Social media influencer Douglass Mackey, also known as Ricky Vaughn, has been sentenced to seven months in prison for his involvement in interfering with the 2016 election. The Justice Department announced the sentencing on Wednesday, stating that Mackey was convicted at trial for conspiracy against rights.
Mackey, a supporter of former President Trump, was found guilty of running a scam in 2016 that deceived thousands of people into believing they could vote by text message. Working with other prominent Twitter users, Mackey allegedly posted misleading messages encouraging supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to “vote” through text message or social media.
One example provided by the Justice Department described a tweet by Mackey, where he posted a photo of a Black woman standing in front of an “African Americans for Hillary” sign. The tweet stated, “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home,” “Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925,” and included Clinton’s campaign slogan, “#I’mWithHer.” The tweet claimed to be paid for by Clinton’s campaign. On Election Day in 2016, at least 4,900 voters had texted “Hillary” or a variation to the provided number, according to the Justice Department.
At the time of Mackey’s arrest in 2021, Twitter had already taken down four of his accounts. Former President Trump has also been charged with conspiracy against rights in a separate federal election interference case brought by the Justice Department earlier this year. The indictment alleges that Trump conspired to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate individuals in the exercise of their right to vote.