the Mackey Trial, Microchip’s Informant Deal, 2016 Troll Swarms, Far-Right Networks, the History of MAGA3X & Gamergate

Unicorn Riot: All right. It’s March 22, 2023. And I’m talking with Joe Fionda. Thanks for chatting with Unicorn Riot tonight, Joe. So you’ve had your eye on this defendant and their sort of circle of friends for quite some time, would you say you’ve been an observer of them for quite a while?

Joe Fionda: Yeah, I’d say so. It’s kind of like we’re re-living the 2016 election and watching, you know, the same list of characters turn up now in a federal case seven years later. And there’s a lot of people might be like, well, what’s the whole point of this case? We know Tucker Carlson spent the other night trying to say this was some sort of like, heinous abuse of justice by the Biden Administration, targeting Trump supporters over mere memes.

And there’s a lot more to this case that’s really just, frankly, whitewashing what is going on, and what the government is presenting as a case of a conspiracy to deprive rights, otherwise known as the KKK Act. 18 U.S.C. § 241.

The Mackey Trial: Deceptive Messages & Hotline to Trick Voters

Unicorn Riot: So, okay, 18 U.S.C. § 241. The defendant here is a man whose name is Douglass Mackey. He was oftentimes known as Ricky Vaughn online, and he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet, you know, still presumed innocent.

Joe Fionda: Today was the third day [of trial] in the Eastern District [of New York]. This is the third day of trial. And the case isn’t simply just about memes. But the case that the government is accusing against Douglass Mackey and several other co-conspirators is that they got together in Twitter DM groups, and in some cases coordinating directly with the Trump campaign HQ Slack [chat] to spread memes of a derogatory and generally false nature. But the specific charges here regarding a number of memes that were sent, that pretended to [pass itself off as from] the Hillary Clinton campaign, with the with the intent to present to Hillary voters as people who they saw as dupes.

They — in their minds saw as minorities, Black voters, Mexican voters, women — they wanted to [deceptively] tell people that they could go and tweet by text, so they could text Hillary to… 59925, and that their vote on election day would be counted. Which, as me and you both know, is not something that is actually something that can be done anywhere outside of a voting booth, or mail-in voting.

Unicorn Riot: So just to be clear, it wasn’t just simply that they were posting memes or election rhetoric or things that weren’t true. It was very specifically the government is saying that they tried to deceive people about how they could even vote, which which is not something that’s legal, it’s basically a violation of civil rights. Is that the government’s idea?

Joe Fionda: Correct, and that they did it on a discriminatory basis.

Unicorn Riot: Okay.

Joe Fionda: This was more than just them making memes and making like hilarious parodies, you know, it was something that they went so far as to make their own text voting hotline to convince these people that they could vote by text. So on the other end of the service, this text, this texting service, you know, you can sign up for a five digit number to SMS like a menu. Many businesses have it, we’ve used it, we’ve gotten text messages from these numbers; and they were presented with fraudulent ads that made it look like they were tweeted or shared by the Clinton campaign so that they could target specifically Hillary Clinton voters into staying home or to dupe them into — trick them into not voting.

Unicorn Riot: Okay. So I guess one of the major elements that’s been presented so far is, you mentioned a Slack. Can you just explain what a Slack would be? So they were connected to the official campaign? The government has said so far, or?

Joe Fionda: Yes, the government presented one of the group chats, the Twitter DM [direct message] group chats in which notorious provocateur Baked Alaska, who is a named unindicted co-conspirator in this case.

Unicorn Riot: [Baked Alaska is] Anthim ‘Tim’ Gionet?

Joe Fionda: Yes. And he was telling some members of the chat, “would you like access to the Trump HQ Slack?” So we have instances in which people… [in a] number of chats, have demonstrated a closeness with the core of the Trump campaign in 2016. Now, if I remember how 2016 went down, it was a rather large group of infamous shitposting, neo-Nazi alt-right, or what would become the alt-right, Twitter trolls from all around the world who got together and effectively wanted to install Donald Trump as president.

Unicorn Riot: So during that period during 2016, this defendant, I think the government has raised the argument that this defendant Douglass Mackey was, you know, kind of the main person behind an account that was known as Ricky Vaughn. Is that true?

