According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a pro-Trump social media influencer has just been convicted of election interference.
That social media influencer - 33-year-old Douglass Mackey, who, on Twitter, was known as Ricky Vaughn - is now facing a possible prison sentence of 10 years.
On Friday, the DOJ published a press release on the matter.
The press release states:
Douglass Mackey, also known as “Ricky Vaughn,” was convicted today by a federal jury in Brooklyn of the charge of Conspiracy Against Rights stemming from his scheme to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote. The verdict followed a one-week trial before United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly.
According to the DOJ's press release, the charges stemmed from conduct that Mackey engaged in during the 2016 presidential election.
The DOJ writes:
As proven at trial, between September 2016 and November 2016, Mackey conspired with other influential Twitter users and with members of private online groups to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages that encouraged supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to “vote” via text message or social media which, in reality, was legally invalid.
The DOJ found that "on or about and before Election Day 2016, 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted ‘Hillary’ or some derivative to the 59925 text number."
The DOJ's press release, incidentally, notes that, "in 2016, Mackey established an audience on Twitter with approximately 58,000 followers." The department adds that, "a February 2016 analysis by the MIT Media Lab ranked Mackey as the 107th most important influencer of the then-upcoming Presidential Election."
Mackey is now facing a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. But, it appears that he is going to appeal his decision.
Andrew Frisch, Mackay's attorney, says that Mackey is going to appeal his conviction.
Frisch, following the verdict, told reporters:
This case presents an unusual array of appellate issues that are exceptionally strong. This was the first chapter of the litigation of this case. We would have preferred to win, but I am confident about the way forward.
Frisch followed up with another statement.
The appellate court will have its choice of which issue on which to vacate the conviction. It may choose to do so on First Amendment grounds, or on the government's suppression of exculpatory information, or on the insufficiency of evidence of venue among other issues. We are optimistic about our chances on appeal
As things currently stand, Mackey is scheduled to be sentenced on August 16, 2023.