United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.
A social media influencer who supports Trump has been sentenced to seven months in prison for conspiring to suppress the votes of potentially thousands of people who supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Douglass Mackey, who was 33 when he was convicted in March, was also ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. Mackey, known to his 58,000 Twitter followers as Ricky Vaughn, conspired to spread deceptive messages and advertisements aimed at Black and female voters.
Before the 2016 election, Twitter ads told voters they could avoid lines at voting booths by texting “Hillary” to a five-digit phone number. Voting by text does not exist in the United States.
At trial, the prosecution observed that Mackey had a “long, established history of believing that black people were confused and stupid,” and believed that “women should not vote.” Mackey made podcast appearances and social media posts about those beliefs, prosecutors said.
In the days leading up to Election Day and on the day itself, at least 4,900 phone numbers texted “‘Hillary’ or some source,” prosecutors said in a press release, “that used in many deceptive campaign images Mackey and his co- conspirators tweeted.”
It was not immediately clear if anyone failed to vote because of Mackey’s scheme. Prosecutors said 99% of the texts received by that number were sent after Mackey first posted a fraudulent Hillary advertisement from one of her social media accounts.
Andrew Frisch, Mackey’s attorney, told CNBC that he remains “optimistic” about Mackey’s prospects in the appeal, which has yet to be taken.