Joe Fionda: Correct. Ricky Vaughn is a character in [the 1989 baseball film] Major League. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen that movie. And his avatar is Ricky Vaughn from the baseball team, and he’s wearing these glasses and he photoshopped a “Make America Great Again” red hat onto Ricky Vaughn. So he’s appropriating the character of the movie to be this anonymous, political, Twitter troll who is giving help to the Trump campaign first in the primaries, then into the general election.

Sketch of ‘Microchip’ testifying on March 22 by Joe Fionda.

Microchip Testifies as Anonymous FBI Informant

Unicorn Riot: So today [March 22], the interesting thing was that someone who is kind of one of the remaining anonymous figures from that era, and who had been known by the handle ‘Microchip,’ testified as well. Can you talk about what Microchip was publicly seen as? And then what happened today with him?

Joe Fionda: Right, so back in 2016. He testified that he signed up the first Microchip persona account in 2015. And that he was, you know, this guy who was a mobile web app developer, and coder who had a very special skill set to aggregate tweets, and data, and inflate view counts and follow counts. He described in detail how he would make new Twitter accounts every time he got banned, how he would pay certain services online to create bot armies and inflate view counts and be able to artificially amplify tweets that were favorable for the Trump campaign.

Now, what’s also very interesting is that he’s very insistent on saying that he did it primarily more because he hated Hillary Clinton more than he liked Donald Trump, more than he wanted Donald Trump to be president. Even though he was a pretty profusely ardent Trump supporter, he made a point that it was driven more by his hatred of Hillary Clinton. One of the chats that they organized, like earlier on in 2015, which included many famous individuals such as Milo Yiannopoulos and ‘weev’ was called “Fed free hate chat.”

Unicorn Riot: Ironic since today, he explained his status of cooperating with the government. Can you explain what kind of came to light about this figure whose name is still unknown, his legal name?

Joe Fionda: So I don’t know his legal name. Over the years, you know, this has been a subject of much speculation, due to his prolific nature. And I do know what he looks like now. And he looks like pretty much how I would imagine somebody like him to look like. He is somebody who seemed very, (despite the fact that he cooperated with the government, and that he pled guilty to crime in this case, to hopefully get a downward departure at a sentencing) he was very proud about what he did. He didn’t seem pretty remorseful about any of the actions that he took. There was a certain, like, sense that if he was given the choice to do this again, he would absolutely do it again.

Unicorn Riot: Was it clear if what he had been charged and pleaded guilty to was part of this case? Like was he, you know, indicted, and kind of rolled as part of this or something else? I’ll just add that we don’t have access to the transcripts. We’re sort of picking out the details as we can day by day. And this is all brand new.

Joe Fionda: So this is where it gets a little bit confusing. I wrote about like 30 pages of notes today and scribbles. So I’m kind of recounting this as to the best of my ability to read my own chicken scratch handwriting. [Microchip] was, you know, quite, quite accomplished, about his record, but it was unclear as to the true original nature of his cooperating with the FBI. So there was some examination by Mackey’s defense specifically about dates and times that the FBI came and visited him and the lead agent on the particular case.

It was it was kind of a meandering examination because I wasn’t quite sure what Mr. Mackey’s lawyer, Andrew Frisch, was trying to say, but we do know that Mr. Microchip, as he is called, in 2018, he was first visited by the FBI and claimed that he became an informant in 2018. Apparently voluntarily, on his own volition said that he was beginning to work with the FBI. In what capacity, we have no idea, they would not share. That was kind of a off-limits thing specifically with this trial, because it didn’t relate to this trial or doesn’t appear to relate to this trial.

[When Microchip cooperated with the government] he would be visited or … they would bring him to the FBI. And it seemed like most of the time it was to the Eastern District [of New York]. He said he was visited twice: once in 2018 and then in end of 2020. About a month before the inauguration, a couple of weeks before January 6, I believe it ended up being like the end of December, that he had been visited. And that there was some attempt of his, from his first lawyer (we also don’t know who his previous lawyer was), to make contact with the lead agent in the case investigating him.

