The pro-Trump social media giant with thousands of Twitter followers was convinced of the election bias during the 2016 election.
“Mackey was convicted by a jury of his peers of attempting to deprive individuals from exercising their sacred right to vote for a candidate in the 2016 presidential election,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Pacis. in a Department of Justice press release.
“Today’s sentence proves that the defendant’s fraudulent activities crossed the criminal line and completely rejects his dogmatic attempt to use the constitutional right to free speech as a shield to subvert the ballot and suppress the vote with his plan,” Peace continued.
Douglass Mackey, who goes by the online name “Ricky Vaughn,” has been accused of intentionally publishing disinformation in an effort to suppress voters for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
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The trial was announced Friday by Pace and Michael J. Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge for the FBI’s New York field office.
Mackey had amassed about 58,000 followers according to the DOJ, and was later ranked as the 157th most important influencer before the 2016 election, according to an MIT Media Lab analysis that same year. He presided over other high-profile voices such as NBC News (No. 114), Stephen Colbert (No. 119) and Newt Gingrich (No. 141).
According to newspaper reports between September 2016 and November 2016, Mackey conspired with other social media influencers to “spread fraudulent messages that encouraged supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to ‘vote’ via text message or social media that were, in fact, legally invalid.” .
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The DoJ cited one example of Mackey’s charges on Nov. 1, 2016, one week before Election Day, where he posted a photo of a black woman standing in front of a sign reading “Africa for Hillary.” It was around this time that Mackey issued tweets suggesting that “black turnout” was limited in the election, according to the DOJ.
“Avoid the line. Vote from Home,” Mackey tweeted in an ad. “Hillary’s text to 59925,” and “Hillary’s vote is part of history.”
The twelve included at the end of the print, who are registered voters must be over 18 years of age, a legal resident of the US, but residents of Guam, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Hawaii are not eligible. The phone added that “Illary For President 2016” was paid for and included Clinton’s campaign slogan “#ImWithHer.”
“On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 phone numbers uniquely texted ‘Hillary’ or some derivative to text number 59925, which were used in multiple deceptive campaign images used by Mackey and his co-conspirators,” the DOJ said. which in his journals.
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Hours after tweeting the fraudulent ad, Mackey posted another photo depicting himself typing on his phone while using a font similar to that from the Clinton campaign and written in Spanish. The captions were written in Spanish and included the “ImWithHer” hashtag, the DOJ said.
Mackey was arrested in West Palm Beach, Florida, in January 2021. He lived in New York City at the time of his tweets.
Twitter said it was working “closely with the appropriate authorities on the matter,” according to the Associated Press earlier this year.
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Mackey will be sentenced on Aug. 16, according to Politic. Andrew Frisch, Mackey’s attorney, said he will appeal the court’s decision.
“We are optimistic about our appeal cases,” Frisch told Politico.