Pro-Trump Influencer Gets Seven Months In Election Tampering Scheme

@AlterNet
Pro-Trump Influencer Gets Seven Months In Election Tampering Scheme

Douglass Mackey

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Pro-Trump influencer Douglass Mackey is now headed to federal prison to serve a seven-month sentence after being convicted by a federal jury in March. Prosecutors asked for Mackey, who was arrested in 2021, to serve between six months and a year behind bars.

Mackey, a West Palm Beach, Florida resident who went by the name "Ricky Vaughn," was found guilty on one count of conspiracy against rights for trying to defraud Hillary Clinton supporters in the 2016 election. According to the New York Times, Judge Ann M. Donnelly, of the Eastern District of New York, said while sentencing Mackey that he was "one of the leading members" of the conspiracy to prevent Clinton supporters from voting, adding that it was "nothing short of an assault on our democracy."

The conspiracy in question stemmed from a series of posts, meant to look like they were from the former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, encouraging Black and Latino supporters to vote by text message or through social media, knowing that those votes would not actually be counted. One of those posts showed a Black woman holding a sign, and another post was in Spanish, and included the Clinton campaign logo with fine print attached that read "Hillary for President."

At the time of the conspiracy, Mackey's "Ricky Vaughn" Twitter account had approximately 58,000 followers, and was labeled by the M.I.T. Media Lab in February of 2016 as the 107th most powerful influencer of the then-upcoming presidential election. While Mackey's attorney argued during the trial that his client's actions accounted to just a few clicks on a computer, prosecutors countered that Mackey's "true power was his ability to spread messages to convert his clicks into tens of thousands more."

Notably, former President Donald Trump is also facing the same charge of of conspiracy against rights that Mackey was just sentenced under. Special Counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump on that charge, among several others, in his August indictment pertaining to Trump's role in the January 6 insurrection. Trump is scheduled to stand trial on those charges on March 4, 2024, just before the pivotal Super Tuesday primaries.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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