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An influencer and avid supporter of Donald Trump has been sent to prison for attempting to stop Black people from voting in 2016.

On Wednesday (Oct. 18), the Department of Justice announced that Douglass Mackey, a rabid supporter of former President Donald Trump was sentenced to seven months in prison for election interference in Brooklyn, N.Y. Mackey, who went by the username “Ricky Vaughn” on X, formerly known as Twitter, had been found guilty of using his account to spread misinformation geared to specifically trick Black people into believing that they could vote by text message. This came shortly after he sent messages to his 58,000 followers about the need to “limit Black turnout” in the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

An example of Mackey’s misconduct found him tweeting a photo of a woman standing in front of an “African Americans For Hillary” sign. “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home,” the tweet read. “Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925.” The tweet was also accompanied by the hashtag that Clinton’s campaign used at the time – #ImWithHer. The tweet was reportedly sent out November 1, 2016. A further investigation by the FBI found that Mackey also sent out a tweet featuring a font similar to that used by Clinton’s campaign team with a woman sitting at a desk typing on a phone. The message was in Spanish and used the same hashtag and a copy of Clinton’s campaign logo. That tweet was sent out around Election Day.

“The defendant weaponized disinformation in a dangerous scheme to stop targeted groups, including black and brown people and women, from participating in our democracy,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace in the press release. “This groundbreaking prosecution demonstrates our commitment to prosecuting those who commit crimes that threaten our democracy and seek to deprive people of their constitutional right to vote.” Mackey had also written at length saying Black voters were “gullible,” and was outed by the M.I.T. Media Lab as a top election influencer.

Andrew Frisch, Mackey’s attorney, had written to U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly that Mackey was a changed man after beginning psychotherapy in 2018. “The Douglass Mackey who stands before the court for sentencing is not Ricky Vaughn of seven years ago,” the memorandum said. Judge Donnelly denied Frisch’s request for leniency, saying that Mackey’s actions were “nothing short of an assault on our democracy.”

Pro-Trump Backer Douglass Mackey Jailed For Attempting To Stop Black Voters  was originally published on

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