Kyle Julin, of Manilla, pulled a cage he constructed with friends in an Arcadia parade in late July 2016. The float represented a common refrain among Donald Trump supporters at that time who believed his rival Hillary Clinton should be imprisoned.
Kyle Julin, of Manilla, pulled a cage he constructed with friends in an Arcadia parade in late July 2016. The float represented a common refrain among Donald Trump supporters at that time who believed his rival Hillary Clinton should be imprisoned.

February 21, 2018

A group of Russians who sought to influence the 2016 election paid supporters of President Donald Trump in Florida to build a cage to display a lookalike of his then-rival Hillary Clinton at pro-Trump rallies, according to a federal indictment last week.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller — who for months has been investigating Russian meddling in the election and whether it had direct ties to Trump — accused 13 Russians and three foreign groups of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft.

The indictment claims the Russians sent an unspecified amount of money on Aug. 18, 2016, to someone in the United States to fund the faux cage.

The idea was a logical next step from the “Lock her up!” chants that were common at the time at Trump rallies. Trump repeatedly hammered Clinton for jeopardizing classified information while she was U.S. Secretary of State by using a private email server.

But the cage idea wasn’t novel. Three local men built one on a trailer that they pulled in a firefighters’ parade in Arcadia more than two weeks before the money transfer.

“It was my idea,” Kyle Julin, of Manilla, told the Daily Times Herald at the time. “Probably a month ago we joked around about it, and at the beginning of last week we decided to do it.”

Inside the cage was someone wearing a Clinton mask in an orange jumpsuit. Others gave about 400 water balloons to the parade’s spectators to throw at the cage. The episode in Arcadia attracted international media attention at the time.

It’s unclear whether Julin’s float inspired the Russians to suggest something similar in Florida. They could not be reached to comment for this article.

Julin did not return a telephone call this week to comment.

The Russians paid someone to build a cage on a flatbed truck and another to “wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison uniform,” according to the indictment.

The charges in the indictment are together punishable by more than 20 years in federal prison.

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