Douglass Mackey found guilty of election interference in 2016 for anti-Clinton memes
The Department of Justice estimated at the time that more than 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted that candidate's first name to the number, which was real.
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A digital provocateur has been found guilty of election interference for disseminating materials that encouraged individuals to vote by text.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York confirmed the verdict on Friday.
"Mackey has been found guilty 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," U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a press release. "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."
Prosecutors had described a scheme in which Mackey, working with other digital actors, encouraged supporters of then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to vote by text.
Mackey posted the meme on his Twitter account, which used the name Ricky Vaughn. Included was a picture of a would-be voter waiting in line and blaring the message "Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text 'Hillary' to 59925[.] Vote for Hillary and be a part of history."
The Department of Justice estimated at the time that more than 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted Clinton's first name to the number, which was real.
Whereas Mackey had insisted he was merely working to create a meme, Assistant US Attorney Turner Buford said "The number was real and set up to receive incoming messages," according to the Post Millennial. "The release of these fake campaign ads was timed to flood the internet before Election Day."
"This wasn’t about changing votes. This was about vaporizing votes, making them disappear," he added.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.
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