So he described the encounter in 2018 as sitting in a car with two FBI agents, and explaining to them what he could do for the agency. And this is without apparently a threat of prosecution at that point. I’m trying to figure out like, what else specifically about the cooperation that was kind of like black boxed? That was quite interesting, but… aren’t quite sure. As we know, [in the past], the Trump FBI, the Trump years was at a time where our own president was somebody who was so paranoid about him or his supporters being prosecuted by the federal government, because the people doing it would find themselves out of jobs, that seemed to happen quite a lot during the Trump administration.

Unicorn Riot: So was it clear, would you say, that [Microchip’s] cooperation is still ongoing? Like it’s not a completed project? Like he testified, but it’s still an active state he’s in?

Joe Fionda: Correct. It would appear to include the trial, and also other matters, that they understand that we did not provide for us publicly in court. But the specific statute was, again, 18 U.S.C. § 241, conspiracy to deprive rights or violate rights.

Unicorn Riot: And that was [Microchip’s] charge that he pleaded to at some point?

Joe Fionda: Yes. So it’s also not apparent what other crimes he may or may not have been charged with, like CFAA [Computer Fraud and Abuse Act] or anything else. They asked him [Microchip] to plea to a straight § 241.

Unicorn Riot: Well, that’s very helpful [to understand].

Joe Fionda: Okay. So sometime between February 4, 2021, and April 22, 2021, he had been arrested. We don’t know the exact date. He had a different lawyer at that point. He also said that he was indebted to the IRS and may have had bankruptcy debt. [Microchip] agreed to a ‘tolling agreement’ to suspend the statute of limitations on his charge on June 24, 2021, because at that point, it was going to the eclipse the five year statute of limitations. And he notified the judge (who is the same judge, Judge [Ann M. Donnelly], for this case), notified her in March 2022, and the Eastern District, that he was intending to plead guilty and then entered a sealed guilty plea, April 14, 2022.

Unicorn Riot: Okay. I think there was some exchanges about something involving a 36 hours and drug use, can you mention that briefly?

Joe Fionda: The [defense] cross-examination also included what many of us assumed to be Micro’s most recent and last account string @wdfx2eu9000, 9000 as a homage to ‘Over 9000’ and the chan anonymous lore. He made some tweets about his drug use to the public, saying that he was on an Adderall binge for 36 hours and programming ChatGPT into Voice-to-text bots or something to that effect. It’s not apparent on whose behalf he was doing it for. Whether it was the job that he told the court that he has, or that it was on behalf of the federal government [or something else].

Unicorn Riot: Okay. So that was quoted online.

Joe Fionda: He also tweeted that he was at Oregon during that time, and that also became a point of contention for the court, because they’ve stipulated that he would not have to share the state that he was living in. Other than that it was not the New York City metropolitan area. He was very concerned about keeping his identity secret in exchange for his cooperation because he felt that it would hurt his business, personally endanger him, and that he would not have a business if his true identity were to be exposed.

So yeah, we were reading these tweets out in court. And I was snarfing, like laughing, trying not to laugh, because he was explaining readings [& his tweets]. I mean, it was truly bizarre. He’s, like, as you know, a despicable sort of character. I like got the humor and I … wouldn’t even know what to call [his vibe, visibly sweaty, hairy and greasy].

… He had the aura on him on somebody that was a hardcore internet troll or king internet troll, and had a mullet like … not Ricky Vaughn, the other baseball guy. Kenny Powers mullet. So, you know, people got to see him. His name still is anonymous to the public. He wants to keep it that way. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Nor do I think he deserves to have that sort of anonymity.

Mackey, Milo, and the MAGA Swarms

Unicorn Riot: I remember when Ricky Vaughn was exposed as Mackey, that was kind of a significant break because that guy had also been able to stay anonymous for quite a long time.

Joe Fionda: Yeah. Yes. So they’re the swarm of the MAGA people. There’s a large crowd that went from GamerGate to the Trump campaign to the alt-right to MAGA3X. Same people the whole way. There is even one of the tweets, one of the DMs [direct messages] even showed Mike Cernovich was in it.

Unicorn Riot: Would you say that most of them are lower profile than someone like that?

