The sentencing came after Mackey was found guilty in March by a jury of his peers "of attempting to deprive individuals from exercising their sacred right to vote for the candidate of their choice in the 2016 presidential election."
"Today's verdict proves that the defendant's fraudulent actions crossed a line into criminality and flatly rejects his cynical attempt to use the constitutional right of free speech as a shield for his scheme to subvert the ballot box and suppress the vote," United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said at the time.
His case was heard in the United States Court of the Eastern District of New York. Mackey, known as Ricky Vaughn on Twitter, created memes that urged Clinton supporters to cast their votes by means of text message. (Related: Trump supporter found guilty, faces ten years in prison for 2016 anti-Hillary meme.)
Interestingly, several other memes shared by social media users during the 2016 presidential election instructed people to vote Donald Trump for president by means of text. But no one was even charged for doing so.
Mackey's case, as reported by the New York Times, was "the first criminal case in the country involving voter suppression through the spread of disinformation on Twitter." He posted the memes on November 1, 2016, one week before the election.
The DOJ alleged that the memes were a clear example of election interference. The court agreed although there's no proof that anyone who saw the meme was deceived by it. Mackey argued that he was simply trying to make a viral meme, and that other Clinton supporters had also posted similar memes urging Trump supporters to vote by text.
The DOJ asserted that "Mackey was sending tweets suggesting the importance of limiting 'black turnout.'" The defendant tweeted an image depicting an African American woman standing in front of an "African Americans for Hillary" sign. The memes also stated: "Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text 'Hillary' to 59925" and "Vote for Hillary and be a part of history."
For the DOJ, it was not a simple joke. "The fine print at the bottom of the deceptive image stated: 'Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by Hillary For President 2016,'" it stated.
"The tweet included the typed hashtag '#ImWithHer,' a slogan frequently used by Hillary Clinton. On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted 'Hillary' or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which had been used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by Mackey and his co-conspirators."
Twitter said that it had removed four of Mackey's accounts at the time of his arrest in 2021.
The DOJ said: "As alleged in the complaint, between September 2016 and November 2016, in the lead up to Nov. 8, 2016, U.S. presidential election, Mackey conspired with others to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages designed to encourage supporters of one of the presidential candidates to 'vote' via text message or social media, a legally invalid method of voting."
According to Nicholas L. McQuaid, acting assistant attorney general of the DOJ's Criminal Division, based on the allegations in the complaint, the defendant exploited a social media platform to infringe one of the most basic and sacred rights guaranteed by the Constitution, which is the right to vote.
Quaid added the complaint underscores the DOJ's commitment to investigate and prosecute those who would undermine citizens' voting rights.
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Watch the video below about the election interference case against Douglass Mackey a.k.a. Ricky Vaughn.
This video is from the TNP (The New Prisoners) channel on Brighteon.com.