New York court convicts Florida man and far-right influencer known as Ricky Vaughn for conspiring to deprive Clinton supporters of their right to vote in the 2016 election

Make America Great Again hats are seen during the America First Policy Institute's America First Agenda Summit at the Marriott Marquis on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.
Make America Great Again hats at the America First Policy Institute's America First Agenda Summit at the Marriott Marquis on July 26, 2022.Tom Williams/GettyImages
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • A court convicted a far-right influencer for trying to keep Clinton supporters from voting in 2016.

  • "Ricky Vaugn" faces up to 10 years in prison and is set to be sentenced on Aug. 16.

  • The DOJ accused the influencer of encouraging people to vote by text or social media.

A jury convicted a far-right influencer known as "Ricky Vaughn" in a federal court in New York on Friday for a plot to deprive Hillary Clinton supporters of their ability to vote in the 2016 presidential election.

Vaugh — whose real name is Douglass Mackey — was convicted on one count of "conspiracy against rights," according to court documents. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors accused Mackey of conspiring with other people to post "disinformation relevant to the impending 2016 presidential election" on social media, often in the form of "memes," according to a criminal complaint seen by Insider.

As the 2016 presidential election approached, Mackey and his co-conspirators created posts on various social media sites that encouraged people to vote for their preferred candidate by posting a specific hashtag on Twitter or Facebook or by texting the candidate's first name to a specific phone number, the document states.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), in November 2016, Mackey — who had tweeted about limiting the amount of "black turnout" in the election — posted a photo of a Black woman in front of an "African Americans for Hillary" sign that read "Avoid the Line. Vote from Home," "Text 'Hillary' to 59925." On or around election day in 2016, at least 4,900 telephone numbers texted "Hillary" to the 59925 text number, the DOJ said.

"Mackey and his co-conspirators variously discussed aspects of these memes, including their content, their formatting and the timing of their release, and expressed a desire that the memes would influence the behavior of those who saw them," the complaint says.

Mackey had amassed about 58,000 followers on Twitter in 2016, according to the DOJ. The MIT Media Lab, in a 2016 study, ranked him the 107th most important influencer of the 2016 presidential election.

Mackey's attorney, Andrew Frisch, told Insider that he is "optimistic" about his client's chances to appeal the conviction and that the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan will have "multiple" reasons to overturn it.

Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, meanwhile, said in a press release that the 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."

Read the original article on Insider