Joe Fionda: No, because Milo at the time was in the chat. And he was he was coordinating with all of these figures, including ‘weev,’ who at the time — he’s just permanently hiding out outside the arm of U.S. extradition. So it was him.

Unicorn Riot: And we should say ‘weev’ was a very famous internet troll person named Andrew Auernheimer. And would you say he’s intricately involved? That has been coming up in the case?

Joe Fionda: It’s wild to have to say it out loud. But he’s clearly a mastermind of this and a mastermind of the Trump campaign. I remember when filming ‘Hacker Wars,’ he said, off camera and I’m forgetting the exact context or place that we were. But he said that like after he got out of jail like, “I’m gonna get revenge on the federal government, and I’m gonna do the most destructive thing to lay waste to this country is to install Donald Trump as a dictator.” And it was something that I kind of laughed. But I was also like, oh, shit, he’s probably gonna fucking do it.

Unicorn Riot: What year was that?

Joe Fionda: That was 2014.

Unicorn Riot: It’s a while back there.

Joe Fionda: A very, very long time ago. So I spent a lot of time warning people in 2016 like, “Hey, guys, yo, this shit is happening.” Like, you know, you guys should like get on it before this guy like installs Trump as a fucking President, destroys this country, because that’s what he wanted to fucking do. And this preceded all of the Russian interference narrative stuff that happens. So when people say like, it’s a Kremlin aligned op, something that he was working with the IRA [Russian Internet Research Agency] or whatever. This happened before all of that. You know, his ego. Like, he’s a small dude. But he, his ego is beyond [boundaries]. [I thought] that this is something that he was going to be successful in doing, and, you know, eventually did.

Unicorn Riot: So Auernheimer, or ‘weev,’ has continued to be kind of thought of as hiding out somewhere probably in Eastern Europe in recent years.

Joe Fionda: Correct. And he was working with Milo Yiannopoulos from Breitbart. Andrew Anglin, who was his editor at Daily Stormer, and I believe he was running Alt-Right Info at the time as well. So basically also the nerve cell of the alt-right, was happening in this place. And they were radicalizing men using the the Trump campaign also to bring — openly advocate — open white supremacy and Neo-Nazism. While Anglin was also apparently living in Krasnodar, Russia, for a period of time.

Unicorn Riot: So basically, this trial is kind of moving through the stages of that and the parts where the government alleges they stepped over the line to try to deceive people into the wrong polling, the wrong voting procedures, so that they would essentially kept from voting, their votes would not be counted.

Joe Fionda: Correct.

Brexit Memes Recycled; Court Limits References to Repellent Posts

Unicorn Riot: But it’s intricately connected to that history, would you say?

Joe Fionda: Correct. They, the court, the prosecutor, I guess the defense, you know, agree to have them limit the reference to Neo-Nazism and antisemitism, to best help Ricky’s defense, but the chronology of the history for those that do remember — the hundreds of thousands of people who became like, researchers of this sort of thing. This was originating in and around the Andrews, the two AA’s, if you will [Anglin and Auernheimer].

Keep in mind that Milo Yiannopoulos is working from Breitbart at the time. And there’s an alt-right, arch-conservative nationalist network, that is being amplified also by Steve Bannon. This became its own ecosystem of hate. And Ricky Vaughn played an intricate part in it because he algorithmically speaking was … one of the most influential people in the 2016 election [as analyzed by] MIT elections laboratory.

Unicorn Riot: Earlier in the days of the trial was there someone from MIT that testified?

Joe Fionda: Yes, um, I forgot his first name, but Mr. Powers of the Washington Post and his MIT assistant.

Unicorn Riot: Was there anything else that you wanted to kind of call attention to in terms of understanding this or other aspects that have started to kind of come out in court that may lead to more exposure?

Joe Fionda: Yeah, I think, you know, if we’re getting to the bottom of what happened in 2016, this is a great window of, you know, what actually happened. Clearly, Tucker Carlson, and the conservative media are attempting to try to paint this as some sort of like, Biden-led witch hunt, when in fact, these people had the benefit of having, you know, won the election and evading responsibility for their actions and scrutiny of their actions, because they effectively took over the US government for a time and had incredible influence that they should have, frankly, never had in the first place. And in the case of Milo Yiannopoulos, he’s a source of foreign interference and foreign help to help Donald Trump. At one point one of the participants in the ‘Madman #1’ chat (flips notes) —

Unicorn Riot: So there were a few different chats that have already come up in the trial.

Joe Fionda: There, there have been a number of them. I scribbled down like a number of numbers, and user IDs, […] User @urpochan, in October 2016. Recycled a meme — a false fraudulently Photoshopped meme from the Brexit referendum earlier in the summer, where they did the same thing. Where they were tweeting that, oh, Labour, Labour, you go vote for, you know, you could [phone] text and vote in the Brexit referendum. And they use that for inspiration.

Milo’s in the chat too. You know, he was a big part of making Brexit happen with Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica, but, this was just copied. So in the parlance of meme culture and meme warfare is that memes are to be copied or stolen…

Unicorn Riot: Recycled memes are a common strategy.

Joe Fionda: Inspiration to be able to target and manipulate people and try to suppress the vote. They wrote it out; they wrote out their intentions of what they were attempting to do. Finally, the other [alleged] main co-conspirator in this case is guy named 1080P — a person who is named Gabe, I believe that he’s a resident of the state of Indiana. And he also was very central in the creation of the fraudulent voting memes and then claiming go text to vote, or you can tweet to vote.

Unicorn Riot: And that came up in the trial specifically, this Gabe in Indiana.

Joe Fionda: Yeah. … I know that he [is] from Indiana. That fact was not presented by the government. So he specifically was seeking out like intelligence and information about the exact type of font and number of the font [hex] color that the [Clinton] campaign was using for their images, so that he can make it look as close to theirs as possible. So you can spoof and fool people that they saw as dupes also, on a racist basis.

Unicorn Riot: And so, if that kind of material was not intended as satire, but rather as a kind of deception, is that the idea?

Joe Fionda: Correct. Microchip testified quite authoritatively that his entire motivation was to cause as much chaos as humanly possible. And he didn’t care if the information was false or defamatory that he was just there. He wanted to destroy the reputation of Hillary Clinton. That’s what his words were when he was testifying, that was his mindset. And he seemed quite proud of it. And, you know, not really remorseful.

Unicorn Riot: Thank you for that. Is there anything else you wanted to add on this thing right now?

Joe Fionda: … I’m just noticing, you know, … they sought to kind of tamper down on the connection of these names to like, violent neo-Nazi groups and references to antisemitism and other hate-based imagery or words because they would apparently would be seen as [disfavorable] to Ricky.

Unicorn Riot: So basically, you saw, like they had the jury leave the room. And then the judge and the attorneys agreed to basically kind of downplay like the racist and misogynist content?

Joe Fionda: I don’t know how they agreed upon it, because they had many, many, many sidebars and motions in prior days. But there was many sidebars today [Wed, Mar. 22], where they argued about the redactions in the presentation of particular words and phrases, because it was being seen as inflammatory. And, like, unnecessarily inflammatory, and it might influence the jury.

Unicorn Riot: Which is kind of ironic, because these guys specialize in trying to make inflammatory content.

Joe Fionda: Correct, correct. … They are getting the benefit of the doubt.

Playbooks & Manuals, Gamergate Revisited & the Launch of MAGA3X

Joe Fionda: But at the end of the day, I saw it. I know you saw it, at least samples of the sort of hate and harassment. I have even been shown by people who kept receipts of the harassment that they were engaging in at that particular time.

Unicorn Riot: So you briefly mentioned Gamergate, and the fact that some of these people had known each other in that era. Can you kind of just explain the idea there and what the connection would be?

Joe Fionda: How do we go back to GamerGate? GamerGate started because there was a [misogynstic online troll campaign claiming to be] about ‘ethics in video game journalism.’ And it became a thing where many people started getting doxxed and swatted. It was quite chaotic. And Milo was a main character and provocateur of this day because he wrote about it for Breitbart, but before that, he, I think he was ready. He had his own failed attempt at a magazine … blanking on the name.

Unicorn Riot: GamerGate was known as a highly organized system of harassment towards people…

Joe Fionda: Correct.

Unicorn Riot: … and finding targets. And so it seems like that type of energy and style and kind of dangerous quality sort of got recycled into this group, or this sort of network. Would you say that’s in the right area?

Joe Fionda: Correct. Yeah. Literal terrorists in the group. You know, it was about the same space that the Sam Hyde meme would come out in. And these guys would swat people. They would engage in hideous harassment, a lot of it was transphobic harassment. And the same people that were involved in that took that and they rolled it into the Trump campaign and the MAGA3X crowd, and then the alt-right. It was a rolling Katamari Damasy ball of the worst people on the internet barreling down for Trump. GamerGate? You want to even go further back before that, with weev and those guys? It’s GNAA and Goatse Security.

Unicorn Riot: And MAGA3X? Can you just explain how that idea connects to this trial?

Joe Fionda: Right. There’s MAGA3X PAC created by Jeff Giesea, who is a lieutenant — a former lieutenant [ed: trusted assistant] of Peter Thiel, apparently. And they held a number of events for the Trump campaign. There was a number of groups, kind of circled around that — like a Venn diagram. Like ‘Gays for Trump.’ Where a lot of these people ended up in the same fucking place. Like Laura Loomer, Milo, the fucking guy from Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft. Hoan Ton-That of ClearView AI, Chuck Johnson, kind of connected to it.

Unicorn Riot: But those names haven’t come up in the trial. Is that correct?

Joe Fionda: [Filmmaker] Loren Feldman testified that he was introduced to Ricky Vaughn by Mike Cernovich and Chuck Johnson.

Unicorn Riot: Okay, so their names did come up. Okay.

Joe Fionda: Yeah.

Unicorn Riot: And so MAGA3X would have been kind of like a background movement that’s connected to these happenings?

Joe Fionda: Yeah. So like, in the latter days of the campaign, the idea of MAGA3X was, bring three people to vote with you — it was a get the vote out campaign. But it was also based in GamerGate.

Unicorn Riot: Okay so for someone that’s new to it, you’d say that all of these things didn’t exactly happen at the same time, but they were related and involve some of the same people. Is that how you put it?

Joe Fionda: There were playbooks. There were manuals written. And there were objectives. And there were foreign players involved — a number of foreign players involved in England, in the Netherlands. And, you know, people like weev who at that point, were hanging it out in like Donetsk, People’s Republic, or, no man’s land. Doing God knows what, like in a troll hole. But that’s where his masterminding came from–being many, many, many time zones away from the US and out of reach of extradition.

Unicorn Riot: So in the last few days of this trial, are there any other prominent figures who have been named dropped in testimony?

Joe Fionda: Let’s see. Remember guys in 2016, like Jared Wyand, @NeilTurner_. Nia4_Trump was not indicted, but named as a co-conspirator. It is strongly implied, they’re also cooperating. There was one last thing I want to say. The names of the fake likes and the fake follower companies were ‘Add me fast’ and ‘Fast followz’ with the “z”. They went into detail into how he would put money into that so that he would keep the bots going.

People also ought to look at this trial, to see that the government will get everything on your service if they have a legal warrant to get in. You know, these people ran a tight ship. And I don’t recall these channels leaking. And now we see them in court and it’s pretty eye opening.

Unicorn Riot: Alright, well, that is fascinating. It really is the seedy underbelly of a very subversive mode of campaigning. But again, the government’s contention is that it went over the line of simply campaigning or just lying on the internet. They’re alleging that Mr. Mackey, did something illegal by doing that phone number and sort of trying to convince people that they could text to vote for the Democratic candidate. Thank you very much. I really appreciate that. It’s very unusual. And we appreciate the detail about that. All jotted down a flow of handwritten notes over three days so far at the Douglass Mackey trial in the Eastern District of New York, which is where in New York City?

Joe Fionda: Brooklyn!

Unicorn Riot: All right, well, thank you so much. Joe Fionda, the associate producer of Hacker Wars, a 2014 documentary that was about some of the same people. And here we are today, eight years later, and still kind of learning more about things that happened in between that time. So thank you very much for joining us tonight.

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